Enterprises need a new approach to SAP monitoring

By James Harvey
Nearly 80% of all business transactions touch SAP systems. But, explains Cisco AppDynamics’ James Harvey, effective monitoring has become more compli...

2020 has seen almost all enterprise organisations make wide-reaching and fundamental changes to their business operations. The technology priorities have changed within 95 percent of organisations during the pandemic (The Agents of Transformation Report 2020: COVID-19 Special Edition). The response to Covid-19 has forced many businesses to switch to digital-only strategies to deliver services and products and adapt core processes and procedures. As a consequence, the entire IT stack has become more complex and challenging to manage than ever before. Organisations are running on multi-cloud environments and deploying huge numbers of applications to keep up with consumer demand. 

For decades organisations have relied on enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to support the business-critical processes and operations and to ensure resources are deployed efficiently. As the complexity of IT environments has increased, so too ERP providers have needed to adapt and integrate with these new ecosystems. 

At the heart of many enterprises is SAP, 77 percent of all worldwide business transactions touch an SAP system. Through SAP, businesses have the power to bring together data from across functional areas to give them the ability to seamlessly plan, allocate, and deploy valuable resources across complex supply chains and applications. The SAP footprint is large, but the ecosystem it integrates with is even larger – integrating with key functional areas and workflows across the organisation, and outside of it, via customers and vendors. 

Monitoring is critical for avoiding costly application failures and prioritising user and business impact. But effective monitoring of complex SAP environments and their connected ecosystems has become increasingly problematic, leaving many IT teams and businesses exposed. 

Overcoming the hurdles when monitoring SAP

There are three issues which organisations face when monitoring their SAP environments. Firstly, enterprises have built up complex ecosystems of SAP and integrated non-SAP applications that need to communicate with each other. Many existing monitoring tools don’t join the dots between SAP and non-SAP apps. 

Secondly, there are visibility challenges with SAP’s proprietary programming language ABAP (Advanced Business Application Programming). Few monitoring solutions are capable of efficiently analysing and monitoring ABAP-based applications and services, especially in instances where application scope spans multiple systems. 

Lastly, there is an acute need to understand the whole technology stack running SAP and the applications interacting with it. IT teams need to understand how given workloads can affect others from the user and business transaction standpoint to avoid draining resources and getting trapped in war rooms.

To overcome these hurdles IT teams need a dedicated Application Performance Management (APM) solution with both deep visibility into their SAP landscapes and connected applications and services which drive the performance of the entire business. Failure to do this leaves businesses reaching in the dark and at risk of potentially disastrous consequences across customer experience, brand loyalty, and most importantly, revenue. 

Joining the Dots with SAP

The Agents of Transformation survey found that 80 percent of technologists thought “lack of unified visibility and insight into the performance of the technology stack” was a major challenge to delivering high quality digital customer experience during the pandemic. But with the right solution IT teams can achieve deep, end-to-end visibility, proactive and real-time analysis of every facet of SAP and non-SAP apps. IT teams looking for a modern approach to SAP monitoring should focus on the solution that provides unparalleled connection with – and insight into – the health of the business. 

This means real-time monitoring of SAP health metrics alongside critical business KPIs, like transactions, customer user journeys, and more. With this one-to-one connection between the SAP environment, all the services it connects to, and overall business health, IT teams are able to prioritise efforts and deploy the right resources where and when they need them the most.

Navigating Uncertainty

There is no doubt that SAP is a fundamental part of business operations. SAP is at the centre of business operations, from the front end to backend logistics related to research and development, manufacturing, supply chain, procurement, and a range of other business areas.

Its solutions allow for products and services to be delivered with the best possible digital experience and under some of the most challenging circumstances businesses have ever faced. Its software is the backbone for enterprises globally looking to get ahead of the curve. 

However, as application environments continue to become more complex, IT teams must innovate and look for technology solutions which meet their current needs and serve as a strategic and cost-effective foundation for future digital transformation goals.

James Harvey is EMEA CTO at Cisco AppDynamics


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