The AppD Approach: Market-changing SAP Monitoring

May 24 2018

AppDynamics’ unique, market-changing SAP Monitoring Agent is the only APM solution delivering code-level SAP visibility and real-user, business transaction performance monitoring. For enterprises running SAP business applications, our innovative agent can significantly improve service quality, cost of service, speed and innovation.

In his influential book The Thank You Economy, entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk insightfully states: ”Remember that behind every B2B transaction, there is a C.” It’s an acknowledgement that the speed and power of the consumer-focused mentality is driving innovation in enterprises both large and small. Demands are high, patience is low, and barriers to entry are reduced. And “GaryVee” makes it clear through vivid examples that winners and losers are decided every day—with winners leveraging continuous improvement initiatives to delight their customers and prospects better than the competition.

SAP, a global software behemoth with $27B in annual revenue, has industry expertise that “touches more than 70% of the world’s business processes,” the company says. Not content to rest on its laurels, SAP is in the midst of major innovation. S/4HANA, SAP’s next-gen Cloud ERP suite, innovates processes, cuts ownership costs, and accelerates the customer’s digital transformation. And SAP Leonardo, a digital innovation cloud platform, delivers software and microservices that empower customers to leverage future-facing services such as blockchain, machine learning, and the Internet of Things.

SAP clients must consider how these new developments will impact their top and bottom line. After all, SAP apps and their related services are customer-facing portals in and of themselves, or are commonly invoked—in the case of pricing, logistics, supply chain, and other functions—millions of times per day in time-sensitive commercial transactions. So while enterprises are busy planning their S/4HANA and Leonardo migrations, they must stay focused on their day-to-day, SAP-driven operations as well.

The AppDynamics-Customer Partnership

As AppDynamics developed its monitoring solution for business-critical SAP environments, we worked closely with several of our beta clients, conducting business value assessments to better understand their specific challenges and requirements. The collective experience of our Business Value Practice has decades of in-depth knowledge working with SAP customers and environments, and has led implementations with Big 5 companies like Accenture and Deloitte Consulting, as well as solution providers such as Mercury Interactive/HP, IBM and BMC, all of whom have developed market-leading tools for SAP.

Given this lengthy history, it’s no surprise we’ve encountered some inertia along the way. After all, SAP has been around for 40-plus years, and some of these enterprises have leveraged their SAP implementations for a decade or more. The case for improving SAP performance and insights must be carefully considered, as things may “have been working OK” for some time. Common objections often included:

  • “SAP is pretty stable. There’s not really much downtime.”

  • “Yeah, sometimes we encounter slowness, but if it’s ongoing users can become ‘hardened’ to it.”

  • “SAP is mostly back-office. When there’s poor performance it doesn’t really impact customers.”

  • “We only release [SAP] once or twice per year. Capacity sizing and regression testing are not our highest priorities.”

In our second- and third-level conversations with key stakeholders and executives, however, we heard a different story—one centered on change and improvement, and the significant benefits of moving beyond the status quo:

  • “It’s not about availability, it’s about performance. ‘Slow’ is the new ‘Down’.  Slowness is likely costing us millions of dollars each year on extra IT labor, wasted end-user productivity, and lost revenue.

  • “Our thousands of users shouldn’t become ‘hardened’ to poor performance, which affects both our morale and bottom line. We want to take quality measures to improve things.”

  • “SAP is actually heavily integrated with our customer-facing and revenue-driving apps and services. It DOES impact our top and bottom line.”

  • “We must enable more Agile and CI/CD processes, and SAP’s S/4HANA and Leonardo will help us achieve this. We need an easy-to-use, out-of-the-box validation, monitoring and analytics infrastructure to keep pace.”

As a result of this due diligence, we discovered SAP customers were focused on the following imperatives:

  1. Service Quality

    • What’s the impact of slow (as much as 10-second!) transaction response time for key SAP Services on revenue, duration and end users?

    • What are my SAP user satisfaction scores, and how can we raise them?

    • IT and management are tired of recurring issues and the inability to fix the root cause of chronic issues. How do we address this in a meaningful way?

  2. Cost of Service

    • Why do we still dedicate teams for weeks to investigate and resolve SAP performance and functional problems, when we’ve had these services in-house for a number of years?

    • How much is overcapacity costing us?

    • Could we be catching more SAP defects earlier in the SDLC?

    • Can we take advantage of cloud/AWS/external processing capacity, or will it actually increase our costs?

  3. Speed & Innovation

    • Our technical debt and backlog are growing. How do we turn the corner in a sustainable way?

    • Can we move manufacturing/supply chain/CRM/ERP functionality faster?  Will more frequent releases help us keep up with the competition?

    • Are we preparing for market and SAP innovations? (S/4HANA, Leonardo)

    • Can we enable and take advantage of new trends? (IoT, agile, microservices)

So the imperative is there, and it’s now. Enterprise leaders running SAP solutions are heeding GaryVee’s warning about optimizing every consumer interaction to be meaningful and personal.  Poor quality means money in your competitor’s pocket.

But what factors should you consider in a next-gen solution to monitor and manage your SAP environment? Here are the Top 5 Value Cases our SAP beta clients named:

  1. Production Support Efficiency: Improve actionable alerting, proactive detection/issue mitigation, and incident/problem duration and personnel required.

  2. Revenue Protection & Growth: Reduce application slowness, thereby improving customer experience, acquisition, retention, upsell/cross-sell and conversion rates.

  3. Non-Prod Performance Engineering: Improve efficiency of performance testing activities, including rapid identification, recreation and documentation of defects. In addition, streamline handoffs and accuracy of detail to developers/SAP to fix defects faster.

  4. Code Tuning & Capacity Optimization: Pinpoint performance bottlenecks, enabling us to tune code rather than over-provisioning hardware (including cloud/AWS) to achieve desired performance.

  5. End-User Productivity: Impacted when apps are slow or down. Reduction of application performance incidents, combined with faster MTTR, will increase end-user productivity.

Based on this customer feedback, AppDynamics has developed its unique, market-changing SAP Agent—one with ease of setup, use, and maintenance to accelerate time-to-value. Before AppD, there was simply no other solution addressing this need for code-level SAP visibility and real-user business transaction performance monitoring. In fact, our clients have told us they previously used a mixture of system metrics and eyes-on-glass—or, worse yet, waited for complaints from customers, many of whom had grown so hardened that they no longer bothered to report issues.

Our newly released solution is tailored to address these Top 5 Value Cases—both top- and bottom-line oriented. In the process, it has significantly improved our customers’ digital business profiles around service quality, cost of service, speed, and innovation. Schedule a demo to see if we can do the same for you.

Mike Murphy
Mike Murphy leads the Value Practice at AppDynamics - a global team of experienced, high-caliber specialists who deliver operational assessments to ensure clients are targeting and achieving maximum business value. A DevOps professional throughout his career at Apple, Accenture, and Mercury Interactive – he’s laser focused on answering the “Why” questions when it comes to Digital Business decisions.

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