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The Value of SAP Cloud ALM

Companies have very little to lose and a lot to gain by giving SAP Cloud ALM a chance. It is easily available – and it’s the future of SAP ALM.

Leena Nissilä / February 03, 2023

Just like S/4HANA ERP, SAP ALM solutions are also undergoing a transformation from On-Premise centric solutions to the cloud. While SAP Solution Manager has been a highly customizable and successful SAP ALM platform for decades already, now SAP Cloud ALM is driving change towards standardized, streamlined and easy-to-use ALM processes, making it a tempting choice to opt for.

SAP provides strong support for this shift by allowing SAP Enterprise Support customers to order SAP Cloud ALM free of charge and by committing to the rapid development of SAP Cloud ALM.

For quite a long time, SAP ALM tools and processes relied mostly on SAP Solution Manager. The movement towards cloud centric ALM processes started picking up pace in 2020, when SAP Cloud ALM development genuinely took off. SAP originally intended SAP Cloud ALM primarily for SAP Cloud centric customers, but at present, it already has good readiness to also be used by on-premise centric SAP customers.

RISE with SAP and SAP Cloud ALM

In RISE with SAP deliveries, SAP is positioning SAP Cloud ALM and SAP Solution Manager as alternative ALM tools. Both these tools have their advantages, which should be evaluated against the customer’s situation. Some of our customers who have selected RISE with SAP S/4HANA Cloud implementation have also selected SAP Cloud ALM as their implementation platform, but this decision should depend on various things, such as the need for customer specific ALM processes, and the organization’s current commitment to SAP Solution Manager.

SAP Cloud ALM offers various ALM tools for implementation projects, such as project management and organizational planning, agile delivery support, task management, SAP process descriptions, test management, and change and deploy management. Also, dashboard and analytics tools provide an effective view of the project situation.

SAP Cloud ALM Roadmap Explorer shows you the fulfilled and planned time for new functionalities

When SAP Cloud ALM (CALM) was published, it was missing a lot of functionalities compared to SAP Solution Manager. The functionalities were limited especially in the areas of test management, documentation and change management. These tools are not fully ready even today, but SAP is developing SAP Cloud ALM very actively and releasing new functionalities every second week. SAP sends notifications when they have published new features in CALM, and you can get a real-time view of the development roadmap and current status using SAP Cloud ALM Roadmap Explorer.


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Picture 1: © 2022 SAP SE or an SAP affiliate company. All rights reserved. | Public

If you are interested in learning more about SAP Cloud ALM, SAP arranges virtual sessions after Quarterly releases, where they share demos about the newly released features. The link for registration is available in CALM. SAP Community Call for SAP Cloud ALM Experts is available free of charge from this link: SAP | SAP Community Call for SAP Cloud ALM Experts. There are also useful recorded sessions from earlier calls.

SAP Cloud ALM (CALM) for Implementation

SAP Cloud ALM for implementation contains handy tools for project management. ‘Project’ acts as a container of information that holds everything together for tracking and reporting. It is good practice to start using SAP Cloud ALM from the beginning of a project, to make use of its capabilities right from the ‘prepare and explore’ phase, and also to onboard users early on to familiarize with Cloud ALM. The prepare and explore phase can be started without connection to SAP systems.

While creating a project, you can add SAP Activate task template which – together with scope – creates predefined tasks inside scopes following SAP Activate methodology. The deployment plan contains information of releases and landscapes (System groups) in project(s).

Scope setup can be handled by for example Business process experts and the Project Manager. In previous projects, we have created scopes according to SAP modules like SD, Master Data, Finance, Manufacturing, etc. Next, it is a good idea to put on Solution Scenarios in scopes. There are several Solution Scenarios that you can choose to put on. If you have, for example, a S/4HANA private cloud implementation project, then SAP Best Practices for SAP S/4HANA might be suitable for the scope. In most cases, custom specific processes are also required, in which case custom Solution Scenarios also need to be included in the scope.

Task Management is one of the main functions of SAP Cloud ALM. It includes different types of tasks. Redefined tasks are generated based on the project SAP activate task template and scope. These are called template tasks. In addition to template tasks, there are other tasks that users can create based on their needs, such as User story, Project task, and Sub-task.

After you have prepared the scope, you can select solution processes that fit into that scope. All of the processes that belong to the best practice solution (like SAP Best Practices for SAP S/4HANA) are shown in the process list. For example, Accounting and Financial close (J58) could be selected as Best Practice processes in the Finance scope.

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Picture 2: Solution Process Scope

The status of the solution process can be selected to portray which state the process implementation is in. During workshops, the status could be in “Design”, and during the realization phase it could be in "Realization”. Likewise, when the process is in production, the status could be in “Production”.

By clicking on a process name – such as Accounting and Financial close (J58) – you can see the solution value flow and the solution process flow. During Fit-to-Standard workshops, the processes are validated. If a BP process needs changes, the process diagrams can be copied into the custom process adapting changes to diagrams.

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Picture 3: Demo of Accounting and Financial Close

If changes are required, you can model them using the most known elements within a custom diagram. Then create a requirement from changed element or custom process. A requirement is named according to where it is created. Requirements can also be created from element, process level, or the Requirement app.


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Picture 4: Demo of Accounting and Financial Close - Master Data

You need to describe the business needs to the requirement. Later on, the project team can go through all the requirements and agree on which ones will be forwarded to implementation, plan priority and schedule, and assign a team and project members. Planning on how to use tags also helps to classify and filter requirements.

Approved requirements can be split into smaller parts called User Stories. One user story (US) can be planned to be developed during one sprint. In addition, US Requirements can link to Project tasks, Sub-tasks, test cases and features. User stories are mainly used for Agile development and project tasks for work which do not contain transport requests. ‘Feature’ is like a container for transport request(s). Feature can also be linked to User Stories. With Feature, transport requests are deployed to QA and Production Systems. With Task management, you can handle all project work. You can also use a template to mass import tasks (Requirements, US, Project Tasks, Sub-tasks) via excel to CALM.

Test cases can be created by using activities from process diagrams or by creating your own activities for a Test Case. The status of testing can be seen from the Test execution apps, project overview, or Analytics reports.

SAP Cloud implementation tools are linked together and give maximum value by using these integrated processes.


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Picture 5: SAP Cloud ALM E2E implementation status flow

 In Cloud ALM there is a project overview Dashboard where you can see the status of a project. Analytics reports are also helpful, as they give you an overall picture of how the project is advancing.

SAP Cloud ALM for Operations

In SAP Cloud ALM, ‘operations’ enable monitoring a customer’s SAP systems (Hybrid). The principal monitoring functionalities are: Business Process Monitoring, Integration & Exception Monitoring, Jobs and Automation Monitoring, and Health Monitoring. With our customers, we have seen that SAP Cloud ALM for Operation monitoring is easy to take into use. Simply connecting your SAP operation system in Cloud ALM already enables you to get the first data into some of the operation monitoring tools. Then from there on, the monitoring team can gradually build up a more advanced monitoring setup with customized alert configurations, notifications, etc.

There is also an SAP Cloud ALM for Services where customers can order SAP services.

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Picture 6: SAP ALM Cloud for Operations

When would be a good time to start with SAP Cloud ALM?

SAP Cloud ALM provides standardized ALM solutions without the need to put time and money into upgrades or maintenance activities, as SAP will take care of all of that. The reduced need to configure SAP ALM solutions means less adaptation for customer specific requirements, but in return, it offers standardized ALM processes that are easy for the end users to adopt.

The threshold to start with SAP Cloud ALM has been made exceptionally low. It is license free for customers that have SAP Enterprise Support, or at least one SAP Cloud solution. Customers do not need to invest in hardware or software. There is also no need to spend several weeks implementing SAP Cloud ALM – It is ready for use within moments after you order it from SAP. You can simply start using it immediately. Also, SAP Cloud ALM is not only for SAP Cloud Solutions. It also supports SAP Hybrid and On-premise solutions.

SAP Cloud ALM is not yet perfect, and it does not have a similar level of customization possibilities as SAP Solution Manager, but SAP is developing Cloud ALM actively and the most essential features that are currently in Solution Manager will also be in SAP Cloud ALM in coming years.

When you take into account the easy availability of SAP Cloud ALM and combine it with the fact that it is the future of SAP ALM, it is clear that companies have very little to lose and a lot to gain by giving it a chance.

2023 will be a remarkably interesting year for SAP Cloud ALM. We are looking forward to seeing SAP customers choose this new cloud native solution along with Solution Manager. At Tietoevry, we have worked with SAP Cloud ALM in several projects, and we are happy to demonstrate it to you in Tietoevry’s own SAP Cloud ALM tenant.

Arto Heikkilä
Lead SAP ALM Consultant
Leena Nissilä
Senior SAP Consultant

I have worked with SAP Solution Manager for several years. Recently I have also been involved in SAP Cloud ALM projects and I am excited about it. I am especially excited about its quick implementation, and its functionalities in the management of SAP implementation projects.

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