A while ago I visited one of our largest customers to introduce them to our latest release. I recall that it was well received but, as CTO, I’m always looking to the future. So I asked them what problem we could solve for them in a future release. And I remember their response as if it was yesterday…
Win with automated SAP HotNews detection
Their biggest pain point was that no one could tell them easily which systems within their huge SAP landscape would be affected by a new SAP HotNews. Each time it involved lots of manual work with different tools to get any real peace of mind and be certain they hadn’t missed an important security fix or crucial update. That’s also the reason they only reacted to SAP HotNews from time to time, which obviously left their systems at risk.
I am happy to say that this customer, probably one of the most well known German manufacturing brands in the world, is still an avid Avantra user. With that in mind, I’m delighted that I could go back to them and let them know that we got this problem solved. Moments like this are certainly amongst the most favorite tasks of someone leading a product team.
Our latest release of the Avantra platform, 21.11, includes this brand new functionality. The platform now fully automates detection of SAP HotNews and evaluates affected systems.
I am so excited about this new feature. Even during prototyping, each time I got an SAP ONE Support Launchpad email telling me that a very high priority SAP Note/KBA had just been released, I went straight to our test system and filtered for the corresponding note number to check if it was already there. And it was! Not only that, but I was immediately informed which of our internal test systems would be affected by various vulnerabilities, such as SQL Injection, Missing Authorization Check, Code Injection and XML External Entity Injection – just to name a few recent ones. I can’t wait to see this in action on a larger scale.
Realize the potential of SAP automation
With Avantra, this new way of tackling the onerous task of keeping up with every SAP HotNews email alerts takes away so much pain. From freeing up your smartest team members, to added resilience for your mission-critical SAP operations – it’s a win/win.
On top of this, I’m excited about all the other intelligent features that will make their way to our customers with 21.11. We are delivering ML based smart predictive analytics of time series based data. Our engineering was keen to make it useful out-of-the-box with a self-trained ML model. Anyway, challenges remained.
The insights of AI-driven features need careful engineering, so that it does what is intended: to reduce noise rather than provide more information which is hard to understand. That’s why we combine the insights of our time series prediction with the ones of classic threshold based monitoring.
Now let us talk about automation. With release 20.2 we have been delivering our first automation engine, on top of what we always have done with automatic rule based approach following our “configure once and forget” paradigm. A little later that year, we delivered the automatic SAP kernel upgrade as a technical preview. Meanwhile, it is used in production environments at various customers and with 21.11 the feature, will be available in our new Enterprise edition.
A next generation level of IT operations experience
But there is more in 21.11. We carefully evaluated the feedback we received from customers on our 1.0 automation engine and decided we need to go back to the drawing board. It was positive feedback and we were quite overwhelmed with what our customers were intending to do. So we took this opportunity to rethink and came to the conclusion that only a fully featured automation process workflow engine would be good enough for what we want to do, now, and in the short and long term future.
That’s why Avantra features a new automation engine, based on the popular Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN 2.0) which provides a strong foundation to support even more complex automation scenarios. Our priority is to deliver ready to use templates for SAP operations automation, for example to automate data copies, system refreshes and system copies.
New checks and integration of SolMan
What else is in the 21.11 bucket? First, let me name the news in the Observe space: There will be new checks and integration of Solution Manager. Some power users have been asking for this since quite a while. The new checks enable customers to check that Solution Manager is OK and we as well detect which system is connected to a Solution Manager.
Simplified Avantra onboarding
Then we have further simplified the onboarding process. New servers can now be registered during the installation process of the Agent on the fly, and afterwards we register the SAP systems automatically as well. The great news is that Avantra now starts to monitor and observe SAP software, even if credentials for technical users have not yet been set up. This new capability enables immediate overview of systems to start building a picture of what’s in your landscape.
Certified ServiceNow Service Graph Connector
Engage in centralized IT workflows
In the Integration space, there are two great pieces of news. First, we want to mention the Avantra certified ServiceNow Service Graph Connector. Already released in Summer as an update of 20.11, and adopted by many customers, I believe it is worth mentioning again. Avantra is a ServiceNow partner and we have been working with the ServiceNow CMDB council to demonstrate how Avantra models SAP landscapes. More information can be found in our previous blog post.
Native VMware integration
Secondly, Avantra now includes native VMware integration, which enables customers to do start-/stop automation and see VMware host system information directly in the Avantra platform. More features for VMware to come. We know that on premise centric customers, in particular, have been waiting for this.
A new user experience
Last but not least, let us talk about changes we made to the Avantra platform. Amongst others, most notably is the first time we release something with the new user experience we are working on. While momentarily the existing user interface continues to exist alongside the new one, we continuously bring the new UX to other product areas, focusing on really delivering an advanced and even easier user experience.
We are very excited to bring our latest release to the market in order to deliver secure, integrated and automated SAP operations to the world’s most trusted brands.
If you would like to learn more please schedule time for a 21.11 overview.
See additional information about Avantra Enterprise benefits. If you would like to learn more please contact us and we'll be happy to take you through an in-depth and tailored demonstration of Avantra 21.11.
Upgrade to Avantra 21.11 now.
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