SAP Solution Manager vs SAP Cloud ALM – Tools of the Trade

SAP offers two Application Lifecycle Management (ALM)  solutions for this: SAP Cloud ALM and SAP Solution Manager. The question often asked by Customers are what is the right ALM Solution for them? The ALM is used
to manage the application lifecycle of the solution. It can help perform the following:

      • Design your to-be business processes
      • Build the required configuration
      • Test to ensure that everything works as designed
      • Deploy changes to the production system
      • Detect incidents
      • Analyze the root cause of incidents
      • Correct business-related problems
      • Automate problem resolution


Both SAP Cloud ALM and SAP Solution Manager are ALM solutions, but there is no feature parity. The ALM capabilities differ on the two ALM platforms. And some functions are provided only by one of the options. SAP Cloud ALM provides standardized ALM processes that can be executed easily. And SAP Cloud ALM is open to integrate cloud services and 3rd-party ALM tools via open APIs in the SAP API Business Hub. SAP Cloud ALM does not intend to do everything by itself. SAP Solution Manager is different. It has been available for more than 20 years now while it has been enhanced with more and more features – a kind of ALM toolbox. You can flexibly select which tools to use for your individual ALM processes. But as always, increased flexibility brings more complexity.

SAP Cloud ALM SAP Solution Manager
Design Focus on SAP standard processes Focus on projects and maintenance in parallel
Build Strong methodology support for fit-to-standard Development driven projects, dual landscapes
Test Manual tests and automated tests currently only for SAP S/4HANA cloud public (essential edition) Manual and automated tests (incl. Tricentis Test Automation)
Deploy Deployment orchestration for Cloud and ABAP Release Management for enhanced change and transport system (CTS+, cCTS, gCTS)

Your SAP S/4HANA Cloud version affects your decision regarding SAP Cloud ALM or SAP Solution Manager as well. The public SAP S/4HANA Cloud is a complete and modern SaaS (Software as a Service) ERP, offering a new implementation of predefined processes. The direct conversion of your SAP Business Suite is not supported. And there are fewer options regarding extensibility. Hence, you need less ALM support for these cases. SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition allows you convert existing SAP Business Suite systems to SAP S/4HANA, and more business processes can be supported. There are more extensibility and custom code options to retain and protect previous investments. You might need more business process content and technical change control for your ALM platform.


SAP Cloud ALM might be the preferred solution for public SAP S/4HANA Cloud. For SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition, whether SAP Cloud ALM or SAP Solution Manager is the better choice depends on the complexity of the your transition project and the amount of custom code. Both SAP Cloud ALM and SAP Solution Manager support operations of SAP S/4HANA Cloud.

Cost and Usage

Two factors need to be considered while comparing SAP Solution Manager and SAP Cloud ALM: The cost for the entitlement and the cost for operating the ALM Solution. Usage rights for SAP Cloud ALM are granted by both SAP Enterprise Support, cloud editions (which is included in RISE with SAP contracts and SAP cloud subscriptions) and by on-premises SAP Enterprise Support contracts. SAP provides fair usage rights for SAP Cloud ALM. You can use it for free up to a baseline of 8GB SAP HANA memory, sufficient for almost every customer. Usage rights for SAP Solution Manager are included in on-premises SAP maintenance agreements only. Customers with this agreement can use their SAP Solution Manager also for managing cloud services, like SAP S/4HANA Cloud. However, if you want to use SAP Solution Manager without having a valid SAP on-premises maintenance agreement, you can subscribe to the SAP Solution Manager for SAP S/4HANA Cloud offering of SAP Enterprise Cloud Services (HEC). This subscription includes not only the usage rights for SAP Solution Manager. It also covers the required hardware and technical operations.


Your solution landscape has an impact on which ALM solution fits best as well but is not the only aspect relevant for your decision. SAP Solution Manager can support almost all SAP components, while SAP Cloud ALM supports a smaller set of solutions today.

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