Predictive Support Alerts (PSA) for the BI Platform
The BI Platform Support Tool (BIPST) version 2.1 added functionality to allow you to send your Landscape Report directly to SAP Product Support for analysis. By sending your landscape report to SAP, you are enabling SAP to pro-actively & predictively review your system landscape to find potentially disruptive issues. Predictive Support Alerts allow SAP to contact you if an issue is found in the latest landscape report that you have uploaded. For example, if you were on a patch version that had a known security vulnerability, SAP could alert you of this and suggest the best patch level for you to move to.
About the PSA Program
The PSA Program is an innovative approach to the way SAP delivers support. The goal of the program is to provide customers personalized alerts and solutions, based on their unique landscapes, in a timely fashion. SAP Product Support will use this program to achieve the following goals:
- Provide proactive notifications about potential issues in customer environments
- Provide a free support offering that will supplement the existing support infrastructure
- Produce relevant, personalized alerts and solutions that pertain to individual environments
- Intelligently deliver important product updates, content and announcements to customers
- Gather valuable insight into the most popular landscape configurations to help aid our testing and product development strategy
- Lower the total cost of ownership across the BI Platform Environment
- Create a targeted communication channel for SAP Product Development
PSA alerts are triggered by comparing the circumstances of a given alert against the latest data we have on record for a given environment. As such, the value of PSA is highly dependent upon having current data uploaded to our system. To maximize the value of PSA, we strongly recommend using a recurring instance – e.g. daily, or once per week – to ensure your system's data is up-to-date. Recurring instances are available starting in version 2.1 of the BI Platform Support Tool – details below.
How it works
The below diagram outline the high level process involved with the PSA program. The steps are described below the diagram in detail.
- Customer downloads and runs the BI Platform Support Tool and uses the “Send to SAP” option to send the Landscape report to SAP – either at the time of generation or after the fact, via the Report History. The file is then delivered to SAP via secure FTP.
- The file is immediately collected from the secure FTP location and is pulled internally into the SAP Internal network. Contents are then read and imported into a database to be accessed by the BI / Predictive Analytics component of the program.
- Alert Campaigns are run using SAP Analytics tools. These campaigns determine which customers need to be alerted for each potential issue. A distribution list is generated for only the customer environments that are affected by the specific campaign that is running.
- A personalized alert is generated for each customer environment that is found to be vulnerable to the issue. These personalized reports are the alerts that will be sent to the contact associated with each environment. These reports outline the issue and how it specifically applies to the customer's environment. They also provide the solution to the issue or guidance on how to rectify the issue
- A report publication is run and each customer will be sent their personalized report via email. These emails will come from the email@example.com email address and will contain the personalized report in PDF format.
- Customer receives the email and reviews the PDF to see what the issue is and how it applies to their environment. Customer takes action to resolve the issue using the solution outlined in the alert.
How to Enroll in the PSA Program
To enroll in the Predictive Support Alerts program, you simply need to carry out the below two steps:
- Configure the BI Support Tool for the "Send to SAP" functionality
- Send 1 or more Landscape Reports to SAP
That's it. Once you have uploaded a landscape report, you are automatically enrolled in the PSA program until such a time that you opt out. We do recommend that you send in your landscape reports at least once per month to ensure we base our alerts off current data for your landscape. As of version 2.1, the BI Platform Support Tool allows scheduled, recurring instances to be delivered to SAP automatically, on a recurrence schedule of your choosing.
The below 3-minute video walks you through how to configure the tool and send (upload) your landscape report to SAP. These steps are also covered in the below 2 sections in detailed step by step instructions as well.
Configuring the BI Support Tool for the "Send to SAP" functionality
Here are the steps covered in the video above for reference:
- Open the BIPST version 2.1+
- On the left-hand side of the tool, click Preferences. Within Preferences, select Predictive Support. (click on images to enlarge)
- In the resulting menu…
- Ensure the option to “Prompt me to publish reports to SAP” is checked
- Enable and configure the Proxy settings if applicable.
- Then, click + Contact, and supply the credentials or the S-User who will be associated with the uploaded reports
- Enter your S-User Password when prompted to do so. Click the "Verify" button to validate your account
Once your S-User/Password is validated, you should get a message stating that the verification is successful. You are now ready to use the Publish (send) to SAP feature. To publish your first Landscape Report, follow the below steps:
How to Send the Reports to SAP
Option 1) Publish to SAP at the end of the Create Report process
Ensure the Predictive Support configurations are set as per the previous section, Configuring the BI Support Tool for the "Send to SAP" functionality. Click on the "Create Report" option in the BI Platform Support Tool
Click the "Select All" checkbox and click the "Submit" button.
Note: In order for SAP to provide the most robust Support Alerts, you should include as many of the Landscape Analysis options as possible. The more details provided, the wider range of support alerts can be used.
Once the Landscape Report is generated, you will be prompted to “Send Landscape to SAP Support.” Click the "Yes" button.
If the reports are relevant to a specific open support incident, check the appropriate option enter the incident umber
Option 2) Use the "Send to SAP" option from the Report History section of the BIPST
The second option is to send the landscape report to SAP using the "Send to SAP" button found in the Report History section of the BIPST. To do this, simply click on the report you wish to send from the History list and then click "Send to SAP."
Following is a sample alert
How to Opt out of the Program (Purge your Data)
To opt out of receiving alert and to purge the existing data from the database, you can use the "Purge Data" option from within the Preferences/Users section of the BI Platform Support Tool.
Below are the steps you can follow:
- Click on "Preferences" from the left hand side of the BIPST
- Select the "User" section of the preferences window
- Select the user account under "Publishing Settings" section and you will see the "Purge Published Data" option appear to the right
- Click the "Purge" button and enter your S-User Password when prompted. Click "Verify" to submit the purge request
Note: This will send a request to remove all landscapes associated to your S-User account. Once purged, you will not receive Predictive Support Alerts until such a time that you submit another Landscape Report to SAP.
Cannot verify S-User/Password when adding a new Contact in preferences
When adding a new contact under the Preferences / Users section of the BI Platform Support Tool, you may encounter an error:
"Unable to verify S-User ID with the provided credentials. Check the user name and password entries and try again."
This can occur if the machine you are running the BI Platform Support Tool (BIPST) from is not configured correctly for Internet access or if the Service Marketplace URL used within the BIPST is not accessible. The tool uses your browser proxy if configured so please try to access: https://service.sap.com or https://support.sap.com manually from your Internet Explorer browser to see if this should work.
The logging folder for the tool may also have logs that can give you more details as to why this has failed. If you are certain your credentials are correctly entered, then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to have us work with you to find root cause for this issue.
After clicking "Send to SAP," an error is returned: FTP Upload Failed. An error occurred while attempting to connect to the SWI Infrastructure. Please check proxy and firewall settings."
This issue can occur if your network infrastructure blocks secure FTP access. This can be a proxy server or
firewall configuration issue and we have found it affects about 25-30% of our customers. For this reason, we are working on implementing a Web Service to replace the sFTP that is currently used. This will be available in version 2.0.4 and above of the BIPST.
In the meantime, you can just manually email the landscape .xml file (zipped up) to: email@example.com to have your landscape file manually added to the database.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of data is sent to SAP?
The Landscape report that is sent to SAP contains all of the same data that you can view in the BI Platform Support Tool for your environment. This is mostly environment details such as server, nodes, report types, configuration details, object counts, etc... No report data or passwords are sent with this Landscape report.
What will this data be used for?
- For identifying potential issues and sending personalized alerts to you
- For incident processing with SAP Product Support
- Anonymously by the SAP Product team to gain insights into our popular install base
How often will alerts be sent out to customers?
The frequency in which alerts are sent is still yet to be determined but our mission is to ensure that no customer is flooded with alerts. Our aim will be for about 1 alert per week. Keep in mind that alerts are only sent to those contacts that manage an environment that is vulnerable to the alert itself. Therefore it is possible that you will receive alerts only a few times per year if your environment is up to date and configured optimally.
What options should I select when creating a Landscape Report to send to SAP?
When creating a landscape report, you should choose the "Select All" option or manually select as many of the landscape report options as possible. The more landscape data SAP has about your environment, the wider the coverage can be for the Predictive Support Alerts that are sent to you.
Do I need to do anything other than send a report to SAP to enroll in this program?
Nope! To enroll, all you have to do is send up your landscape reports. We recommend you use to tool to automatically generate and send landscape reports once per month. We will always use the most recent set of landscape reports when generating alerts.
SAP BI Platform Support Tool
The Predictive Support Alerts (PSA) functionality allows publishing of your Landscape Analysis Reports and the information contained in the reports directly to SAP. By activating and using the PSA functionality, you (and by 'you' we mean you on behalf of the organization running and using the software) acknowledge and agree that you will be submitting details about your SAP BI Platform landscape configuration to SAP Active Global Support and the SAP BI Platform Product Group. Once you elect to use the 'Publish to SAP' functionality, the Landscape Analysis Reports will be published to SAP until you elect to turn off the PSA functionality.
The information submitted to SAP will be metadata related to your SAP Business Objects BI Platform technical landscape. This is data that is stored in the application database of your SAP software, as well as performance related data from the server/OS on which the SAP software is running. You will not be uploading any passwords or actual reporting data (business related data contained in your production reports, for example). All data uploaded by the Tool is specific only to the configuration of SAP software and does not include actual business reports or data.
SAP will collect this information from a large number of customers. SAP Product Support will use the aggregated data to gain insight into the overall use of the BI Platform and to perform predictive maintenance queries in hopes to be able to proactively notify customers of issues that affect its user base. Additionally, the data will be queried for analytic purposes to answer questions such as the total number of customers on a particular version of the SAP software or the number of customers on a particular operating system. The data from your Landscape Analysis Reports will also be made available to SAP Product Support Engineers working on your support incidents. By submitting this information, you agree that SAP can use the information for the purposes described above. While we hope to be able to achieve these goals with the help of this data, the BI Platform Support Tool, including the Predictive Support Alerts functionality, is provided on an 'as is' basis and without any warranties or representations.
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