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WIKI BY MURAT YURUK

CUSTOMER SIDE- MESSAGE MANAGEMENT BEST PRACTICES

At SAP’s Product Support, we follow highly evolved and regularly reviewed processes that help us provide world-class assistance to our customers.  Several factors dynamically shape our internal processes. These include industry standards, internal/external feedback and statistical data.

As a technical support engineer at SAP, it is my experience that the rate of success, in case review and troubleshooting phases, is dramatically increased when our customers exercise certain practices in these stages of issue management lifecycle.

So for the benefit of our user communities, below I compiled a list of some of the finest practices I have seen our customers use, from the point of encountering an issue internally to the point of closing a message.

PHASE I – UPON DISCOVERY OF A NEW ISSUE

These are the initial steps that I recommend customers to go through when they become aware of an issue/concern. A proper customer-side investigation of the issue helps verify and define the issue with good level of accuracy which contributes success in the following areas:

  • Customer gathering useful information for their internal message processing records.
  • Customers finding any known solutions for the issue.
  • Customers gathering sufficient information to include in SAP message description.

Some good practices at this stage include:

-        Filter out any irrelevant information

-        Narrow down to most specific facts

-        Identify possible patterns

-        Collect relevant sample data to analyze

-        Test independently to verify the issue

-        Review any past occurrences and solutions history

-        Use of SAP Solution search tools (KB, product guides, SCN Forums, Internet) 

 

PHASE II – DURING MESSAGE CREATION AT SAP SERVICE MARKETPLACE

The quality in description of an issue and providing examples play a huge role in an SAP engineer’s initial understanding of the issue. The fewer questions we have to ask to understand the issue, the more quickly we can move forward towards the next steps in investigating and troubleshooting.

Some good practices at this stage include:

-        Create SAP message for the correct product, version, component

-        Include the relevant product’s full version number

-        Include clear description of the issue

-        Include the first date the new behavior has been seen.

-        Mention any recent changes in the environment(see SCN WIKI ‘What changed analysis’)

-        Explain steps taken to test/investigate

-        Attach relevant data/example

-        Mention if a consultant is involved in implementation

-        Mention if issue is reproducible (on demand) or intermittent

-        Set accurate message priority and business impact  (See SAP Note 67739)

-        Provide accurate and available contact details with availability information (time zone, expected absences etc.)

-        Mention any customized solutions ie. coding, virtualization, clustering, load balancing involved.

-        Create one message for each separate issue. (See SAP NOTE 1427298)

-        Refer to any reference past SAP messages or articles.

-        Mention if SAPRouter is installed and connections can be opened when needed (See SAP NOTE 1697089)

 

PHASE III – WHEN TROUBLESHOOTING TOGETHER WITH SAP

Technical troubleshooting is a joint effort. During this phase, significant amount of time is saved with efficient communication, contact availability, responsiveness and system accessibility.

Some good practices at this stage include:

-        Contact persons and the systems are available for discussion and troubleshooting

-        All involved parties attend the troubleshooting sessions as necessary.

-        Incident records up-to-date.

-        Incident status is accurate (ie With SAP/With Customer)

-        Request clarification as needed

-        Systems are available as scheduled* *

 

Phase IV – WHEN SAP SENDS A SOLUTION PROPOSAL FOR A MESSAGE

At solution proposal stage, the acknowledgement of solution proposed and continued two-way communication/progress updates is important until the message is concluded.

Some good practices at this stage include:

-        Acknowledge the receipt of the solution. Review the solution in detail and evaluate for suitability. Describe your next steps.

-        Close the message if the issue is resolved or no longer relevant. (Only customers can close a message by confirming the message in SAP Service MarketPlace)

-         Update the message if further SAP update is required.

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