Automating SAP Application Support
Support for SAP, or System Applications Products, is multi-faceted and can be optimized through an auto-resolution mechanism for faster workflow.
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SAP (System Applications Products) Production Support and Operations largely revolves around the following:
- SAP Application Support:
- Service Desk – ticket resolution and core services monitoring.
- Auditing and Reporting – daily, weekly, and monthly reports majorly outage reports.
- SAP backup and recovery.
- Core Infrastructure Maintenance:
- Unix & Windows administration and patch management.
- DB Administration – Oracle & SQL server administration, installation, refresh.
- Infra and DB health & performance monitoring.
In most SAP Application support areas, based on user request type, the service desk or L1 team would login into to the SAP console, perform a keyword base search, navigate to functional screens, and perform numerous actions like applying resolution, report generation in CSV/Excel, account unlocking, etc. Also, the central monitoring team would check if the core functional services are running effectively by regularly logging into the console at periodic intervals. These workflows would be almost the same for different customers except that the navigation and search actions might contrast.
A ticket-based auto-resolution mechanism is one of the best-fit automation models for end user request fulfillment and incident resolution raised through the ITSM portal, phone or through emails. There can be multiple ways of implementing ticket based automation solutions around SAP support, out of which below can be more promising:
- Front-end automation: Record various routine activities performed (Capture and Reply). There are plenty of simulation tools available like SAP TAO, Panaya, Ranorex, WorkSoft, etc. Schedule/Trigger the recorded test case based on the user request or incident.
- API/DB Integration: Invoke respective resolution on incident event by means of integrating with SAP backend using management API’s or DB objects.
Most of us are cognizant that SAP structure for API/DB integration is multifaceted and compound. Customers might not be interested or willing to open the backend API’s, so front-end automation model would be the most sensible approach for automation. Use this model:
- Ticket based automated resolution workflow could be as below:
- The resolution mechanism can be recorded for corresponding category (e.g. Account Unlock, User Access, etc).
- Extract the ticket metadata from the ITSM by periodically polling the ticket data, or through the ticket register event.
- Based on the ticket category, invoke relevant recording with the extracted ticket metadata passed as input parameters.
- Check the output and auto-close the ticket if successful, or else send notifications.
- Auditing and reporting workflow could as below:
- The report generation mechanisms to be recorded for various search parameters.
- Create process flow connecting all the individual reporting sequences.
- Extract the output of each report in excel/CSV files.
- Business logic to congregate all the data extracted from CSV files into a meaning output file.
- Invoke the process flow to run periodically or on ticket registration.
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