Documentation issues shared in IT 2011 discussion forum

by Scott Priest, Editorial Director

March 17, 2011

This afternoon I attended Solution Manager Expert technical advisor Winni Hesel's Insider Discussion Forum session on best practices for documenting SAP solutions. Winni covered a lot of ground, kicking off with a few slides to get the discussion going, and then moving through a few questions regarding business processes, links, and general documentation issues.

He shared a few stories about difficulties with setting up business process rules. It's easy enough to say that you need to set up standard processes when implementing the system -- but what if you're a company that's in 12 countries, made up of 26 different divisions? Because of legal or cultural differences, any slight variations in the processes country by country could then cause difficulties in the business processes in the system.

When talking about documentation, he suggested that you consider restricting files that users are allowed to upload. At one company, he found some users liked to attach video clips, which were significantly hampering the database. After limiting uploads to Word and Excel documents, everything ran more smoothly. He also noted that it's possible to use digital signature technology, but he hasn't noticed it to have caught on too much yet.

The majority of headaches that attendees had surrounded transaction SMSY. It allows you to document systems to put them in an order (logical component) that represents your landscape per product. When he asked if anyone had issues, a few attendees said theirs had "a lot of yellow warning signs" and that the wizard functionality "did weird things" to the syst em. Winni followed up that 90% of Basis people he knows hate to use a wizard because they don't know what it does in the background, as its simplicity obscures some of the details that are happening. These SMSY issues become even more critical the more you use Solution Manager components like Service Desk and ChaRM. 

One last story I enjoyed was of a company who couldn't completely separate themselves from their old ways. Knowing that Solution Manager should be central repository for documents, the company transferred all shared documents from their shared drives to the Solution Manager system. Perhaps as a backup, or just out of forgetfulness, they neglected to delete the files in the shared drives. They thought their problem was solved, but some users resisted (or were not told about) the change and continued using the shared drives. As you can imagine, this led to some chaos, with essentially two versions of each document going forward, and undocumented changes happening in the shared drive. 

There were plenty of other experiences shared -- including one attendee's glowing reviews of Solution Manager Expert, to the point that I told her we were going to hire her to our sales team -- and a lot covered in the shortened half-hour session. Two more Insider Discussion Forums occur tomorrow in room 112: one led by Bill Adams at 10:00 about system performance and another led by Kennedy Wong, who will be discussing BI environment performance at 10:45.

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