As an SAP consultant or someone who is interested in deeper knowledge regarding the SAP functionalities, technical background and business process scenarios we have a variety of alternatives. Sometimes it’s become even harder to choose the source of information to begin with. In SAP’s terminology, I can name the following information repositories:
– Solution Composer & SAP Business Maps
– Useful OSS Notes
– help.sap.com (official SAP documentation library)
– SAP Best Practices
– Enterprise Services Bundle
– SDN/BPX Wiki
– SDN/BPX Blogs
– SDN Community Forums
– Other unofficial communities&networks
In today’s business world it becomes mission critical to apply a logical and systematic methodology in order to get the knowledge and experiences required for our business goals. Therefore, having a well-defined knowledge management and gathering strategy would allow a competitive advantage to the interested parties. In this article, I would like to show you how I am dealing with this challenge.
As an example, I have taken the demand planning (APO-DP) module and am going to explain how I am going to combine the relevant information sources into a single “knowledge pool”.
Solution Composer & SAP Business Maps
You can access the official web page at the following address: http://www.sap.com/solutions/businessmaps/composer/index.epx
SAP offers the Solution Composer, a PC-based tool that shows you how to integrate people, data, and business processes using SAP Business Suite solutions.
The Solution Composer helps you visualize, plan, and implement coherent and comprehensive IT solutions that integrate business processes within your enterprise and between organizations. Planning your solution and collaborative processes in advance can help you increase revenue, reduce costs, increase customer satisfaction and improve decision making as quickly as possible.
Useful OSS Notes
It would be very helpful to have a list of the OSS(Online Support System) Notes in related areas which you can access at the http://service.sap.com/
Another great assistant would be to prepare the frequently asked questions lists.
You can access the official documentation site at help.sap.com. While having to opportunity to look for the relevant module or sub modules, another flexibility would be the advanced search functionality.
As you can see below, it is really easy to search for a keyword and then narrow your search by a info class like a function,process,procedure etc.
SAP Best Practices
SAP Best Practices provide a sound foundation for prepacked ready-to-use solutions mainly for SMBs. Of course, SAP Best Practices can also be used by large enterprises that need rapid installation or that want to create a corporate template for their subsidiaries.
SAP Best Practices include a clear methodology based on a comprehensible step-by-step approach; extensive reusable documentation that you can use for self-study, evaluation, as well as for project team and end-user training; and complete preconfiguration settings that give you everything you need to run SMB specific key processes “out of the box” with minimal installation effort. The configuration is fully documented including preconfigured business processes, training material, user roles, data conversion tools, and test catalogs. It is built using the latest technology, so you can adapt it quickly and easily.
These practices have been classified in three categories:
– Baseline packages
– Industry packages
– Cross-industry packages
You can access them at http://help.sap.com under the SAP Best Practices tab.
Enterprise Services Bundle
Enterprise Services (ES) bundles are collections of enterprise services that can be used to extend the functionality of SAP ERP 6.0 or other solutions of the SAP Business Suite. Each ES bundle, which consists of enterprise services that will be made available as part of the Enhancement Packages for SAP ERP 6.0 or as a specific software add-on for other SAP Business Suite solutions, provides a new set of services along with documentation of how the services can extend and reconfigure processes in a specific business scenario. Each ES bundle includes explanations of the relevant processes, business scenario, and roles involved along with descriptions of business objects and tips about how to put the services to work.
The services delivered through ES bundles can be used to create composite applications using SAP NetWeaver’s enterprise services development and modeling tools. Using ES bundles to create composite applications and in other ways allows the functions of SAP ERP 6.0 to be expanded to meet new requirements.
Wiki is a piece of server software that allows users to freely create and edit Web page content using any Web browser. Wiki supports hyperlinks and has a simple text syntax for creating new pages and crosslinks between internal pages on the fly.
Wiki is unusual among group communication mechanisms in that it allows the organization of contributions to be edited in addition to the content itself.
One of the most famous and successful wikis on the net is www.wikipedia.org
You can access the SDN/BPX Wikis at http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/sdn/wiki
A blog (an abridgment of the term web log) is a website where entries are commonly displayed in reverse chronological order. “Blog” can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.
Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs.
You can access the SDN/BPX blogs at http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/sdn/weblogs
SDN Community Forums
You can access the SAP Community forums at http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/sdn/forums where you can discuss the different ideas, opinions and questions interactively.
Other unofficial communities&networks
Except SAP’s official networks and communities there are other several links that you can visit. As i don’t want to mention each of them here, I would recommend you just to have a free search on the net.
Finally, as I have promised at the beginning of my article attached you’ll find an example of a single document related with APO-DP module which has been compiled after several steps which have been mentioned above.
In the next part of this article, I’ll try to enlighten you how I am trying to manage the whole knowledge management process in a simple-minded way. See u next time…
P.S: You can download the example file from here.