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On April 15th, I attended a webcast called “Custom Code Support with SAP Enterprise Support”with the primary speaker being Tom DiAntonio, Active Global Support for North America, SAP.  When I checked a couple days earlier, the registration was closed since the maximum number of attendees (300) had signed up. I was certainly happy I had registered earlier, as “custom code” is one of those phrases that can make or ruin your day, depending.

This table documents my Tweets during the webcast.  While I still use a paper notebook for jotting down notes and reminders to myself, I’ve kept an electronic private journal for a long time. Using twitter to do this in real time is a double-edged sword, as the typing may distract me from the running session, I may say something incorrect in the heat of the moment, and sometimes fast typing is as cryptic as fast note-taking several days later when trying to understand “what was I thinking?” 

 

Time Commentary
12:55 PM on musical hold for the ASUG webcast on code/enterprise support
12:59 PM all right – who is the wise guy logged in as “Comptroller of Maryland” on this webcast (tax collector/April 15th for you non-natives)
1:07 PM 3 tools: cus dev mgmt cockpit, sol doc asst, bus proc change analyzer to be covered in the webcast
1:09 PM 10 questions to ask your organization regarding custom development”
1:12 PM me: It will be challenging to retrofit our existing documentation to this new standard.
1:13 PM “SAP recommends using Solution Manager 7.0 Enterprise Edition with Ehnp 1, Support package 19”
1:18 PM me: Which 3rd party tools that we might already own and use interface with Solution Manager?
1:25 PM WIN: Is there an extra fee for the CDMC or is it included in the base Solution Manager?
1:29 PM clearing analysis / impact analysis appear to be helpful in cleaning up excess and obsolete objects, a perennial question.
1:31 PM “business process change analyzer” – serious magic ahead.
1:34 PM phrase du jour – TBOM – technical bill of materials
1:36 PM XX-AIE : Accelerate Innovation Enablement – SAP support queue (OSS code)
1:38 PM win-win: Are all the five remote services being discussed free to the customers?
1:40 PM Solution Transition Assessment limited to ABAP-based SAP systems only
1:44 PM support does not mean that we (SAP) will maintain the (your) code…

    
Notes after the fact

35 were slides presented.  I will try to reconstruct which comment above goes with which slide, and explain my comment.

12:59 PM It might seem silly to comment on a nickname (I am reasonably certain Peter Franchot did not sign on the webcast, nor does Maryland State run SAP – they didn’t when I worked there a decade ago, anyway).  The point of this is more that you can look for peers or well-known names in the audience to ask peer-to-peer questions or other community actions, in private chat outside the scope of the webcast.  Multi-tasking, as it were.  I’ve learned a lot this way.

1:07 PM Slide 3

  • cus dev mgmt cockpit = Custom Development Management Cockpit [CDMC]
  • sol doc asst = Solution Documentation Assistant
  • bus proc change analyzer = Business Process Change Analyzer

1:09 PM Slide 6

My sense during the webcast was that these questions might be construed as academic or rhetorical.  There is nothing wrong with any of the questions, or even the entire set together.  I’m more concerned about who should be asking these, who might be expected to answer, or know who has the answer, how often these should be asked, in what context, and in what depth.  Nothing wrong with the questions; just be sure you know why they are asked.

CHAT: April 15, 2009        1:11:12 PM        from _jim_spath_BITI_  to All Participants:    It will be challenging to retrofit our existing documentation to this new standard.

1:12 PM Slide 7

While new ways to view and manage documentation are great, I’m concerned about how this fits in with the knowledge management processes we’ve created since starting SAP.

1:13 PM Slide 9

The usual answer.

CHAT: April 15, 2009        1:17:51 PM        from _jim_spath_BITI_  to All Participants:    Which 3rd party tools that we might already own and use interface with Solution Manager?

1:18 PM Slides 10 through 16

I asked this on the chat, and unanswered online or verbally.

1:25 PM Slide 17

The ansawer was: “No, no charge.”

CHAT: April 15, 2009        1:27:14 PM        from _jim_spath_BITI_  to All Participants:    Will Solution Manager persist the data longer than it is stored locally in ST03N?

[again, unanswered]

1:29 PM Slide 20

The “clearing analysis” is another way of saying “find me obsolete or dead code” or “what programs are we NOT using?”  This function is one I am asked occasionally, such as for projects such as Unicode, version upgrades, or operating system migrations.  I was not satisfied with several of the answers given during the webcast, as it is critical to not delete a business program used but once per year.

1:31 PM Slide 24

“Magic” in the sense of hand-waving, leaps of faith, and challenging for the novice.  The phrase “sufficiently advanced technology” comes to mind (google it if you don’t understand).

1:34 PM also Slide 24

Pronounced “Tee Bomb”.  It will probably fight against our existing use of engineering and manufacturing PRODUCT bills of material.  But there you go.

1:36 PM Slide 27

Remote service to gain access to experts.  Seems like Early Watch for code, rather than for technical infrastructure.  Long overdue, and the jury will be out for a while on this.

CHAT: April 15, 2009        1:38:18 PM        from Prayarna Kaloo  to All Participants:    Are all the five remote services being discussed free to the customers?

1:38 PM

Audience chat question.  Correct answer.

1:40 PM Slide 31

Java loss here.

1:44 PM Slide 33

You should push the envelope on this topic to find out what SAP means.  My fear is that anything reasonably complex will lead straight to the “consulting” answer.

Next Steps

We are back to the planning stage to build a Solution Manager dev/QA environment before we can try Enhancement Package 1.  I’m hoping this will be live before SAP TechEd 09 in Phoenix, AZ, US so I can share what we’ve learned.  I don’t expect we will get to all of the possible tools by then.  What I would try next:

  • Clearing Analysis.  Finding dead code takes time and verification.  We have good procedures for stubbing it our rather than deleting, so recovery is easy enough.
  • Live Expert Session / Expert On Demand.  It’s free (we’re already paying for it in other words).  What’s not to like?
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