Central System Administration
The Basis support staff at AusPost normally monitor our vast landscape on the two following levels:-
- Automatic Monitoring according to a set of predefined Key Performance Indicators. These KPIs are designed to notice deviations as early as possible. Within the CCMS framework, Auto-reaction methods are assigned to generate e-mail or transfer details to a support desk system. These auto-alerts generate trouble tickets which are escalated through the support organisation.
- Manual Expert Monitoring is the process of manually identifing issues that are not captured via alert monitoring. Expert Monitors give hints for resolution of identified problems or link to expert tools in satellite systems together with an integrated and automated log.
Solution manager pulls together unique monitoring tools of various components (e.g. ERP, CRM and Third Party) into a single monitoring framework with a view to reduce the cost of implementation, operations and training. This level of monitoring is referred to as Central System Administration (CSA) or as many still refer to as “Daily Checks”.
The old way
In 1996, the SAP Technology group published the R/3 system Administration Made Easy guide. The checklists contained in this publication formed the foundation of nearly every Daily and Weekly spreadsheet I have come across. The maintenance and upkeep of these checklists takes several hours. There is also normally an audit trail spreadsheet to accompany the checklist, which the Basis support staff will religiously maintain. This audit trail will detail evidence of daily checks for handover to the next support shift, or demonstrate to the management how busy the support team have been preventing serious problems from occurring.
The new way
These days, you can define a comprehensive list of periodic manual checks to be performed in the CSA area of Solution Manager. All satellite systems are checked using a pre-configured view of logically grouped administration tasks including:-
- system type checks (such as failed batched jobs or short dumps);
- component specific tasks (such as CRM ICM, PI adapters, or BI queues); and
- customer specific tasks (such as non SAP third party system checks)
The CSA can automatically maintain an audit trail of checks, and has areas for company specific instructions or directions for inexperienced staff to follow.
- Financial savings due to reduced administration effort;
- Improvement in motivation of Basis Support staff;
- Professional documentation and reporting on system maintenance tasks; and
- Easy task delegation to junior Basis staff (or outsourcing to lower cost resources)
The ALM difficulty rating.
Time taken to deploy. Medium (depending on breadth of checks).
Payback time. Fast.
Overall rating. Great advertisement for the Basis Support Team.