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Trip to Mastering SAP Technologies – Panel Day

Day(s): Wednesday – Saturday | Sunday | Monday | Tuesday


Unbelievably Super-Cool Tips for Debugging SAP Workflow
Sue Keohan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory

A Deep Dive Into SAP Interactive Forms by Adobe
Anne Kathrine Petterøe, Adobe Systems (Norway)

The first two sessions on the second day of Mastering SAP Technologies 2011 pitted two SAP women Mentors: Sue Keohan tackling Workflow, and Anne Kathrine Petterøe on the latest Adobe forms.  Anne was feeling better, after needing to cancel Monday sessions.  Both rooms were crowded, though I floated between the two because my second session was going on immediately after. 



Aiming For No Downtime? How You Can Get Near Absolute Zero


I did OK.  A few questions came up, not too many, but more than the session the day before.  Someone asked about combining production and non-production in frames. I don’t think we would go back to separate towers, given the stability so far, and the advantage of providing more resources to production than would otherwise be available.

Another question was on landscape changes, and I don’t think there are easy answers about target platforms or scaling up or out.

The last question raised was on Oracle tuning, and I gave references to people that can assist.  We have not put much on version 11 yet.


(ME on a panel)

Panel Discussion: Getting the Support You Need – and Fast! Led by Stephen Silver, LOCL

The four speakers, including me, shared their experiences with SAP support.  The session goal was to not have a gripe session, as that’s too easy to start, and not too productive.


My talking points:

  • SAP Certified Customer Center should get you special treatment
  • Learn how to leverage SCN
  • Build up your peer network

One pain point expressed by several customers was problem resolution time (search for “message processing” metrics).  SUGEN has been helpful to a few sites, though I was not clear what functions are provided, yet.

I talked about how to leverage the forums, for example finding an answered question with little detail, and told the audience they could contact me if they wanted forum moderator intervention.

Some use Google instead of SCN, which I’ve heard from others, though I think the upcoming search improvements may tip the scales back inside.  If you’re stuck, do both.

Another tip I passed on was to use Twitter; I gave an example where I complained about an SAP note translation not being current, and was given an updated copy within the hour by a network contact.  Building and refining that network takes time and effort, but it’s paid off numerous times.


SAP Solution Manager – Learn Before You Leap Joshua Bankers, Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited (New Zealand)

I visited this session for most of the time, though I seem to have been distracted and have only a few notes to show I attended (and a room photo).  Fonterra has Solution Manager at different patch levels, the reason being their internal debate on Solution Manager needing to be patched (in production) before other landscape systems, or after. I think the general advice would be first, though I can understand the rationale for not touching a production Solution Manager system during upgrades of other systems.

Takeaways from the sessions included governance of the Solution Manager content being a key success factor; Fonterra established an overall owner (which makes sense), and individual function owners that coordinate with them.  Planning how to use Solution Manager is another requirement, and communicating the vision to those who implement it is a necessity.  The last key was on managing their Business Process Repository.

It seems one challenge they hit was by rolling out building blocks, the generic nature of these objects prevented establishment of service levels specific to each reuse.


We’re Migrating From Oracle To ……. What?!! Doug Phillips, CS Energy Limited

While it’s not in our future vision to move away from Oracle, this subject is closer to my background and skill sets than others at that time.  Doug explained differences between Oracle and MaxDB, as a method of communicating the learning curve for a former DBA.  He didn’t talk much about the migration process, or response metrics that I would have looked for.  The drilldowns onto database administration and tuning concepts would be critical for most DBAs to get up to speed if they inherited or were assigned yet another responsibility.

The architectural differences between the index implementations would drive me crazy, though the proof would be in the pudding, by measuring user experience.  The idea of switching off an index temporarily, but still keeping it updated, might be a good way to experiment with different access paths.  I would need to be convinced that that kind of brute force experimentation is more efficient than a good understanding of the I/O and CPU hits of each optimizer choice.


Closing Keynote Presentation: Lessons Learned Federating Portals Jon *****, The Boeing Company


I enjoyed seeing and hearing Jon give the closing session, with a good crowd. We don’t run SAP Portal except to a minimum extent where necessary, so most of the advice went over my head.  Their architecture of some sites being critical and others non-critical, with unavailable data being hidden, seems a good approach to delivering content without confusing or alarming users. 


That’s all for 2011 Mastering SAP Technologies in Sydney.




While in Australia (for the first time) I learned a few new terms, and taught a couple terms to Aussies. One was “lolly“, or to me, a lollipop.  I’ll leave out the context where I picked that up, but the purveyor will know what I mean.  The second is “chalk and cheese“, which are polar opposites.  I have not tried Vegemite yet.  Maybe tomorrow.

Moxie was one I came up with, and “nickel and dime“, used in an outsourcing context, in an complementary fashion. “FTW” is another acronym, which I think derives from Hollywood Squares.  It’s a good thing.

Other impressions and observations are the rejection of incoming food by the Australia customs crew, who seeing my backpack asked about trail mix, beef jerky, but not about the raisins I decide to dispose of. Graham Robinson told us about wood products imported that contained non-native termites or other pests.



























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  • And loved your ecclectic mix of references and multimedia.  Be it Sophie’s choice (foot massage?) or vegemite, or a sudden Tony flash in a video he must have shot,  you certainly know how to add the personal touch to mastering SAP knowledge and technologies in any location.  Great series for those of us who haven’t yet experienced an event in that geography.  They were lucky to have you documenting. As are we.