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Why do SAP Support take so long to provide the simplest of fixes?

Back in January I debugged an issue for a client involving the transfer of delivery documents from R/3 to GTS.  After an hour or so I found the issue and told the client that 1 additional line of code was needed.  They decided to log the issue with SAP and included my detailed description of the problem and fix to help speed up the correction.

Fast forward three months and SAP have finally provided a solution and guess what, it’s exactly the same solution I provided 3 months earlier.

Very frustrating!

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11 Comments

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  1. Andy Silvey

    Hi Mike,

    aside of the rant not being a blog, I am curious to see what the lesson is here.

    Why wasn’t your recommendation proven in Sandbox or Development and then promoted and transported and tested through to Production using the Change Management process ?

    Andy.

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    1. Mike Kerrigan Post author

      It is a blog, it may contain a bit of a rant but it’s definitely a blog.

      The error was in a SAP standard program so my client decided they wanted an approved fix from SAP, not because they doubted my solution.

      The purpose of the entry was to highlight the fact that SAP support work at a painfully slow pace sometimes.

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      1. Susan Keohan

        We’ve taken a detour here, but Mike, your pain *is* felt (by many, I should think).

        So thank you for bring this out – getting better support – and knowing how to get better support – should be on the home page of SAP Service (great idea, huh?)

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      2. George Credland

        I had a similar issue a few years back. Diagnosed the exact fix/couple of lines but then raised with SAP as we wanted them to fix their code rather than take on having to reapply our own fix each time we patched. Had to make the point to get them to accept it but it was worthwhile persevering.

        Getting SAP to fix their code rather than making a quick modification also improves the product as once its fixed other customers will benefit. Otherwise lots of people are spending time diagnosing and fixing the same problem themselves and wasting time that could be spent on functionality improvements.

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  2. Susan Keohan

    Hi Mike,

    I can sympathize with you – to a point.  I have also had simple one line changes which seem to take forever for SAP to provide.  And as a customer of SAP, I will always try to get the SAP-approved fix, rather than modify their code.

    But a simple one line of code may have repercussions far beyond just fixing your specific problem.  How many times, as a developer yourself, have you seen this?

    Plus, I am sure that SAP Support deals with as many support requests that are just as detailed as some of the discussion posts we see here.  Imagine getting a customer message like ‘The billing reports do not work as predicted.  Please advise’.  😉

    So I am not excusing everything, I wish that my messages were fixed in an hour or two.  But I am able to empathize with the difficulty of their job.

    And sometimes a rant (as a blog) can be a good thing, because it gets us talking about it!

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    1. Andy Silvey

      Hi Mike and Sue,

      I do my fair share of OSS Messages for Customers where I am engaged and some of the tips and tricks I have developed over the years include:

      . making the right choice in the beginning between MEDIUM and HIGH priority, where and

      when to use a MEDIUM or a HIGH. I’ve experienced regularly, that if you open a MEDIUM as a MEDIUM and it is a straight black or white question you often get a very very fast response and closure. I guess it’s to do with low hanging fruit, we all do tickets and the low hanging fruit are the easiest and if an OSS Case comes in as  a MEDIUM and with a straight yes or no question it’s an easy one to close. I’ve experienced getting answers to MEDIUM questions within hours on several occasions in the last couple of years. So my point is, use the message priority with care.

      . judging the quality, correctness, standard of the replies from SAP and requesting and where necessary escalating to get messages moved to the next layer of support. If you are not happy with the quality of the response from the Message Processor then call SAP Global Support and discuss and also provide clear feedback in the message and politely request the next layer of support

      . keep attention on messages by regular calls to SAP Global Support to request speed up of processing

      . be polite

      . when opening the case, make as much effort as possible to provide as much information as possible, describe the issue, provide a word document with screenshots showing how to reprodude the issue, provide log files, provide full system information, and open the system connection and put the logon details in the secure area, this will all help speed up the message processing and reduce the ping ponging, the more effort you make the more you will be rewarded by faster processing

      Finally, the icing on the cake is to be a Max Attention Customer. But still, from my own experience, yes nothing beats Max Attention, but if you’re not at a Max Attention Customer and you make the right effort then you will get the highest possibility of efficient message processing.

      Andy.

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        1. Andy Silvey

          Hi Sue,

          ok, I’ll do it.

          Before I forget, another very useful tip,

          Message Component

          It can be confusing trying to select the correct or most appropriate Message Component for your OSS Message.

          And again, previous advice is applicable here, invest the time in getting this right and it will speed up message processing by reducing the wasted time with the message ping ponging with the wrong processing Component Team.

          So, how to choose the correct Message Component, or as close as possible to the correct one ?

          What I do is, I look in OSS Notes which are similar to my issue, and I take the Primary Component of the OSS Message closest to my issue and use that Group as the Message Component for the OSS Message.

          I give an example, you have a problem with PDF’s generation in HCM through Portal. Your ADS is the ADS of the Portal. You quickly open a Case to SAP and put the Message Component as EP something or other. EP something or other is not the ADS/PDF Team at SAP and therefore, there will be a delay while the Message Processor from the Portal Component Team at SAP gathers all information and then concludes this message is for the ADS/PDF Component Team. How to find the ADS/PDF Component Team, find an OSS Note on ADS and PDF’s similar to your issue, and look at the OSS Note Primary Component and use that as your Message Component.

          Voila 🙂

          I’ll make a blog.

          All the best,

          Andy.

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  3. Amit Srivastav

    Hi Mike,

    IF a piece of code is required to fix a given code that you have identified as a problem with SAP Code , you may raise a note to the SAP pointing the problem with its solution.

    They might use your code without any credits to you , as its just a piece of code that every developer will propose the same solution.

    Let hope that SAP should comes up with some credit giving to its customer for providing the bug fix in their system.

    Regards,

    Amit

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    1. Andy Silvey

      Hi Amit,

      something very nice is the number of OSS Notes, and Master Installation/Upgrade Guides I have come across which contain references to Wiki’s or SCN Documents written by SCN Members and in many cases not SAP employees.

      That is very nice credit for people’s contribution to actually have their original documentation included and referenced in OSS Notes and Install/Upgrade guides, and makes perfect sense, if the doco is out there, why re-invent the wheel.

      Regarding credit for OSS Notes, there is something personal and pleasant about knowing that OSS Note xyz1234 is your OSS Note. This doesn’t have to be public, but you always know about it and it’s a nice story for discussing with friends or in interviews 🙂

      All the best,

      Andy.

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      1. Amit Srivastav

        Hi Andy,

        Yes, i think that is the correct way to get oneself rewarded for this.

        We can always highlight these sort of discrepencies on SDN Forums or we may create a solution doucument and get it published.

        Because if its not recorded , the creadit is lost.

        Regards,

        Amit

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