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When it comes to message processing at SAP, the term ‘escalation’ can cause some confusion and, at times, misunderstanding. Generically, when using the term ‘escalation’ with regards to message processing, someone is trying to expedite the resolution process, but how is this best achieved?  Below are a few options for your consideration.

Request for Information/Update

I don’t think this is a true form of escalation but have included it nonetheless.  Some believe that by initiating contact with SAP in this way there is an increased chance of getting a faster response.  This may be the case however this might only be relevant to that message processor or that particular occasion and the ‘escalation’ lost should the message be assigned to a different processor/region/level.

Raising the Priority of a Message

This is the most popular form of escalation and, to some, probably also the only known form of escalation (other than to contact an SAP account manager).  The general thought process is that, by increasing the priority of the logged message, a consultant will be assigned, or be prompted to respond, faster.

In theory, and in most cases, this is true; logged SAP messages are placed into queues that are controlled by a ‘clock’ defined by the priority level of the message.  That is, the higher the message priority, the shorter the time is allocated to action that request.

However some care needs to be taken with this approach.  When the priority of a message is changed, the time allocated to action that message is effectively reset.  A long-inactive MEDIUM priority message may be higher in the queue to be actioned than a reset/new HIGH priority message.

In the main, I am referring to raising a message from a LOW/MEDIUM priority to a HIGH priority.  VERY HIGH messages are monitored and managed quite separately.  If an incident meets the requirements of a VERY HIGH priority, this should be set without hesitation.

Backoffice Escalation

There may be times when a HIGH priority message does not quite qualify for VERY HIGH status but requires urgent attention nonetheless.  Thankfully SAP has a process to deal with these situations via a backoffice escalation team.  In effect this team is tasked with ensuring the escalated message is actioned as a priority over all other logged messages (with the exception of messages with a VERY HIGH priority).

Access to this backoffice escalation process is well guarded; SAP is well aware that a flood of unwarranted escalations will only compromise the integrity of the overall process.  In order to be assessed for this escalation, customers are required to update the message with a business impact statement providing SAP with an overview of the criticality of the incident to the customer’s business.  SAP Note 90835 provides an overview of this process whereas SAP Note 1281633 is essentially a guide for the business impact statement.

Once the business impact statement is provided, SAP will consider whether the message demands the attention of the backoffice escalation team.

The initiation of any escalation process should be conducted via the Customer Interaction Centre (CIC).  The CIC should also be any customer’s first contact point for any questions or concerns with the processing of any message.

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