Mild Rant: SAP Notes are getting harder to find
When I’m not on a project, or racking up points in Coffee Corner, my day job is SAP technical support at a government office.
Often, a support issue presents itself as a weird error message that alarms the users. See exhibit A (below).
In the old days, my strategy for resolving this issue would be:
- Do a little debugging to determine the message id and number (“PSCD_FACTS_EN” and “020”: Entry too long. Type &1 allows max. &2 characters)
- Go to the ‘Search for SAP Notes’ screen and type in that exact message code (“PSCD_FACTS_EN020”)
- Find the right note – pretty much immediately – and implement it.
Problem solved, and I’m finished in time for morning smoko.
Not any more!
- A search for ‘PSCD_FACTS_EN020’ turns up nothing.
- A search for ‘PSCD_FACTS_EN’ turns up many notes, none of which match the issue I’m investigating
- I read through each note, looking for something similar. This requires a fair amount of ‘fuzzy’ logic
- I find a note that mentions ‘length of character’. Hmm, looks promising, but we already have it.
- By luck, I notice that there are two additional SAP notes which correct this note
- Bingo! One of them contains the text : “Entry too long. Type LANGUAGE allows max 1 characters.”
OK, maybe it’s partly my bad – I could’ve debugged further to the method where the error is raised, and searched on that as well. But does it really need to be so hard? WWGD (What would Google do?)
My question / rant / challenge to SAP Support is:
If a note is created to fix a specific error message, shouldn’t it be searchable by that message (PSCD_FACTS_EN020) , or at least by the message class (PSCD_FACTS_EN)?
It would make our job a lot easier.
I’m trying to be specific & constructive here, but in general I think that SAP Support Notes are getting harder to search. It seems I just have to keep trying before I hit the jackpot.
Thanks for listening. I feel better now.
Have you checked out ANST? See http://scn.sap.com/community/software-support-and-maintenance/blog/2013/08/31/sap-automated-note-search-tool-im-loving-it
you beat me to it, I was about to say the same thing.
Ah yes, I read that blog a few months ago. It sounded great, but but then I lapsed back into old habits. 😳
Let me try it now....
And indeed, it works - the right note is in there. Excellent.
Another (BIG) bonus is that you get an overview of SAP notes that you may want to implement prophylactically (especially relevant now, since we have just upgraded).
Thanks Samuli & Andy!
Can I just add - they changed it so you can't enter a SAP Note number in a SAP Note so you can move from one note to another!
And they changed it so the note number is no longer in the URL!
This is not progress!!!!
Hear hear. I'm paging Kristen Scheffler and I will also send an e-mail to the usability group who I recently dealt with regarding improving usability of SAP Notes and KBAs. See the link below for a blog which is better suited for follow-ups then us using Paul's blog...
Hi Samuli, Paul, Andy, and John,
Thanks for bringing me in to the conversation. Good to see you found success with ANST! I will be sure to let my colleague Carlos Martinez Escribano know.
As for the note number field disappearing and URL missing the number, I was not aware of this change, so will definitely alert the knowledge management team of this.
Please feel free to connect with me directly if you have any other feedback.
Quick update: With regards to the note number field missing, it will be added back in after the Q4 transport (which happens November 30th), so expect to see that again in the very near future.
Following up on the URL piece still.
Wow thank you, quick turnaround! Glad to see someone cares!
Great! Very good news.
I just noticed that the note number field has been restored. Thanks.
Good to hear Samuli!
I do have a 'workaround' for the note number missing in the URL while it is being fixed.
You can right click on the Quick Link icon and select Properties. This will then provide you with the URL with the note number included, which you can copy.
Hope that helps,
I'd just like to add Paul,
the Coffee Corner has been rocked by a, wait for it.....
"poems for points" scandal
it's kind of SCN's interpretation of cash for questions
in the parliament
And consequently, because of a small minority abusing the
good nature of the points system in the Coffee Corner points
have been taken away from Coffee Corner
So you won't be racking up any more points in the Coffee Corner
Just wanted to let you know like
Noooooooo! How will I ever reach Topaz?
At least we still have the wikis.... (Only kidding, he he)
Poems for points, that's gold! Thanks Andy.
I've also noticed lately that note searching has become more and more fuzzy, especially by the message. Thought it was just my paranoia. 🙂 It'd actually be beneficial if there was a search option specifically for the messages since there seems to be no clear standard in how the keywords are entered (or not all support folks are following a standard).
ANST is all fine and dandy, but we have a web site, why shouldn't it work? And call me lazy, but I can research the notes from home without having to dig through my purse for a VPN token.
you can't blame SAP for you having too much stuff in your purse 😛
I've been thinking on similar lines for a while now. But my grouse is that, whenever I go to a Note which looks similar to my issue, I find myself caught in a vicious SAPNote-farm, much like the link-farms of SCN. It is not until I read a dozen of such Notes that I realize that I'm back to the Note where I started.
Metal note to self: Next time try ANST.