During the SAP Teched 2013 in Amsterdam I had the opportunity to attend two hands-on sessions about ITSM, and also to interview David Birkenbach, Product Manager at SAP, together with Tobias Hauk, also Product Manager, about the latest innovations released with SAP Solution Manager SP10 (Feature Pack 2). In this blog I will describe what I learned with David in his session ITM265 – Service Catalog Design with SAP Solution Manager 7.1.
The new Support Package 10 brings a list of improvements for ITSM area, some of them necessary to fullfil the ITIL certification, and most of them related to requests that many customers (at least mine) were looking for. Below we can see an overview of these improvements, described by David during his session:
- Custom fields in ITSM BW Templates
- Enhanced Status schema
- Email inbound inbox in Dispatcher Role
- Service Catalog
- My Messages Widgets
- Issue Management integration
- Substitution of Business Partners
- Enhanced Task Management
- Knowledge Article converting in pdf documents
- Search usability improvements (attachments, new search attributes)
- Single Point of Contact
- CI Authorization via Organization Model & Extended Business Partner Management with LMDB integration
For Service Providers, there are also other improvements:
- Plausibility check for business partner data entry
- Enhanced SAP component selection
- SAP Notes Assignment Block in Requester UI
- Single sign-on using SAP Service Marketplace Certificate
- End user widget for messages of own organization
- Substitution function in message widgets.
Some details about the main improvements that were shown during the session ITM265 are mentioned below.
BW reporting for ITSM was also improved. Now it’s possible to include the fields created by the customer (for example using AET) in the BW templates for Overview, Incidents and Problems. There are dummy fields available (10 fields of data type CHAR with length 60, 10 fields of data type DATE with length 60 and 10 fields of data type DECIMAL with length 15) in the ITSM BW templates. The mapping of fields created using AET can be done via a BADI (there is an IMG acivity for that) and there are 5 standard dummy fields from object BTServiceH already mapped.
Figure 1: IMG activity for mapping custom fields in BW reporting
Status schema was enhanced to allow dependent fields and substatus.
The first one, status-dependent fields, was a functionality already available via an SAP KBA 1817423 (I have already used it in a SP below 10) and delivered with SP10.
Figure 2: Example of status-dependent configuration in SP06 after implementing SAP KBA 1817423.
The status-dependent fields check allows us to control that a status cannot be set if the mandatory fields that we configured in the IMG activity are not filled. If one of the fields is not filled, an error message is issued and the status can’t be changed. Note: this check does not work for initial status (created), so we can’t use it to avoid saving the document with one specific field in blank. If you want to avoid saving the document without mandatory fields, check note 1772650 and KBA 1931783.
Figure 3: Error message when fields are not filled during status change.
The substatus is a new dropdown field that can be set for a more detailed status based on the main user status of Incidents and Problems. Below you can see the standard values delivered in SP10:
Figure 4: Standard values for substatus of SMIN.
Figure 5: Example of substatus for custom status Resolved (Solution Proposed).
If you use the Dispatcher business role, you can have a dispatcher Inbox for inbound e-mails and undispatched incidents. It’s necessary to configure ERMS (E-mail Response Management System). It’s possible to:
- Receive e-mails from end users
- Transfer e-mails into incidents or service requests
- Rejection of e-mails possible
- Solutions will be provided via e-mail automatically
- Replies from end user will be attached to the existing IT document due to an auto tracking ID
Keep in mind that for the inbound e-mail functionality to work, you need to:
- Configure the system so that the system can receive e-mails and create a central e-mail address.
- Activate workflows generally in Standard Settings for SAP Business Workflow.
- Activate workflow ERM1 in Workflow Builder (transaction SWDD).
- Create a rule policy for e-mail routing in the IT Service Management WebClient UI.
- Configure the e-mail settings, define and assign service manager profiles in the E-Mail Response Management System.
- Define the inbox profiles
You find these steps described in the IMG Activity for Inbound E-mail. You can also check the wiki with all the details.
Figure 6: Slide from the ITM265 session showing the Inbox search and auto tracking ID
The Message Widget, delivered with SP5, was improved. The “My Messages” list in the Home page of the Web Client UI was enhanced to show also other transaction types like ChaRM documents, Service Requests and Operation Tasks. It is also possible now to filter by business partner role (reporter, processor, my team) and manage substitutes.
We can now set other people as our substitutes so that they can receive incidents that were dispatched for us and work with our documents while we are absent. There is an area showing “Business Partners who substitute for me” and another area with “Business Partners for whom I substitute” with a validity date.
Figure 7: My Messages with all transaction types.
Figure 8: Pop-up to manage substitutes.
Another improvement is related to Issue Management integration. It’s possible to create relationship between your ITSM incidents and SAP Service Delivery issues. In the Incident toolbar, menu “More”, there is an option “Create Issue”.
Incidents can be one part of issue resolution. It’s possible to create or assign incidents to the issue. If so, the relationship between Issues and Incidents is displayed in the “Related sources” assignment block.
Knowledge Articles can now be Auto converted into pdf as attachment (they must be released). It makes the KA visible in the mobile app. Also, when sending an e-mail from an incident with a KA, a pdf version of the KA will be sent as an attachment.
Single Point of Contact partner
A new partner function called “Single point of contact” was added, following the ITIL best practices. A business partner of this type can be entered for instance before forwarding the incident, to ensure that a single person remains responsible for the complete lifecycle of the incident.
Restriction of Configuration Items
In Web Client UI, at the moment is not possible to restrict the Ibase components showed in the Ibase search via Authorization objects, as we used to do when using transaction NOTIF_CREATE. We see all Ibase components. We can only restrict Configuration Items, but only in 2 ways: see everything or see what is assigned to the person. With SP10 is now possible to restrict access to LMDB systems using the Configuration Items via Organization model and extended business partner management. For instance, it’s possible to restrict Configuration Items assigned to one Organization, so the business partners assigned to this Organization will only see the CIs assigned to it.
The biggest development effort was in the Service Request Management area. To fulfill the ITIL certification requests it is very important to have IT Services defined and bundled in a catalog. David explained the possibility to create an IT Service Catalog in Solution Manager, and allow the end users using the End Users Web UI to order the services from the Service Catalog. The core of the Service Catalog is pure CRM functionality, it is already available in other SPs of Solution Manager 7.1, but now the End User UI has a new preconfigured service order process to enable Service ordering like product ordering in an ERP.
Figure 9: Slide from ITM265 session showing the End User UI with Service Catalog
There is also an Enhanced Task Management for Service Request Management with Guided Procedures (GP), an Alternative feature to checklists in Service Request.
As we can see, there are many improvements in ITSM with SP10.