Top Issues describe major critical issues that have significant business impact, require management-level attention across a company and SAP. Used as a medium for solving complex problems in a comprehensive and traceable manner, Top Issues are an extension of the collaboration between a customer & SAP from the technical level (Issue Management) to the management level (Top Issue Management). Primarily non-technical in nature, Top Issues may refer to (or be caused by) underlying technical issues. A helpful distinction between Top Issues, Issues, and [CSN] messages lies in the scope and visibility.
A Top Issue has a negative impact to business operations and/or endangers the project milestones. It has visibility at management level and is the subject of talks between SAP and customer management. An example might be the lack of a high availability concept establisched for a mission critical solution.
This is much higher level than an Issue which, for example, might describe a detailed problem which affects a business process, interface, a technical component or business or support organization. An example might be performance problems with backorder re-scheduling. A Issue reflectts a problem to which you must respond because it interrupts operational processing, or could do so in the short or long-term. This problem type is more than errors or interruptions which could be reported in a message. Issues are triggered by service delivery and may be documented in a service report with ratings to indicate priority. Several issues with a rating of ‘very high’ might trigger a Top Issues. However, while issues like this represent serious risks, not all very high issues will lead to a Top Issue.
The table describes the assigned objects and related functions in SAP Solution Manager 7.2.
Still narrower in scope is the support message submitted in the SAP Solution Manager or the CSN system (formerly OSS). It is an end-user message (incident) that describes a behavior of the software. For example, an error in VA01. A support message might be referenced in an issue.
Top Issues imply a collaboration between SAP and a customer, with focus on analysis, resolution and measurement. Visility at the customer and SAP enables analysis of Top Issues with their impact on core business processes, most critical interfaces, or major technical components. Effective resolution occurs to the extent that a clear action plan on how to resolve top issues is defined. Driving the Top Issue to closure requires joint execution of the action plan and verification of progress.
The essential information to be included are:
- Description and background, which should be clear and informative. It should include sufficient functional detail to be immediately understood by the reviewer.
- Business impact, which could be a financial impact, political, or technical implications if issue is not resolved.
- Action Plan with owners and deadlines.
- Exit Criteria that outline pre-requisites or milestones to be achieved to close the top issue.
The following steps outline how to do this in the SAP Solution Manager 7.2.
- Login to system start transaction code SM_WORKCENTER or run SAP Solution Manager Launch Pad with browser.
- In the SAP Solution Manager launchpad, go to SAP Engagement and Service Delivery group.
- Tile “Top Issues”, the number indicates how many top issues are not finished. If there are no existing Top Issues and you don’t see a tile, you’ll have to add it:
- Choose icon “Personalize Home Page” to add new tiles to the group.
- Choose tile “Plus” to start the tile selection.
- Choose icon “Plus” below the tile to add this tile.
- Choose the “Group” which should contain the selected tileConfirm with “OK”.
- Choose “Back” in upper left corner to leave the tile catalog.
- Choose icon “Exit Action Mode” to leave the edit mode
- Choose “Top Issues” tile in SAP Solution Manager Launch Pad homepage.
Click “Create” button at the top of issue list.
- Choose “Create”, issue details can be entered in a new window.
- Enter some information in “Issue Details” window.
- Click “Save & Back” button, the issue will be saved and the close the popup window. It will then appear in the Top Issues list.
Top Issues can have other items assigned to them. When editing the Top Issue details, the ‘Assign’ button on each tab enables this function. Items include ITPPM projects, Technical Systems, Solution Documentation and recommended Tasks.
Once the Top Issue has been updated with all essential information and relevant details, visibility to SAP can be ahieved by clicking ‘Send to SAP’.
Top Issue will be send to SAP Global Support Backbone. Updates on Top Issues are sent via job „SM:TOP ISSUE TRANSFER“ daily. The „Processing Log“ in Tab „Processing Information“ provides full transparency data transfer events.
And there you have it, transparency to customer and SAP management to enable traceable, trackable progress toward closure on key challenges and complex problems with critical business impact.