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In addition to having a Technical Support team to assist the end-users with using the SAP (and other IT) Solutions without any hindrance, an organization also needs a comprehensive ITSM system. The reason of having such a tool is to organize the effort on both the business and technical sides, which can support the System Availability and Business Continuity goals of the enterprise.

You are interested to get such a solution implemented to handle the support, from Incident & Problem to Change Request Management, better. You, therefore, need to know what it takes to have a Service Management system running. Here I’ve described it in the context of a SAP Customer COE where such tool is / can be used to ensure all of the business needs related to SAP Solutions, being used at an organization, are addressed effectively.

Technical and Business Perspective

The support organization is usually made up of different technical layers; level 1 to look after common issues & level 2 to address the complexities. On the other hand, the system usage is of different kinds; common applications used by whole organization (such as self-services), specific tools used by particular groups (such as modules), and reporting. The technical team classifies its work by tools (such as ABAP, Portal, BI, FICO, HCM/SF, SRM, CRM etc) while the business teams use functional classification (Finance, Procurement, Sales, HR etc).

In order to derive efficiency from an ITSM (and for that matter any other IT Solution), it has to be user-friendly. It is possible only if business perspective is considered. When an end-user approaches the system to log a complaint or an issue, s/he should be able to classify it easily i.e. without any confusion. For instance, an employee facing an HR issue doesn’t need to know what background systems are supporting a particular process, from on-premise HCM to in-cloud SuccessFactors or ABAP.

Ticket Registration and Resolution

The end-users of an ITSM system interact with its front-end to register the tickets. On the other side, there’s a back-end interface which support team uses to provide resolution. Both interfaces have different requirements. The front-end interface is designed to facilitate the end-users, allowing an end-user to log the issue s/he is facing or to request for a particular service. The back-end interface is designed to help the support team in recording necessary details on a reported issue or a service request, with the workflow and solution.

When something isn’t working the way it should, it’s reported as an Incident. When some help is required, it’s raised as a Service Request.

To make sure that the ticket registration & resolution process is correctly maintained, it has to be very simple and straight forward. An end-user should be able to classify the issues, not only by function but also by type of issue, such as being unable to logon, upon reporting it. The other aspect is to be able to see its status. For the support team, they should be able to know the work they are supposed to do, and to access and maintain necessary details.

ITSM Solution Implementation and Operation

No Commercial off-the-shelf Service Management (like other IT) system(s) is plug & play and therefore it has be tailored-to-suit business needs. It’s achieved by following a formal project management approach i.e. planning the work, organizing resources (including technical abilities & infrastructure), executing the individual activities, monitoring and controlling effort, and ultimately getting it operational. Even after implementation, to get people use the tool is also an effort.

The effectiveness of implementation and the efficiency of technical support provided through the ITSM solution greatly depends on the persons assigned as Project & IT Managers, in addition to the Tool’s experts. The incumbents have to be familiar with the common challenges faced during its implementation and solution’s operations to be able to set right direction for the technical and business teams. The best resources for such roles, in my humble opinion, are those who have 1) skills and experience of implementing ANY solution, managing ANY project, and providing support of ANY solution, and 2) knowledge of ITIL framework.

Change Management and Service Management

Getting an ITSM implemented isn’t sufficient to have SAP (or other IT) Solution Support streamlined. There’s much to do to get the tool adopted by different groups of people, within an organization. The main stakeholders for such solution are the End-users, Support Team, and Management. All of them have different needs, from being able to raise the ticket/service request, to maintain necessary details related to its resolution, and to know certain statistics to optimize the support.

To ensure that everyone who has to use the ITSM system knows how to and actually uses it, someone has to oversee the Change Management activities, prior to, during, and after its implementation. To name the most important activities, there has be an awareness campaign throughout the project to get attention of the solution’s prospective users and clearly-mentioned guidelines on using the application.

With all the above, you may expect better implementation and best usage of the ITMS Solution. And if you find any difficulty in using the Ticketing System, meant to streamline support of other IT Solutions, you can always raise A Ticket against the Ticketing System to get it resolved.

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