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The crazy and confusing search for answers

We have the wonderful typical answers at the side when we start to type a question.  That helps a ton.  We have a nice search feature here, google, and in SAP support.  I’m sure somewhere out here is a blog or paper on how to search.  And yet we still have questions without answers.  How can that be? Surely someone has asked the our question before.

Well – a standard answer – it depends.  Someone may have asked the question in a different way.   So how to find the answer? It should be as simple as typing in your question and searching. Good news – sometimes it is.  Bad news – sometimes it isn’t.

Searching – where?

I always just type in my question.  Where?  Google is always a good place.  Another really good place is SAP support.  It’s so nice that it shows possible answers from the community now.

Searching – what?

  • The SAP Transaction always helps.  Soon it may not.  As we move to non-transaction type world.  But for now a transaction and then what I want from it helps.
  • Read the text for the transaction.  For example sales order create.  That’s always something nice to have in your search.
  • The program.  The program name could inspire some great responses.
  • I start specific and gradually move out to a less granular question.

An example of something that took me in many different directions.  This one is a recent example for me.

I wanted to be able to create a program that would give me the same results as OPD for billing.

  • SAP OPD – not much to do with custom code
  • SAP OPD billing custom code – It didn’t bring me back the information I wanted.  I wanted to duplicate it in a program.  (It did point me to BRF+)
  • SAP OPD billing ABAP – not quite what I wanted.  BW, some more BRF+., and new output determination
  • SAP Output Determination ABAP billing – I went backwards with that search
  • SAP HANA Output Determination – Sigh.  Still not a good answer for me.
  • SAP BRF+ OPD – AHA!  I found a blog.  My learnings in BRF+ 

I also wrote a blog at the end of all this searching for OPD and what I did.  BUT the above blog helped me a lot.  It pointed me in the right direction and got me started.  I’m sure I also searched via some other key words.  So now you see the search that actually helped me had BRF+ in it.  That was something I didn’t know.  I would have never thought to search on it.

The entire process took me around a couple of hours.   I read a lot of the information that was returned based on the searches above.  The information that I didn’t need, and thought was something I might later need I bookmarked.  Sometimes that saves me from searching.  I know I’ve seen it somewhere so I look at my bookmarks.

I could have started with a question to the community.  I also could have stopped my search earlier and asked the question.  Yes, people would answer.  In other places in the community there are guides to write a good question.  I would have explained what I looked at.

I’ve also found that just starting to type in my question can help.  See the first paragraph.  That really was a great add to our community features.   I type it in and then never ask the question.  I click on the links that are displayed, and find my answer there.

Sometimes I come across questions, and I think to myself didn’t they search?  Then I remember times like this one.  I searched, but I really didn’t know what I was asking for.  Usually, I’ll try to answer with the keywords that would have found the answer.  Honestly, I haven’t had a lot of time to answer questions lately.

Connecting the dots as suggested by Ervin Szolke.

Here are some great resources on searching:

Thank you Gabriel Felipe Coleti for the top 3 links.  The rest and there is more search by SAP questions, SAP bad answer.  😉  Or not.

So – my question to you….   What do you search on?  What gives you the best/worst results?  If you’ve already found or written a blog on searching, please share.  I’d love to be better at searching

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