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:
- Search before post using the SAP support portal
- It’s time to preview the new SAP support portal search – it’s not really new anymore
- Guidance for Question and answers – This will help you get started on the questions you are asking
- My rant about questions and answers – FROM 2007 by “Former Member” Read this one with a grain of salt. It’s hard to find the answers by searching
- SDN Forum Thoughts – this was when we had a point system. Really not a lot of help here,
- What happened to the morality of SDN members – written by . This is about the answers given. Tell me what do you think is it OK to copy and paste an answer? What if you give the original answer the credit? 2007 by “former member” I believe we had the point system back then.
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
I wanted to be able to create a program that would give me the same results as ODP for billing.
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
If you are searching for ODP and you type OPD then I assume will will find nothing … ?
Best Regards Roland
Totally right. I did start with SAP ODP. And no I didn’t find what I wanted.
Somedays searching just seems to take longer than others. <Sigh> My problem was finding the ABAP side of things. It had to be easier than I was making it. And yes, I think I typed OPD by accident a time or two.
Thanks for the clarification!
Hi Michelle Crapo
Indeed searching is really important before someone is posting.
You raised a question at the end of your blog how others are searching, and I just ran into Gabriel Felipe Coleti ‘s blog https://blogs.sap.com/2019/02/13/search-before-post-using-the-sap-support-portal/
So I thought I connect the dots. ?
Awesome - thank you. I really believe these two blogs compliment each other. Adding it to the blog itself.
SAP's search is definitely not worthy of a world class software company.
A particularly amusing example just today. I often search for workflow, and help.sap.com decides I'm interested in Treasury Management or something equally oblique. But when I was looking for some details on Transport of Copies, I got this:
At first I thought there must be a cruel AI behind this, figuring out that I'searched for workflow topics in the past, but no it does the same in an anonymous browser session.
Sigh. Yes, I don't use this search at all. I'm amazed that the SAP Support search works so well. (OSS for me - yup I've used it that long) So if it works well... Why can't??
Sorry - got distracted for a moment. Searching for answers - google is usually my friend. It's my first stop. Really when you think about it google is all about finding things. If it didn't do it well, none of us would use it. So it better have world class software.
HA! like the workflow reference. It should end up in coffee corner. We sure see some funny things there.