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Creating Effective Customer Incidents for Employee Central Payroll Customers

The purpose of this article, is to give you some tips to make your incidents more effective. Based on my own experience as an HCM SAP Support Engineer and from my perspective, I will focus in some aspects that particularly affect ECP customers and include some interesting links.
(*) ECP or Employee Central Payroll is a SAP hosted environment based on SAP On-Premise Payroll Engine. ECP obtains the employees’ Master Data that are necessary to run the Payroll from Employee Central (Success Factors). Employee Central is the system where Master Data are recorded in their corresponding portlets (or via Mashups). Payroll relevant data (Infotypes) is regularly replicated to ECP, via Point-to-Point Integration. In an ECP system, you have to stick to the standard, not allowing modifications (repair). Customer Payroll Functions and Operations are allowed as well as Badi implementations. More detail can be found at the Employee Central Payroll Scope Description

Before creating an incident:

  • Check there is not an already available fix for your issue. You can search for notes from your launchpad or use the magic Automated Notes Search Tool (ANST transaction). You can find more info about ANST in the following KBA 1818192 – FAQ: Automated Note Search Tool (ANST). Setting up ANST requires some easy configuration but it’s worth it, and our operations team can help you setting it up. SAP also provides consulting notes, called kbas, which can be searched from the launchpad. KBAs explain how to solve specific issues that are caused by a wrong configuration. KBAs do not contain abap code.
  • Make sure you have understood how the product is designed to work. SAP Online help will help you in this task. For ECP, the following guide has useful information about different topics, such as PTP replication and Payroll Control Center. The Payroll functionality is similar in ECP and OnPrem systems and can be checked here: Payroll Other Countries (PY-XX) – initial page
  • If the application behavior is the intended one, but you wish a different approach or some additional features, note 11-Would you like to shape & influence future releases of SAP Products? explains what to do.
  • If you you have a “how-to” question, you can ask it at our communities (before having searched whether the same question had been asked in the past).
  • ECP stands for Employee Central Payroll: Speaking about payroll, we get hundreds of incidents every year, asking questions about their own payroll calculation which could be avoided with some technical skills on customer side. The following kba explains how to debug the payroll driver: 1818219 – Debugging the payroll Schema. In this kba I give you my experience of many years dealing with payroll calculation issues.

SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central Payroll (Cloud)

Once you have decided to report the incident to SAP:

  • Consider reporting your issue using the Expert Chat tool. It’s faster than an incident for short questions and allows multiple interactions in real time. Still most complex issues require a traditional incident.
  • Choose the appropriate component. Component for an incident is as important as the address in a letter. Read the following article for some tips:  More about creating effective incidents (choose the right component!)
    • If you send your incident to a component that is not the appropriate one, the receiving team will realize that what you are reporting does not belong to their area of expertise and they will send it to the right area of expertise (component), but if the queue for the component that you selected first is busy, several days might pass until your incident is redirected. So you may save up to several days by choosing the right component when you create your incidents
    • In an ECP system, every ABAP object belongs to a component which you can determine. You can use program RSSTATUS or transaction CODE SE80. If you get a dump, you will find the relevant component in the dump header.
    • SAP Notes and KBas always have a component so If the issue relates to a kba or SAP Notes, it makes sense to assign the same component to your incident.
    • If you have submitted similar incidents in the past, the final component under which they were processed will give you a hint as to which component should be the appropriate one.
    • Use the Support Assistant, wherein a pop up is prompted  during the creation incident creation.
      SA is an interactive tool that proposes useful information to the customer and collects useful information from the customer to SAP Support.
      One of the features of this tool is that the right component is automatically proposed by the tool.
  • If your incident has to be sent to the operations team e.g. “apply HR SP”, “Client Copy Request” etc…, you may select the new component LOD-EC-GCP-PY-OPS which will directly send your ticket to ops.
  • Select the right instalation number and system id: In case we at SAP Support, need to connect to your system, we take for granted that the system to which we have to connect is the one that you specified when you opened your incident. Once you have opened an incident, it is not possible to change it anymore.
    • If the issue can be reproduced in several systems, please choose a test or development system instead of the production system, where SAP Support Engineers can test without compromising production/real data.
    • Tip: Find out which is the system id from your ECP system by clicking on system -> status, from the menu above on your screen.
    • Indicate your back end system, that is your ECP system (*), consists of system id (3 letters) and client (3 digits).
    • Indicate your front end system:
      • If the relevant front end is a PCC (Payroll Control Center) system, we can jump to PCC from EC. You can provide us with access to your EC system by indicating:
      • Another option to provide access to your PCC system, that only works for ECP customers is to indicate the correspònding system id and client and provide the credentials for the PCC user. Although we, SAP Suppport engineers can open ECP systems on our own and get our own back end credentials, those credentials for PCC are specific for PCC and have to be explicitely indicated (But never in the incident itself, please: Use the logon depot to store credentials in those cases it is strictly necessary to do it)
    • It’s often the case that SAP Support needs to connect simulaneously to 2 systems. However when you open an incident, just one system can be selected:
      • Warning: If both systems, back end and front end are involved and both belong to the same installation -which I believe is the normal case-, SAP Support engineers will be able to access to both systems. Otherwise, an additional incident may be needed to enable accesing both systems, as they belong to different installation.
  • Select the appropriate priority for the incident (SAP Note 67739)
    • For Very High and High customer incidents you need to fill in the business impact. All questions need to be answered or otherwise the processor might adjust the priority if the reported business impact does no justify the selected priority.
    • Selecting Very High priority does not necessarily mean you will get a better support. Very High implies that we are commited to be available 24×7 and likewise, customer must be available at any time (24 hours a day / 7 days a week). An incident with priority VH often has to be handed over every time the shift changes which means that probably the processor of the incident will be changed every 8 hours.
    • But do not select a priority that is lower than the severity of the issue. I recently processed an “medium” incident  that was suddenly closed after less than 2 days opened upsetly stating that “It was too late”. He had not chosen the appropriate priority…So please be accurate with the priority: Do not overcategorize and do not undercategorize. And beyond the chosed category, be explicit about the urgency, criticallity, severity, business impact and due date, in the event there is such.
  • Describing your problem:
    • Add step by step description including navigation, screenshots to reproduce the incidence and description of expected results. Hint: instead of attaching several single pics, one single document i.e. ms word or pdf, with the description and screenshots embedded makes reading easier. Sometimes, incidents end up having dozens of unconnected attached files and it might become tricky to handle such “library”.
    • Whenever there is an error message, please include not only the error text (In English,please) but the error technical code, which can be obtained by double clicking in the error message. Example.
      • “Maximum aantal personeelsnummers is bereikt” ❌
      • RP 057 / RP057: “Maximum number of personnel numbers reached” ✔
    • Whenever it applies, please create and provide us with variants: A selection screen may consist of dozens of fields that have to be manually filled which is a error prone process. Even if you are showing in a screenshot how the selection screen has to be filled, a variant will rule out typing errors and will save time, making sure we are correctly reproducing the issue.
    • Try to limit trhe usage of jargon. What is called “BACS” in the UK, is called “Direct deposit” in the US, but in SAP application we call it DME.
    • Explain what you have done before to solve the issue: Notes and kbas search, SAP documentation, debugging.
  • Always include your contact details (phone, email address, possible contact via Skype). If more than one people are involved, include the contacts of all the stackholders. This is specially important if you use generic s-users. By the way, please try not to use generic s-users so that we can use the contact details of the s-user. Moreover, please make sure the s-user contact details are real and up to date.
  • Don’t take things for granted. Please take into account we deal with hundreds of differents customers every year. So if you tell me: “connect to our quality or sandbox system”: I may not know which system ID and client corresponds to your “quality” or “sandbox”. Similarly, if you say “run payroll driver”, we may not know which payroll driver country version you are referring to. It’s obvious for you, not for me. I may figure it our by the context. And so forth.
  • And please, unless it is strictly necessary (justify why), do not attach you internal emails with internal discussions to incidents. In know long stories may be tedious to summarize but: Not only because other people’s conversations are not a proper way of describing an issue. You often see in those emails the sentence “It is intended for the addressee only” so why should such an email be attached to an incident.
  • Speed up an incident: If you feel an incident is stucked and/or you would like to speak with the current processor, you may call our Customer Interaction Center – SAP. They will put you through.
  • Please report one subject per incident:
    • This is what SAP Support Engineers expect.
    • Different issues may need the involvement of different teams and/or different organizational levels. Different incidents can be processed in parallel by different engineers: You will save time observing our policy Note 50048 Several questions reported in one message
    • Once the original subject is solved, please do not use the same incident to bring up a new subject. Then the incident becomes a mess where the real subject cannot be clearly identified and it gives the feeling that the incident is never solved. Working in an Organized way is key to success.
    • But please do not submit several incidents for one subject. If you need to change priority, you may call our Customer Interaction Center 
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