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Author's profile photo Robin Haettich

SAP Intelligent Operations Control Center Topics and Examples (Part V)

Previous articles describe the Operations Control Center (OCC) as an integral part of SAP’s best practice operational model for IT organizations. Examples of advanced topics and applications relevant in and for the Operations Control Center can e.g. be found in part 1 (Robotic Process Automation), part 2 (Conversational Artificial Intelligence), part 3 (Intelligent Operations Analytics), and part 4 (Simplified Process Monitoring) of this article series.

Intelligent Usage of Data and Information in the Operations Control Center ‎

Any IT organization consumes data and information to govern and manage information technology. This includes not only IT infrastructure and systems, what the OCC refers to as system landscape, but also encompasses IT supported and enabled business processes, called the solution landscape. Moreover, the Operations Control Center requires transparency about the perceived overall quality of IT services provided to its internal stakeholders, IT ecosystems, and especially customers. Hence, the author provides in this part of the article series an example of using experience management for Operations Control Center (OCC) for that purpose.

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Experience Management

The Operations Control Center needs to understand how its users and its customers, the business endusers, are feeling about the services the OCC provides. This is essential to be able to deliver continuously improved and personalized experiences. Similar to business processes, there is often a disparity between how the Operations Control Center ownership and management (including technical administrators and configurations of the technical operations platforms and applications) thinks its users, i.e. its operators, and endusers perceive its services and how they actually do.

Operational data (O) like monitored objects’ metrics, rated metrics, key figures, events, alerts show what is happening in your system and solution landscape. The OCC also welcomes experience data (X) to understand the perception and satisfaction of the people involved in its tasks and services as well as its endusers and how these perceptions and emotions evolve. Experience management (XM) combines X-data and O-data. By collecting experience data at meaningful touchpoints, the OCC (or any IT team and function for that matter) can analyze and understand experience gaps and determine what to do about them.

Using Experience Management in Operations Control Center

Experience data (X) combined with operational data (O) enables an experience management (XM) 4 IT, respectively for the OCC. Three examples shall illustration the potential of experience management to boost efficient and effective operations.

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  • For the Event Management et al., experience management helps to identify pain points in and improvement potential for monitoring scope and alert reaction,
  • For the IT Service Management et al., experience management helps to get feedback on the incident resolution and support processes,
  • For the Continuous Improvement et al., experience management helps to assess and progress provided solutions and improved services. 

An example of using experience management for the event management process is outlined below. As usual in this article series, the example focusses on illustration and motivation rather than completeness and sophistication.

Designing the Survey

The Operations Control Center designs feedback surveys using an experience management software like Qualtrics XM. In the example below, a micro survey for alert resolution procedures is created. It contains a few questions the answers to which help the OCC to improve on the overall event management process experience of the operators.

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After the questions of the feedback survey are maintained, the survey triggers and distributions are defined. The example below uses email and web as distribution.

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Finally, the feedback survey is previewed and activated.

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Surveying the Pulse

The Operations Control Center relies on user-feedback to improve its services, i.e. the monitoring, alerting, analytics and reporting, as well as dashboards and root cause analysis procedures (RCA). In order to get as many surveys as possible sent back to the OCC, the survey is made available in different contexts and UIs. In the example below, the feedback survey for alert resolution procedures is executable from the Alert Description and Analysis assignment block of the Alert Inbox, e.g. in SAP Solution Manager. The operators can execute the alert resolution, and thereafter execute the survey to provide instant feedback.

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The alert resolution procedures, which are also known as standard operating procedures (SOP), and the alert resolution surveys can also be triggered from alert notifications alternatively, e.g. email notifications, which are received by the operator or processor subscribed to the alert.

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Operations Control Center organizations and processes which are utilizing the Guided Procedure Application, e.g. in SAP Solution Manager or SAP Focused Run or equivalent, provide a step and activity for alert resolution feedback and final alert confirmation in guided procedures created for and associated with corresponding alert types. This is specifically recommended if the guided procedure concept and framework is already used, in which case it provides a governed and controlled context and environment to get feedback surveys offered at the right point in time in the event management process and to (soft or hard) enforce their completion.

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In instances where Conversational AI concepts and applications are used, i.e. in AIOps or ChatOps environments, as outlined in this Intelligent Operations Control Center article, the feedback survey is launched from the Conversational AI user interface. In the example below the SAP Conversational Artificial Intelligent provides the platform for the event management process and the operators work on alerts, read and write feedback, and get and set status information utilizing a chat user experience. Naturally, Conversational AI can also integrate the feedback survey into the chat interface, i.e. providing the answers to the questions via chat itself, instead of just launching the survey in the chat.

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In any of the examples above, the alert confirmation offers a classification and categorization scheme to provide further ex-post information about the alert. The operator provides a comment that a survey feedback has been provided and selects a corresponding reason. This alert confirmation information is available in the Operations Control Center’s event management analysis and reporting.

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Providing the Answers

The operators get the feedback survey presented in context and answer the questions. The example starts with the question, which alert the feedback is provided for. The example is kept simple expecting a manual entry via text field.

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The operators select the satisfaction with the alert reaction experience using radio buttons.

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The operators select the area and scope of suggested improvement using check boxes.

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Which concludes this short feedback survey. The replies are persisted in the experience management application used.

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Visualizing the Results

Experience management applications like Qualtrics XM provide analytics and reports to visualize and consume feedback results. The feedback survey example outlined in this article asks three questions. The answers can be displayed and analyzed; actions can be executed for each survey response.

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Visualizations support the quick identification of improvement potential, e.g. word clouds or tag clouds or other charts/types.

A word cloud like the one below would indicate that the alert type content and/or configuration activated for Outbound Delivery processing require action.

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A row chart, choice count, and donut chart like the ones below would outline a general sentiment of dissatisfaction with the alert type content or configuration. Specifically, 5 of 7 survey responses show slightly to extremely unsatisfied operators.

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A row chart and stacked bar chart like the ones below would show the main causes for the perceived suboptimal quality of alerts, i.e. that the alert threshold settings, alert resolution procedures, and alert resolution automation requires improvement.

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Analytics and reports in the Experience Management application are then used by the OCC management and leadership to identify, prioritize, and implement improvement potential. Feel free to refer to the articles in the further reading section to learn about how to improve the Operations Control Center.

Further reading

Aspects and Perspectives of the Intelligent Operations Control Center

Intelligent Operations Control Center – Topics and Examples Part I

Intelligent Operations Control Center – Topics and Examples Part II

Intelligent Operations Control Center – Topics and Examples Part III

Intelligent Operations Control Center – Topics and Examples Part IV

Machine Learning Extension for Operations Control Center (dynamic thresholding, anomaly detection, etc.)

SAP Solution Manager

SAP Solution Manager – Simplified Business Process Monitoring (7.2 SP10)

SAP Solution Manager – Solution Documentation (7.2 SP10)

SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation

SAP Business Technology Platform

SAP Focused Insights

SAP Cloud ALM

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