Friday, February 2, 2007

SAP Active Global Support (AGS)

Have you ever created SAP OSS message and wondering how it has been processed? Have you been surprised when your message has been marked as “Send to SAP” then answered from somebody from Germany then set back to “Customer action” after you replied message was transferred to some other SAP support site at different continent because in Germany was nigh time?

So let’s image. It is Friday’s afternoon and you can’t wait for weekend to begin. Some SAP function people raised an issue, it looks like that it requires immediate attention of SAP. You raise “Very high” priority message on OSS. Message comes to AGS center which belongs to your region. Within the SAP AG group Active Global Support centers are organized in Global Support Centers (GSC). Most likely your customer message comes to GSC Ireland, in Dublin. This centre handles following regions: northern and central Europe and North America. Dublin’s GSC is a part of Primary Support this includes: GSC Austria for the German speaking countries, GSC Spain for southern Europe and Latin America, as well other units in Asia and Australia as well. Particular person in GSC responsible for the SAP module/component to which is your message related starts to process your message proceeding. As a first task this person controls completeness of your message like: component, priority, etc. Once very high message is received person makes phone call to customer and inform him about receiving and starting processing of message. As a part of message solving person analyze an issue, looks for relevant SAP notes which solves this issue if it is already known, search in knowledge base where similar problems are tracked, connects to customer SAP system via remote connection (you as a customer must enable this connection on SAP service portal) in order to reproduce the issue live in the system, seek up error in program via debugger, trying to adjust SAP standard coding to fix problem. If person is unable to resolve the problem because it as very application specific related to some sub module of SAP software message just will be rerouted to relevant support group which pays an attention to specific sub module to some Centers of Expertise (CoE) e.g. at Walldorf in Germany, Philadelphia USA. CoEs are involved in deep problem analyzing of very high customer messages. Application specialist in Walldorf analysis an issue and consider to change of coding. He needs to discus this issue with development specialist who directly developing particular functionality of SAP sub module. They contact each other through CoE chat room. Because of time – remember it is lately Friday’s afternoon they just agree on resolution – there must be change of coding. Physically change will be done by another colleague from India’s support centre. SAP is accompanying “follow the sun” principle.

The principle is based on exploiting the time difference between the GSC sites to extend services during times when a local site is closed. It takes place 3 times a day:

  • afternoon: Walldorf -> Philadelphia
  • night: from Philadelphia to India
  • next morning: India -> Walldorf

By usage of this principle SAP can assure that new messages processed/received 24x7 without interruption regardless of where the customer is located.

Colleague from Dublin and Philadelphia are gone home for weekend. India processor of message is implementing the change. He issues new SAP note with the solution of this particular problem. Customer is informed about this solution immediately via service support portal. This is only one particular example of customer message solving. A lot of different scenarios may happen in all kinds of computer problems. In such a cases SAP is suppose to cooperating with all involved/affected parties (hardware, operating system and database vendors) very closely in order to solve the issue.

SAP AGS organization is taking care of around 20.000 SAP customers with 64.500 SAP software installations across six continents. There are over 2.000 employees involved, over 40 countries and 6.000 developers serve as a backend. Their workload consists of solving more then: 800.000 customer messages per year, 34.000 service sessions (GoingLive Check, EarlyWatch Check), 1.500 onsite services (Safeguarding and Optimalization Services).

I think SAP support came a long way and the procedures and processes within are quite matured. A lot of SAP application management companies may take an insight to SAP AG’s AGS and take lessons learned.

There’s a nice blog related to SAP support topic at Homepage of SAP AGS is here.

In addition, here’s SAP’s classification of customer messages:

  • Very high - This priority is reserved exclusively for situations in which you production system is down or you intend to go live very soon and this issue will prevent your production system from going live.
  • High - Used for situations where there is a severe functionality loss but the system remains operational and processing can continue.
  • Medium - A program or functionality error has occurred but processing can still continue, or a non-business critical function is not performing properly.
  • Low - Request for service or information or a problem has been identified. Minor impact.


Anonymous said...

That's the theory ....

SAP support is not as great as shown here!

so weit die Theorie ....

SAP Support ist doch nicht so toll wie hier dargestellt!

Martin Maruskin said...

Hi Anonymous, Yes I can imagine that, experiencing any kind of support service might be sometimes painful.
Anyway seems to be that you are from German speaking in that case I would expect support should be better :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Sapper,

What is your opinion about SAP AGS CoE at SAP Labs, India.

would it be good for people who have 3 years experience?
What kind of roles do they play?

SAP NWDS said...

SAP Active Global Support adds value to any SAP solution by providing tailored support services that cover the complete solution, including interfaces with other systems.

SAP Active Global Support's processes hold ISO certification. Furthermore, SAP Active Global Support continuously measures its processes against SAP quality goals, such as the customer satisfaction survey, call closure average, and maximum processing time.

SAP Active Global Support includes processes for customer message solving and service delivery, as well as escalation management.

Anonymous said...

Good thinking only if SAP reply your issue in hours, but it took days to get the response from SAP. This is just a theory.