SAP PI: The Importance of Monitoring One’s Business

SAP professionals as well as business consultants have a great role in building a formidable business. While SAP professionals like developers works on the technical side of a business,  there are times where the problem can never be solved by the SAP developer. The requirements may not be clear which is sent to the developer or the software was not tested properly.

Nevertheless, there are two challenges in checking of SAP to one’s business. The technical error and the business error. When we speak of the technical error, it involves about mapping and configuration settings of PI. If these two fails this can also result to failure of communication. For instance, we would like to send a message to a vendor say, “Mr. Smith”.(I’m referring to the data input) and is not appearing on the configuration and mapping settings, tendency is an error message will appear and the message won’t be sent.

For PI, there are also business errors that result to failure of business communication. It can be a communication barrier between the SAP Developers and Business Consultants. Direct communication on both parties are important to meet the standards for PI in a business perspective. In monitoring PI, business consultants and SAP developers should work hand in hand to ensure that the configuration and mapping are in set especially when testing software is being conducted.

For SAP developers and business consultants, SAP PI has a long way to go.

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GSIG for SAP PI Survey for 2012

As a member of the Global Special Interest Groups (GSIG) for SAP PI. We are now working on new SAP products that will help you on your SAP PI Landscape. We are now conducting two surveys. The first one is almost completed and the other survey is on the process of completion. The purpose of two surveys is to gather information to help us build better products for SAP PI.

General survey: http://svy.mk/LYLOmA with focus on near Zero Downtime (Closing End of June). This survey is about what the current status about SAP PI.

PI Requirements Prioritization: http://bit.ly/JpUbBc (Closing soon). This survey is about a prioritization of a large list of requirements. Hopefully you will be able to get your ideas for improvement in the release.

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SAP PI How To Gather Requirements For SAP PI

There are certain situations where a client and contractor may encounter a failed work. As a SAP freelancer, thorough communication and gathering important details for a SAP Project is very crucial so that the end result would be a win-win for both parties. I just remembered a story wherein I was working a project for a client and I misunderstood the requirements that they wanted to achieved.

And so I had to go back to my work and discuss details to them and I found it is not what they are looking. I began to clarify and asked them what they really wanted for their site. It was a search functionality that they were after and the more I probe. They had additional specifications.

Now I learned that working for a SAP client, you need to ask every question you need to ask for you and the client to be on the same page. Normally, asking the nature of their business and processes what they want to implement. Like for example if they want search capability for their site. I could have easily looked on my site at piarchitecture.com for what they have needed since I created some templates and documentations.

Again it is very important to gather and understand information. Critical thinking is a must when it comes to SAP PI projects. As I go along the way of my journey, I will carry this experience and improve my approach in terms of working to client’s specification for future SAP projects.

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Skills for the SAP PI developer in 2012

In late December 2011 I performed a survey to learn how people see their skills in the SAP PI space. There were 40 respondents on the survey, which gave a good indication of some trends. But I don’t think it has statistical significance, it is way too long time I have had statistics to remember how to calculate it.

Watch the video to get a commentary on the results.

I wanted to learn what people found most important, and also where they saw they needed to improve in 2012. I did have some areas that I expected to be interesting. I got the following responses.

Topic Now Want to learn
Adapter usage

27

7

B2B setup

11

12

BPM and BPMN

19

18

Business understanding

19

11

Development methodology

17

8

Edifact/X12 mapping

10

13

IDOC

25

6

Java mappings

17

16

Mappings

31

6

Module development

9

16

Naming Convention

16

4

Project participation

17

7

Proxy / Enterprise SOA

22

12

XSL mappings

11

10

Grand Total

251

149

 

I have highlighted those areas that I find most interesting and people voted for.

Almost everybody said that adapters and mappings are most important to know, and not a lot wanted to learn it. I do agree that you cannot make anything if you don’t how to use the adapter or mappings. There must be some threshold where you need to have your skills regarding adapters. You need to know those adapters that you are using, and then it is not difficult to learn new adapters. It is much similarly with graphical mappings, the basic concepts of it is quite difficult to understand, but when you get there you can move easy.

The BPM and BPMN are quite high also. This is something that people want to learn in this coming year. I have an idea that we do not get to use the tools often enough to become used to ccBPM. I think that you can be a good SAP PI developer, without using BPM. It is not a lot of use cases where it makes sense to have them. A skill is also to know when to use BPM and when not to. I would though recommend that you practice when you have the chance.

Of upcoming things it looks like the module development and java mappings is excellent examples on where we can improve our skills. I guess that I will make sense to make some courses in this perspective to make people learn how to use the tools much better.

The naming conventions are also quite important for people, but it is not something that they want to learn more about. I guess this was something that I should have known before I created my naming convention program last year. I would though still think that it is something that people could use.

Proxy and Enterprise SOA is also a hot topic to be good at. I don’t know if the two topics should have been split, it would probably have made sense. It is two different skills that you need to acquire to use them. Proxy is the technical part where E SOA is the business part.

There were also free text fields to get the input that I forgot.

Other skill that is important is to be able to understand the flow of the processes involved. It makes it easier to understand if you know something about the lingo and know why the business wants something.

ABAP has mentioned by a lot of people. I think it is quite true, it becomes much easier if you can do a little ABAP around proxys or idoc extensions.

One of the big items that I forgot was the troubleshooting and monitoring aspects. Every pi developer needs to take his terms in supporting a running PI solution. We all need to be good at the support part, if we want to serve our clients or employer’s.

One take away from it is that the last 2 weeks before Christmas is not a good time, if you want to have a lot of comments. I guess that it is something; I’ll take into consideration next year.

The winners of the survey has been notified.

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