10 Reasons You Need SAP Preventive Maintenance vs Production Support
When I was I Water Well Driller, we used an old cable tool rig, a Stone Model 31. , My morning routine started out with a grease gun in hand, and a crawl around and up and down the rig, finding the grease fittings, and pumping in grease until it would ooze out from underneath whatever I was lubing. There wasn’t any precise measurement, just an eyeball gauge. Why did I do it, every single day? Because time is money. If the rig broke down, then it wasn’t making a hole in the ground. No hole, no money. This was why we did daily, preventive maintenance, and not just the morning grease job. We also had to constantly put oil on the steel cable that held the 20 foot long, solid steel, drill stem. The Drill Stem rotated each time it was lifted off the ground to make yet another striking cut against the rock we were drilling through. We also learned to listen to the sounds the rig made, as it told us how it was feeling.
Well Rig Image Courtesy of Creative Commons
SAP provides you with at least 2 types of automated support (and a solution for Well Drillers as it turns out), Going Live Checks and Early Watch Alerts. Both are used to alert to you problems with your system and to give you advice on how to fix them.
SAP Post Go-Live Support is normally provided by the implementer and can last from one month to 6 months or more. Stopping production support is just bad practice. We did not stop greasing the rig after 6 months, and you shouldn’t assume you can stop production support either. What do we recommend your on-going production support should include besides the on-going SAP Maintenance:
- Many customers actually fail to fully use their Early Watch Reports. We highly recommend you run the ones included with your maintenance support agreement and aggressively implement their fix recommendations.
- We frequently find that SAP BASIS refuses to implement either Early Watch Report recommendations or the Patches recommended by SAP. This is mal-practice and causes an incalculable number of avoidable, costly, problems.
- Preventive maintenance, though, goes far beyond these baseline practices. You must, in effect, look for the grease fittings and find out how to listen to your system.
- Advanced preventive maintenance includes evaluating user acceptance of your SAP system.
- Increase User Acceptance by:
Training and retraining (because new users are added and dropped all the time)
Seeing if they can truly do their job using SAP.
- Looking for opportunities to expand the SAP Business Process footprint beyond the original blueprint. Don’t forget to update your training when you do this.
- Look for ways to employ advanced analytics throughout the system. This is your ear to the ground on business processes.
- Establishing a proper data governance system. Bad data will drive users to alternative systems, i.e., reverting to manual systems. Remember, current estimates are that the U.S. economy loses $600,000,000,000.00 a year from bad data.
- Look for 3rd Party Add-On solutions that extend the useful and value of your system
- Ensure your Solution Manager fully reflects the current design of the solution as actually implemented.
Some of these do not appear to be preventive maintenance, at first. But our experience shows that they are part of an overall plan to make sure SAP is delivering what was promised, not just that it runs.
Lonnie D. Ayers, PMP
President, SAP BW Consulting, Inc.