Improve SAP Solution Manager Reporting Capabilities by Using Your Own Custom Document Attributes

  • by D. Russell Sloan, Implementation and Governance Specialist — SAP Solution Manager, IBM Global Business Services
  • October 6, 2011
Just when you thought you had your documentation housed in an orderly fashion, someone from the business comes in and asks you if you can provide them with a list of all the documents related to an earlier release or a list of all the process documents that have process touch points with Warehouse Management. Discover how the use of the Document Management Workbench can enhance the metadata stored in the Knowledge Warehouse for your documents. Learn how to add custom attributes without having to do any custom coding, or even needing a developer key. See how leveraging the existing data structure of the transaction SOLAR_EVAL reports in SAP Solution Manager can provide you with a host of additional attributes without augmenting the Data Dictionary.
Key Concept
Although SAP Solution Manager provides a myriad of tools, attributes, filters, and search capabilities that can cover a great many project document management needs, project-specific information almost always needs to be used as selection or filter criteria for reporting. This project-specific information can be housed in attributes on your documents. SAP Solution Manager provides some attributes (e.g., keywords and person responsible), but your project may need more attributes to store and report on your project deliverables. SAP Solution Manager’s use of the Knowledge Warehouse (KW) gives you access to the Document Modeling Workbench (DMWB). Using this tool, you can add virtually any type of additional attributes to documents in the KW.

At the onset of any project, I encourage the project management team to hold a project work management brainstorming session. In this session, I ask them to try to imagine (or remember) all the different ways the business could ask to report on solution documentation. This session may seem like an exercise in encouraging a blank-check mentality, but when it comes to enabling features in SAP Solution Manager, it has an important purpose.

The point of the exercise is to anticipate what kind of metadata or attributes you need to store on the project documents to be able to report and manage the solution documentation content to meet the business needs. Additionally, you can identify better ways to manage work by grouping deliverables. For example, many projects are deployed in waves or releases. You can assign these two common attributes to documents to help manage work and monitor progress. Other commonly used attributes are key milestone planning dates, team or functional groupings, business criticality or business value attributes, and information relating to how a particular document might relate to systems or processes outside of SAP systems.

The use of custom attributes is a feature in SAP Solution Manager that allows you to go beyond simple keywords. By defining your own custom attributes you are actually extending the reporting capability of SAP Solution Manager. Virtually all the SAP Solution Manager reports support the use of custom attributes in selection screens or as filters in output lists. Consequently, you can build execution and layout variants for team members and leaders to build custom work lists for the subset of documents each person needs.

The technique I describe was originally developed in SAP Solution Manager 4.0 on Support Package 12. As I move through the details, I point out the differences between SAP Solution Manager 7.0 Support Package 19 and SAP Solution Manager 7.1 Support Package 2, which are the two systems I used when updating this procedure. As always, it’s important that you understand the key components involved, and I talk about them in the next section.

D. Russell Sloan

D. Russell Sloan is a specialist in project and program governance for IBM. He focuses on the use of SAP Solution Manager for global rollout projects for IBM’s largest customers, having worked with SAP software since 1996. Russell has degrees in accounting and information systems and has been a team and project leader for SAP projects for more than 14 years. He has been developing and deploying software systems for over 30 years.

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