Sunday, 14 June 2009

It's a lovely day...

....for sitting in the sun, maybe move into the shade a bit later, and share some bread & wine with the family and just generally enjoy a very pleasant weekend. Maybe a barbecue on Sunday?

However, part of the time I've spent doing some SAP related work. I discovered a minor issue on one of the servers - not enough to cause a big problem, but I want to try to eliminate any of these little errors before we go live - I think that we'll have enough to do once we achieve liftoff.

Now the actual SAP global support people are pretty good for the most part - the method of reporting errors is a bit of a pain at times, but once you get someone on the case, they've shown that they can get things done. So far, they've managed to fix almost all of the issues that I've raised - the biggest problem I see is trying to identify the correct function area for the problem to be listed under and they can be a bit sharp with you if you enter the wrong data.

On this occasion, it's actually been passed through 3 different support people - as each one has looked at it, they've suggested that the problem is caused by something different. The last one has asked me to carry out yet another set of upgrades. As has been indicated, my staff and I have had very little real training and the instructions that we received were so vague that they proved to be of little value. I have however been given the email address of a guy in Germany that is prepared to help - he writes / speaks pretty good English (a good job as Ich verstehe nur ein bission Deutche!)

The information that he provided for how to download and carry out the upgrades was not perfect - however, after reading and checking the information carefully, I have been able to use it to work out the correct procedure. I've also been able to create my own training document on how to do this specific task so any of my guys could do it if I'm not available. For me it's important that we don't rely on any single person's knowledge - it's too risky and I've seen companies that suffered because they were stuck when a key employee left them.

So on Friday, I managed to get the test system upgraded to the latest relase of the kernel. I actually am quite surprised that it went so well - prevously, the work was done by one of the basis people from the consultants and we had all sorts of problems both during and after the work was done. On this occasion, the update worked so well, that I just couldn't believe it. I literally spent about an hour trying to find a problem before I was prepared to think that maybe it had completed successfully. I then carried out the upgrade on the other systems after everyone had finished for the day and by late on Friday, it was all done. Subsequently, I carried out a system transport of the use role profiles. Again, it all went quite well, so we can start Monday with a freshly patched system.

Now this may not seem like a big deal - for many people, patching and updates are a pretty simple process and one that most users don't see too much of. Within the company, we run an automated patching solution for all of the PCs and servers that takes care of the OS, the productivity suite, and most of the other software products we use and that has saved time and money over the years. It also ensures that as far as possible, we are protected against malware - an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

But for me, the ability to be able to this work without having to rely on the outside consultants is a major step forward. I don't think that I can understate just how much better that makes me feel - stupid I know, but having been thru such a long process with so many problems and so many failed areas, this is a real achievement even if it is such a small success. Now this doesn't mean that finally all is well - I wish! But at this point in time, I'm prepared to take anything positive that I can find and use.

So now, the work is done - time to relax and feel good about having finally achieved something positive. Now if we could just get the rest of it working the same way.....


BTW, I see that I have a couple more followers - welcome to you all. I hope that you enjoy reading my comments, and find them of some value. I will keep on writing as things happen; I think that we are now pretty committed to going live later this year (but more on that next time) and I will continue to detail what happens after the big event. So keep watching...

1 comment:

  1. Have a nice sunday! Here near Geneva it's sunny. We already had a barbecue with the family.