new product, support helper to SAP PI/PO/PRO

I’m happy now.

The reason? I’m finally ready to share my newest creation with you! It is something that I have been spending some of my spare time on during the past few months.
Meet my POSupport tool

I have created Figaf POSupport because I saw that a lot of customers were not handling errors well in their SAP PI/PO systems. They had configured the Component-Based Message Alerting and were getting a lot of errors to their mailboxes, but they were not doing anything with them, because it was difficult to process the alerts, to figure out what the alerts were referring to, and to understand why they happened.

SAP Support Tool -POSupport

SAP Support Tool -POSupport

The POSupport tool can help you organize alerts, while assisting you in the processing phase. You can easily define rules with Xpath, which categorizes the alerts that occur. In the rule you have various options:
You can define an email concerning the solution to an issue, which should be sent to the support organization. This rule could be a great place to store your knowledge about the repeated errors that occur.
You can mark the message as canceled, so you don’t have to deal with it anymore
You can re-send messages that had problems caused by adapter errors; the messages will be re-sent every 30 minutes, until they can be processed when the system is up again

You also get a tracking function of the alerts that occur in your system; using the tracking function, you can update the status of the alerts, along with how they are handled.

There is a 30-day free trial that you can download, and get started with. My guess is that it will take you 1 hour to install and configure. It should make you see howPOSupport works.

This is the first version of the tool, so there are still more features that I would like to add. After trying it, you will probably have your own ideas on what it should contain. Please, let me know what you think: what could be improved? What should be added to it? I would like to add some reporting capabilities, so you can get an overview of how well you perform tasks.

I know that a big question you have is related to the cost of the tool. I wanted to keep the price low to get a higher user adoption rate, so the price will be 3000$/2500€. It is not a big investment – just think how many hours you could otherwise be spending on alerts.

I want to get a lot of customers to try this tool, so I can add more functionality. Until the 31st of October, POSupport will be sold at half price.

You can find out more about my POSupport tool, and see video presentations of it at

SAP PI/PO Learning survey is out

The responses to the survey were finally compiled into a comprehensive report. Reading and interpreting people’s answers were enjoyable activities.SAP PI PO learning survey

I am glad that I can announce the availability of this survey – and the availability of its results. The report can be found at this link: http://picourse.com/learningsurvey/

The survey took place in March 2015. The 139 respondents answered questions related to their career in the field of SAP XI/PI/PO development. They let us take a peek into the beginnings of their careers. These professionals were ready to share the details of their SAP learning experiences. Their answers have clearly shown that a true professional never stops evolving.

There are several methods of learning SAP XI/PI/PO. Most people turn to a course in order to receive the basic information they need, and to understand the platform’s characteristics. Of course, these courses can vary greatly. Some choose standard classroom SAP courses, while others opt for online courses. On the other hand, consulting companies prefer organizing in-house courses.

Another method involves a professional collaboration with a mentor. The guidance of a more experienced developer can make a huge difference in the SAP XI/PI/PO learning process. One of the priorities of the survey was establishing whether sharing ideas with fellow developers can greatly influence the learning process.

Another key aspect that was approached by the survey is the amount of time required by a developer to become completely independent as an SAP professional. The survey has shown that most developers feel confident only after a period of 1-2 years. An SAP course might not be enough by itself – there’s always room for improvement and mentorship is a very good approach to acquiring SAP skills.

Another topic was the issue of continuous learning. I found out that ⅔ of developers review their work, one way or another. That’s quite a large number, and it also correlates with the size of the developer’s organization. The bigger your organization, the more likely it is that you review your solutions.

You can get the report on how people have learned SAP PI here:

http://picourse.com/learningsurvey/

 

Announcing Short-Term Consulting and Easy Booking Services!

I wish to announce an innovative addition to my services, which is short-term booking. This new service will allow you to book me for one or two-hour sessions, during which I will help you solve any issues.

 

The idea came to me quite recently. I was trying to book a hotel room, but I couldn’t figure out which hotels had available rooms (not unless I inquired by phone or e-mail, wasting time I didn’t have). That was the moment when it hit me: my customers cannot book me really easily, either. While I cannot change tourism practices, I can make a positive change in my own business, therefore I am determined to make it easier for customers to book me for a number of small projects.

 

The improvement to the service is pretty simple. In order to book me, you just need to follow the link provided via e-mail and select the desired package. After clicking on your preferred option (‘1 hour’, ‘2 hours’ or ‘24/7, 2 hours’), you will be able to see my calendar and choose the right time for our appointment. After selecting the time of the appointment from the available working hours listed on my calendar, you will have to pay for the services using your credit card. As soon as the payment is processed, you will receive an invitation to an online meeting. The meeting will take place at the time you selected. You will be able to share your desktop via GoToMeeting and I will help you solve the issue at hand.

The first 30 minutes of our collaboration are crucial: if you feel that I haven’t provided enough value for your money within the first 30 minutes – if you are able to objectively state that you haven’t got any closer to the right solution – you are entitled to request a refund. Bear in mind that if I am unable to deliver the help you need, your payment will be reimbursed.

 

The service can be used for problem solving, mapping, feedback or design-related issues. That being said, if you want someone to help you figure out how to do a specific integration, then this is the right service for you.

With the introduction of the new booking function comes a special offer too: I am offering a 50% discount on standard services. The offer lasts until the end of April.

http://figaf.com/products/sap-pipo-assistance/

I am also offering a 24/7 support service – you call me, and I start solving your problem within 2 hours. If I am unable to make it, you can ask for a reimbursement or a rescheduled appointment.


You can read more about my services and their comparison on this website.

Your SAP PI/PO Proxy Setup

You need to have a proxy to handle your set-up.

 

1. It will enable switching to a new PI server.

a. SAP PO migration: You want to be able to move to a new server. You cannot move everything at once, so you have to do it one interface at a time.

b.  High reliability system: You want to be able to quickly switch the SOAP server to point to the other server. You may have multiple instances of a PI/PO system; and may be wanting to decide which of the instances to use now.

 

2. You want flexibility to change the endpoint

 

3. Use a different port from the one you normally would (http://50000)

 

4. Create a separate DNS (Domain Name System) name

 

5. Use SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)

 

6. Update the endpoint – see SAP https://websmp230.sap-ag.de/sap/support/notes/1583506

 

7. Use a web dispatcher, Apache reverse proxy or hardware box to dispatch calls to PI
SOAP Proxy setup
If you already have a standard set-up where you are using the PI’s http port for SOAP traffic, then you have to do some workarounds. You will still have to use that port. You can change the ICM/Web Dispatcher script to forward some of the SOAP calls to the new server you have. It may not be the best way of doing it, but it is feasible. When everything has been moved to the new server, you will be able to create a new proxy server on the old PI server domain name. After this step, you will be able to use that domain name for the new system.

By having a reverse proxy in front of your SAP PI/PO system, you will be able to handle requests. It will always be possible to change the requests to point to the newer server, based on some rules defined by you.

 

 

 

 

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Forcing the Use of SAP PI/PO

notebook against colour background with images


One of my colleagues has recently approached me with a question: what happens if the customer doesn’t want the use of the PI system for certain scenarios? We usually stick to the idea that communication needs to be done directly through the PI system – but should consultants force the use of PI for every scenario?

 

In a PI scenario there is a pass-through (no mapping) interface at work. One of its requirements is that all connections go through the SAP system. The main advantage of this comes from the fact that monitoring becomes easier. You are able to see what RFC (Remote Function Call) calls are made and what load processes are taking place. If you know everything that is happening, working on the architecture also becomes easier. You also have the ability to execute the reprocessing of failed messages (asynchronous messages).

 

The PI system also makes it easier for clients to execute a call. They can use an SOAP service to call the system and there is no need to use other protocols. Load balancing is also allowed by the PI system, limiting the number of concurrent calls to the back end. In the case of long duration calls, this can make the ERP system less loaded. If several systems are used, it is easiest to use PI and move the processes from this system to multiple other systems.

 

Now let’s discuss the possible drawbacks of the exclusive use of PI. Obviously, a major drawback is the single point of failure. If the PI system is down, nothing works. This can cause some organizational problems. On the flip side, there is only one system that needs to be maintained.

 

Extra development work is also needed – you need to find solutions for various issues and develop new scenarios (this is good news for consultants, who are kept busy). Needless to say, performance RFC threads will put some extra load on the system and costs will rise if all requests are sent through the PI system. You might also have a problem with too many threads running at the same time. If that’s the case, you will need to do some performance tuning. If you need to do some changes in the area of RFC calls, you will find that changing the endpoint is a rather easy task to complete.


When developing, you should be able to tell whether in some cases the same architecture should be used. As a professional, you have to figure out the ideal solution for every situation. You also need to allow businesses to say ‘no’ to use the PI system for some scenarios.

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