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Nearly every SAP customer who operates an SAP BW or SAP APO system encounters one main challenge - how to control and monitor BW Process Chains?! The definition of Process Chains is normally directly performed with the help of standard BW transactions like RSPC. The scheduling of the Process Chains is then usually also performed directly from within BW. Some customers schedule their Process Chains via external scheduling tools like SAP Central Process Scheduling by Redwood. Then perhaps comes the "toughest" part: How to monitor those Process Chains, especially if you have several hundred or even thousand Process Chains running per day?

Old and new monitoring capabilities for BW Process Chains

At least the most important, i.e. most business critical, Process Chains should be monitored and in case of a problem a solution has to be found as fast as possible. What monitoring alternatives have been available in the past?

  • Manual monitoring via transaction RSPC or RSPCM. A very time-consuming way of monitoring and especially for complex chains it is nearly impossible to keep an overview. Further, the defined process chains that are monitored by RSPCM are user-individual.
  • Automated monitoring via Business Process Monitoring in SAP Solution Manager as described in the Best Practice document "Background Job monitoring with SAP Solution Manager". Up to now the setup was also somewhat time-consuming and only single jobs within the Process Chain could be monitored so that only a milestone monitoring could be achieved. Further, the monitoring definition requires manual adoptions as soon as a process chain is activated.
  • Automated monitoring via SAP CCMS described in the Best Practice document "Background Job monitoring with SAP Solution Manager". Here the setup was very easy but the monitoring functionality was somewhat limited as only the status of a complete chain could be monitored. No details of chain elements were available and no other monitoring capabilities than just the chain status were available.

Now the Business Process Monitoring in SAP Solution Manager was enhanced in order to overcome all those limitations described above. Besides the monitoring of simple background jobs it is now also possible to monitor complete Process Chains just by entering the corresponding Chain ID. Additionally you can also monitor single steps within a Process Chain. With this monitor you can of course monitor the status of a Process Chain (and selected elements), but you are not limited to status monitoring only. You can also monitor whether a Process Chain and/or one of its specific elements

  • Did not start or finish on time (Start Delay and End Delay)
  • Is running outside a defined time window
  • Has a runtime that is longer than expected
  • Is running into a status indicating an error or warning

Besides these more technical alerts you can also perform automated content checks for a complete Process Chain and/or one of its specific elements like

  • Did the Process Chain process too many/few records?
  • Were too many/few data packages processed?
  • Are there exceptional job log entries?

A big advantage of monitoring BW process chains using the Business Process Monitoring in SAP Solution Manager is that you see the BW process chains in the context of the complete business process in a graphical way. Correlating the impact of an incident to the business process itself is now possible at a glance.

Below you can find the technical prerequisites of the involved software components:

  • SAP Solution Manager 7.0 EhP1 SP23 or higher
  • ST-SER 701_2010_1 or higher on SAP Solution Manager side
  • ST-PI 2008_1_XXX with SP2 or higher on backend side
  • ST-A/PI 01M or higher on backend side
  • Implementation of SAP Note 1436853 - BPM for BW Process Chains and Steps - Prerequisites

 

The second part on this best Practice covers the setup in SAP Solution Manager. It is available Best Practice: BW Process Chain monitoring with SAP Solution Manager - Part 2: Setup Example.

Frequently Asked Questions about Business Process Monitoring are answered under http://wiki.sdn.sap.com/wiki/display/SM/FAQ+Business+Process+Monitoring.

The previous blogs provide further details about Business Process Monitoring functionalities within the SAP Solution Manager.

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