IT Task Management

The Guided Procedure & IT Task Management applications in the Technical Administration Work Center provide an integrated tool set to document & define recurring administrative tasks as guided procedures, plan the execution of the defined guided procedures , execute them centrally and track the execution of the guided procedures.

Value Proposition

Ensure that day-to-day operational activities are being executed at the right time by the right IT operators  in a standardized and reproducible way.

Process and Tools Description

The IT Task Management process consists of four steps executed by the different roles:

  1. Authoring - Operations Preparation Team
    Defines IT operational activities as guided procedures using the guided procedure authoring environment in SAP Solution Manager.
  2. Planning - IT Operations Manager
    Plans recurring or single operational activities using Guided Procedure Planning.
  3. Executing - IT Operations
    find the tasks they have to execute in the task inbox. Via the task they jump into the guided procedure step or instance and execute the IT operation.
  4. Reporting - IT Operations Manager
    The log book tracks the completion of Guided Procedures.
     

Planning

This planning information can be added using the IT Task Planning application. The IT Task Planning application provides two different modes to plan the execution of a guided procedure:

  • Standard Planning
    Suitable to quickly schedule the execution of several guided procedures. All steps have to be executed for the same set of managed object(s) and 1 processor is responsible to execute all activities in the guided procedure.
  • Expert Planning
    Suitable to schedule complex guided procedures where different steps have to be executed for different managed objects or different activities have to be executed by different processors.

During the planning step the following settings need to be made:

  • Managed Object Assignment
    Assign one or several managed objects for which the Guided Procedure shall be executed. The managed object assignment can be done either globally for the complete Guided Procedure or per step if different steps need to be executed for example for different systems.
  • Processor Assignment
    Assign one or several  processors who will be responsible to process the Guided Procedure either  completely or only dedicated  activities in the guided procedure which are assigned to them. It is possible to assign either persons directly or teams.
  • Define Recurrence and Earliest Start and Latest End Time
    Define whether the Guided Procedure shall be executed only on one  specific day or daily, weekly, monthly. 
    Define the earliest start time and the time until when the Guided Procedure should be finished.
After the task plan was saved, CRM tasks are created for each assigned processor. If the Guided Procedure shall be executed only once on a specific date, the related CRM tasks are created immediately. If the Guided Procedure shall be executed recurrently, the CRM tasks for the time window of the next two weeks are created after the next run of job SM:ITTM_CREATE_TASK which runs by default once per day.
 

The guided procedure shown in the graphic consists out of two steps with 2 activities each. The execution of this guided procedure was planned using expert planning. Step 1 and step 2 have been assigned to different managed object(s). All activities in  step1 will be executed by processor 1 while the activities in step 2 will be executed by processor 2 and 3 respectively. The result of the planning step will be 3 tasks, one for each assigned processor that will be visible in the task inbox of the assigned processors. The tasks will be created using the CRM transaction type SMOT (Operational Task).

As of SAP Solution Manager 7.1SP12, the IT task Planning application allows additionally to schedule so-called Simple tasks, tasks which contain  a textual description only  and are not linked to a guided procedure.

Task Notification

The assigned processors will receive a notification email per task on the day when the task start date is reached. From the notification email they can jump into task inbox. The task notification functionality is available as of Solution Manager 7.1 SP12. The task notification email is created by job SM:ITTM_SEND_NOTIF which runs by default once per hour.

Executing Tasks

The Task Inbox is the central tool for IT operators to find, assign and execute the tasks assigned to them. The task inbox provides the following views by default:

  • My open tasks
    Shows all tasks assigned to the user which are not in status completed.
  • My open tasks today
    Shows all tasks assigned to the user which are not in status completed and are supposed to start today.
  • My overdue tasks
    Shows all tasks assigned to the user  which are not in status completed and where the end date has passed.
  • My completed tasks
    Shows all tasks assigned to the user which are  in status completed.
  • My organization's open tasks today
    Shows tasks assigned to the teams to which the user is assigned which are not in status completed and are supposed to start today. The user can assign one or several of the  tasks to himself.
  • My organization's open tasks
    Shows tasks assigned to the teams to which the user is assigned which are not in status completed. The user can assign one or several of the  tasks to himself.
  • My organization's overdue tasks
    Shows tasks assigned to the teams to which the user is assigned and where the end date has passed.
  • My organization's completed tasks
    Shows tasks assigned to the teams to which the user is assigned which are in status completed.

The screenshot below shows the task inbox with the task list. In the example below, the task list contains  two tasks that should have been executed today by the assigned processor.

The task list shows the task name, the name of the guided procedure that should be executed with this task and the planned earliest start and latest end date and time. The overdue indicator is red in this example, which indicates that the latest end timestamp has passed and the task status is not set to completed. The due/overdue calculation that sets the rating in the overdue column is done by job SM:ITTM_SET_OVERDUE_STATUS.
Additional information in the task list are the priority of the task, the assigned support organization or team, and the person who created the task plan. Since Solution Manager 7.1 SP12 it shows also the managed objects for which the task has been created.

The buttons in the task list allow to assign tasks to yourself, change the task status and send an e-mail notification.

Under the task list, some details about the selected task are shown.

As soon as the task is due (start date and time has been reached), the processor can click on the link in the task name and will jump into the relevant guided procedure where he can execute all related activities.

The guided procedure runtime shows for each activity the related task, the assigned processor and the current task status. If the user tries to execute a task where he is not the assigned processor, a warning message appears. By clicking on the task status it is possible to change the task status from "New" to "In process" and to "Completed". As of Solution Manager 7.1 SP13, the task status is set  automatically to "In process" as soon as the first activity related to task was processed. As of Solution Manager 7.1 SP13, the task status is set  automatically to "Completed" as soon as the last activity related to task was processed successfully.

Tracking and Reporting

The Guided Procedure Logbook provides an overview over executed guided procedure instances  for selectable time frames. It can be started either from the entry screen of the Guided Procedure Management application for one system , host or database. The Guided Procedure Logbook is also accessible   from Guided Procedure Browser for one system , host or database and for the selected guided procedure type. It will show all executed  guided procedure instances for the selected scope that were started  in a selectable time interval.