Month: September 2014

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Picking a Direction – When to follow the buzzwords.

When I got together with a friend of mine, we started chatting about a lot of the latest and greatest technologies that SAP has been hyping.  Well, this all got me to thinking about when do you follow the latest and greatest  technology when you’re running a business?  Now the dilemma comes from trying to predict exactly which technology is worth following.  When technology changes so quickly, how can you possibly predict what bandwagon to jump on?

Now the challenge that I face is that I’m a small business, so obviously I don’t have the resources to follow every new path.  But, if I don’t chase some of the new buzzwords, I’ll end up so far behind the times that it’ll quickly leave my development in the dust.  So, what’s the solutions???

Well, I’m going to try a plan, and keep in mind, I’ve been perpetually behind the technology.  However, with my target market, I don’t believe it’s killed me.  At the same time, perhaps having more current buzzwords might make me more desirable as a product.  So, it seems that the only option is for me to at least investigate some of these new technologies.  In my world, it’s the cloud, Fiori and HANA.  For you, only you can tell.  But it seems that I have no choice but to build yet another system that I can install these new technologies.  Even if I just make a simple application for the one of these, it gives me the opening that I’ll need to determine if it’s a business maker, or just another buzzword.  Being in the technology business isn’t easy.  I’m learning that it truly is a bit of a gambler’s game.  Knowing when to jump into the market…  or perhaps being a leader by getting in early is tough.  As I attempt to learn about these new technologies, I’m sure I’ll have new things to blog about, so at a minimum, I’l have that going for me 🙂

I’d love to hear your opinion’s on keeping current with technology.  How do you handle it?

Thanks for reading,

SAP HANA – Hype or Here to Stay?

Well, I recently got together with a friend of mine, and one of the topics turned to SAP HANA.  Well, up to now, my perception of HANA was just a lot of hype.  It seemed like it was just the latest buzzword that SAP invented, and if you keep talking about something enough, people will buy it.  While this approach hasn’t yet worked for me, maybe I need to try it 🙂

Up to now I only knew that HANA was built around RAM vs. HDD space.  So for everything that I’ve heard, you buy a bunch of new hardware, then everything ran faster.  Well, after talking to my friend, I feel like I was right and wrong, at the same time 🙂  So, from what learned, HANA is basically going to become a replacement for the database that SAP runs on.  So instead of using Oracle, soon you’ll be using HANA.  The concept with this is that the table structures, views, etc. have been changed to optimize the structures within the database.  Since the hardware is enhanced to handle to operate with more memory, the need to have simplified structures or even views is gone, so instead the DB can handle bigger tables.

While this may be true, it still seems to me that this is technology that is geared toward new customers or installations.  It seems like this is unlikely to be embraced by existing installations, at least until they are mandated to.  Of course, I’d love to hear your opinions on this.

Just in case you’re interested in another funny opinion, check out this blog:

thanks for reading,

Variant Configuration – ETO and STO

Well, an old friend of mine recently pinged me with a question.  The idea was how do I get my bill of material in the producing plant, if my ordering plant is in another company code.  So plant A orders the configurable product, and plant B builds it.  Plant A & B are in different company codes so you an STO is needed.  The problem is that out of the box, the order BOM for the product exists in the ordering plant.  But since it’s Engineer to Order, the BOM really needs to exist in the producing plant.

Luckily, my buddy Rama happened to have the answer for me.  It turns out, there are a couple of OSS notes that take care of this.

494500 & 691267 will tell CU51 (order bom maintenace) to look at the special procurement key and create the BOM, rather than in the ordering plant.

in addition, here’s a good link that has a lot of VC OSS tricks 🙂

SAP Notes

Thanks for reading,

Service Management – Configurable Leading Service Orders

Well, after I learned about how cool it was to combine service management and variant configuration, I did some posts a while ago, talking about exactly how it worked.  If you missed those, check them out here.  Well, there was still one gap that I couldn’t get to work.  I tend to use service with a “leading service material”, while the alternative is a “leading serviceable material”.  Well, it turns out that only leading serviceable materials can work out of the box with VC.  I worked with OSS for a couple weeks on this…  only to have it get kicked high enough up the chain to tell me “works as designed”.  However, they were nice enough to give me the standard user-exit that can be used to make it work.  So I thought I”d share that with you today.

Generally, please be aware that in a Standard repair process with
leading serviceable material, the configuration data, i.e. CUOBJ, is
only copied from the main item to the returns sub item. This is
controlled via the following coding:

* for RMA return subitem (leading serviceable material) fill cuobj from * main item and fix the configuration (like in normal copy process)
if vbap-vkgru eq vkgru_rep_retoure and
vbak-vbklt eq vbklt_repa_auft.
vbap-cuobj = hvbap-cuobj.
perform configuration_fix(sapfv45s).

If you want the CUOBJ also to be copied to other sub items in the
repair order, you would have to implement a modification in

if vbak-vbklt eq vbklt_repa_auft.
if vbap-vkgru eq vkgru_rep_gutschrift or
vbap-vkgru eq vkgru_rep_austauschteil or
vbap-vkgru eq vkgru_rep_auslieferung.
vbap-cuobj = hvbap-cuobj.
perform configuration_fix(sapfv45s).

The constants for the item classifications are defined as follows
vkgru_rep_retoure       LIKE vbap-vkgru VALUE ‘101’,
vkgru_rep_reparatur     LIKE vbap-vkgru VALUE ‘102’,
vkgru_rep_auslieferung  LIKE vbap-vkgru VALUE ‘103’,
vkgru_rep_leihgeraetbes LIKE vbap-vkgru VALUE ‘104’,
vkgru_rep_leihgeraetabh LIKE vbap-vkgru VALUE ‘105’,
vkgru_rep_austauschteil LIKE vbap-vkgru VALUE ‘106’,
vkgru_rep_verschrottung LIKE vbap-vkgru VALUE ‘107’,
vkgru_rep_gutschrift    LIKE vbap-vkgru VALUE ‘108’,
vkgru_rep_lastschrift   LIKE vbap-vkgru VALUE ‘109’,
so if you want the configuration to be copied into sub items of types
other the returns/101, you would need to adjust the userexit code

Hope this might be helpful to you.  I’ll actually be fully documenting the configuration of this process (and I’ll include this code again) in my upcoming E-book on configuring service management.  It’s been a beast writing this book, so when it comes out, I’ll be pretty excited.  If you’re interested in a copy, let me know 🙂

Thanks for reading,

Staying Focused. The challenge of writing.

Well, I mentioned a while ago that I was working on writing an E-Book.  It certainly won’t be an exciting read, but I’m hoping it will be very educational.  I’m working on writing a manual on how to configure SAP Service Management.  I originally thought this would be an easy endeavor.  I mean, I know this stuff inside and out, right?  Well, I’m discovering that writing a book is more than just knowing the story you want to tell.  You need to stay focused, and like any good project, you need to control “scope creep”.

I’ve been doing my best to keep adding new sections to fully describe the configuration, lots of screen shots, etc.  But then I get sidetracked doing some Linked-In marketing, or working with my contractors, writing new specifications, etc…  and before long, I’ve gone a week without adding any new content.  Then to compound things, I keep thinking of things to add to make the book better.

What’s the lesson?  like everything else, you have to prioritize.  For me personally, I need to break the task down into smaller pieces, and schedule those.  I’ve had one task of write the e-book.  It’s a better approach for me to write one section at a time, and thus set up smaller daily tasks of writing a section every day.  Next up is to draw a line in the sand.  If I don’t stop with the new ideas, it just becomes one more method of procrastination.

Now realization alone isn’t enough.  For me, I need to act on this new knowledge.  So I literally just went to Remember the Milk, and changed the task to do a daily section of the E-book.  A manageable task, rather than a monumental one 🙂

Thanks for reading,

Nighttime Reading

I recently learned that one of the habits I’ve gotten into is actually detrimental to my sleep.  If I don’t stay up too late doing something else for work, I often pull out my latest sales or marketing book and read till I fall asleep.  The problem that I started to realize is that I’d often get a new insight from reading, and instead of falling asleep, my brain would start churning about my latest idea, and keep we awake even though I was dreadfully tired.  It’s funny, but looking back it should’ve been obvious.  But like so many things in my journey, nothing is obvious until it’s pointed out to me… sometimes multiple times.

Well, I reading Perry Marshall again, and it finally hit me.  He said to read something light, read some fiction, read something that has nothing to do with business.  The reasoning for this is twofold.  First and most important is that it allows your brain to shut off before bed.  You can focus on something else and allow your subconscious to do the job it’s meant to do…  be creative.  But sometimes when you force work over and over again, your subconscious can’t be creative, it can only focus what you bombard it with.  The second benefit is that when you read something you like, you can actually make yourself a better a copywriter.  Since I’ve figured out that writing is often a big part of the sales job, being the best copywriter possible is very important.  think about it, between emails, websites, sales letters, newsletters, blogging, 2/3’s of my work is writing in one way or another.  So reading a published author can only give you better ideas of how to improve your own writing.  I need to do a lot more reading, but hey, you’re reading this aren’t you?  so can’t be that terrible 🙂

Thanks for reading,

Virtualbox – the power of the MAC address

Well, after spending some time digging around I’ve found the trouble with my network.  So I had two systems in the same box, one cloned from the other.  So after running through all the different scenarios, I found that individually, both systems worked fine.  Only when I turned on both systems at the same time did my network problems begin.  I did some hunting on google, and as I often find, my situation is unique…  well, at least unique enough that no one else has posted a solution 🙂

But Virtualbox did give me some clues…  it got me thinking that it might be the network for the virtual system causing the issue.  So I tried changing from a bridged adapter, with no luck.  Then by a stroke of genius, or a stroke of luck, I finally noticed the option to refresh the MAC address.

Magically, everything started working again.  So the morale of the story is if you clone a machine, make sure you change the MAC address, it could make all the difference.

Be Thankful for what you have, Everyday…

I recently met up with a friend of mine, and he told me about someone I had worked with in the past.  He told how her 13 year old son just died of cancer.  Well, I don’t care who you are, that hits you in the gut.  I can’t even begin to imagine how that feels, and I pray I never have to.  My heart goes out to Trina.

Now for the rest of us, the only good that can come out of this is make sure you don’t take anything for granted.  Give your kids, friends and family an extra hug the next time you see them.  We all know the cliche about how short life is…  well, we need to remember that we don’t really know how short any life might be.  So appreciate what you have every day, and even when things seem tough, remember how much tougher they would be without those family and friends to get you through it.  And never waste an opportunity to tell them how much they mean to you.

thanks for reading,

Fighting the Network again…

Well, I’m back in this never ending battle with the network.  I’m trying to run two systems off the same box.  I have plenty of horsepower, but for some reason, when I fire up both machines, the external connection becomes VERY slow.  I’m still trying to figure out exactly what’s going on…  but let’s start with one of my latest revelations when dealing with networking to my virtual machines.

I was originally having a challenge with connecting to my systems.  Often it would take 3 & 4 times to get connected to my SAP systems.  What I found is that within my AT&T network configuration is that to get a consistent connection, I needed to add the SAP port numbers to the static IP address, rather than the machine address that I was originally doing.

Now this works great, until I attempt to run 2 machines at the same time.  So, I’m back on the detective hunt to determine what happened…  if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them 🙂

thanks for reading,

Connecting with Prospects…

I’ve recently been thinking about the complex nature of connecting with people.  Have you noticed how there are some people that you just instantly connect with, you start talking and feel totally at ease, while other people you struggle to get through pleasantries?  I’ve read multiple books that talk about different personality types, motivations, speaking styles, etc.  But at the end of the day, in my opinion it all comes down to chemistry.  So, can you make that chemistry?  or it just something you either have or you don’t?

Now, I’m no expert, my wife will attest to that.  I’m often a little introverted, a little stand offish, but once I get to know someone, we are typically friends for life.  It doesn’t matter if it’s professional or personal.  So what does it take to make that connection?  Now there is an entire science of personality traits, introvert, extrovert, sensing, judging, etc…  I can’t deny this plays a part, but doesn’t it have more to do with some commonalities?  For those of you in sales, I’m sure you might be laughing  at my naivete right now.  It’s ok, I often laugh at myself too 🙂  But really, no matter who you are, or what you do, there are two things nearly everyone loves to talk about.  Common experiences and themselves.

I’m working hard to improve my own communications skills, and every good book tells you that you need to be a good listener.  Well, listening is harder than it seems, unless you can find genuine interest.  Now for me, there is no faster way to build interest than to find something in common.  It might be sports, music, children, or movies.  But if you don’t find something in common, it will be incredibly difficult to ever build a real connection with anyone.  So, can you find a commonality without playing 20 questions?  I’m struggling with this myself.  How can you get someone to open up about themselves without it sounding like the inquisition?

Of course, you can fake it, but let’s be honest, we all know when someone is faking it when we’re talking to them, and no real connection ever occurs.  Listening helps, but the book I’m reading makes a great point about this.  You have to listen with real interest, not a “what’s in it for me interest”, or “I have to remember all these details so I can bring them up later when I try to close the sale” interest.  That internal radar we all have, will quickly light up and warn us that we’re just a prospect and there is no real connection  .

So, what’s the solution…  we need to make a real connection.  But what’s the secret?  My good friend Clint is amazing at this skill.  I really believe he can walk up to any random person and find some obscure connection after talking to them for a few minutes.  Sometimes its a hometown, old job, school, sporting event, or vacation.  The key is finding a way to genuinely connect with the person and make yourself someone they can relate to.  This won’t guarantee a sale, but it is pretty much guaranteed to kill any sale if you can’t connect with a prospect.

I guess the point of all of this is that you need to be truly interested in who you are talking to.  Only then can you find that common ground, that magic chemistry.  So make a friend first.  Maybe they won’t be your best friend that you tell your deepest secrets to, but treat them as a friend first, not a prospect.  We all know when someone is trying to sell us.  I believe that connection chemistry can be built…  just find that common ground and build from there.

Thanks for reading.