Service Management – What is it?

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While I was at SAPPHIRE, I got hit with a question over and over again, and it initially surprised me.  I always thought if you worked in SAP, you had a general knowledge of all the modules, but I quickly came to realize that Service Management (also called Customer Service) was very commonly unknown, even in the SAP community.  So this was kind of a wake up call to me, and a perfect opportunity to explain what it is that I do.  So, let me tell you exactly what SAP Service Management is and some of the things it isn’t 🙂

SAP SM (Service Managment) is also called CS (Customer Service) within SAP.  A while ago, they re-branded the module.  I can’t explain why, but to this day, some people call it CS, some call it SM.  SM seems more common, and also more clear, so that’s why I stick to that term. The shortest explanation is that service management is for all the processes that occur after you sell/ship the product to your customer.  SM is most commonly used for the following sorts of processes.

  • Call Center or Help Desk calls
  • Return for Credit
  • Return for repair
  • Exchange
  • On-Site (Field) Service repairs
  • Any of these processes can also fall under the warranty umbrella as well.

In my experience, SM is most commonly used in manufacturing environments that have products (often serialized) that can be serviced, fixed or replaced.  Now, there are exceptions, like software (still a serialized product) that can use many of the SM processes as well.

Another question, I got a few times is if it was the same thing as Solution Manager.  The first time I was confused, and I needed a little more clarification.  I haven’t been a big user of SolMan in the past, so I didn’t realize they had an issue resolution (like an internal issue system) inside of SolMan.  In general, I would NOT advocate using SM to do this function.  The notification within SAP is about the best thing you could use for it, and in general, it’s not the best vehicle to perform this function.  Something like ServiceNow, Quality Center or other items are much better for dealing with user issues, testing issues, etc…  I believe in SM, but to me it’s meant to be used when dealing with entities OUTSIDE of your business.  This should be for your customers, not your internal users.

I hope this helps define a little better what SAP SM is…

Thanks for reading,

As always, thanks for reading and don't forget to check out our SAP Service Management Products at my other company JaveLLin Solutions,

2 thoughts on “Service Management – What is it?

  1. Hello Mike,

    Service Management deals with the services a company provides to its customers. In order to implement that business wirh SAP ERP you need at least the following SAP ERP moduls SD, LO, LE, MM, CS, FI and CO.

    An state of the art service management solution includes also an omni-channel commerce solution like SAP hybris to sell and deliver products and related business services from time & material and fixed price services, contract services, rental services, financing services as well as usage based services.

    In the age of digital business (IoT, Industry 4.0, … ) one has to intgrated all machines into the the value chain.


    1. Thanks Klaus,
      I always appreciate hearing another perspective. I’m curious how the omni-channel commerce solution fits into the service model. When I think of solutions like contract services, rental services, etc, I think of that being on the front end sales side, not the Service management side. I do agree that having a solution that allows customers to submit their own call center tickets, track the status of any service activities, etc is invaluable.
      Again, thanks so much for your input.

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