How to Automate SAP Jobs
Smarter SAP Automation with an Enterprise Workload Automation Solution
SAP is a best-in-class business application, but workload automation isn’t one of its core features. Overcome the scheduling limitations of the Computing Center Management System (CCMS) in SAP with enterprise workload automation.
Native SAP scheduling tools have limited ability to connect SAP processes to other applications, and often require inefficient workarounds like pillow-based scheduling in order to execute a series of jobs. Watch this recorded webinar to learn how JAMS:
- Connects SAP processes to other applications, including Informatica and Oracle
- Starts SAP jobs dynamically with event-driven scheduling
- Eliminates processing delays with sequences and workflows
- Alerts you with text, voice, and email notifications when you need them
Join us for this recorded webinar and learn how you can move beyond inefficient SAP processing with an enterprise workload automation solution.
We’ll also give you a quick overview of Fortra and who we are. If you have any questions, please go ahead and post those in the chat window, that’s accessible through the panel on the right hand side of your screen. We will be monitoring those questions as we go and if we don’t get to your question right away, don’t worry. We will take some time at the end of our webinar to answer as many of those questions as we can. Now let’s get started.
Automating SAP is our focus today, but it’s always good to know that here at Fortra we really can solve any IT problem that you’re facing, from secure file transfers to network monitoring. If you have an IT need, we have an IT solution. No matter where you are, you probably have a Fortra office close to home. As you can see here, we do have dedicated JAMS offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, which means you get 24/7 support for our JAMS workload automation software.
Our team has deployed JAMS to hundreds of customers worldwide. You can see a small sample of our customers here. It’s a general rule that you’re going to interact with a JAMS customer today, whether that’s watching a show on a Vizio TV, maybe building a bird feeder with Milwaukee power tools, checking the forecast with AccuWeather, or going for a run in Nike sneakers. We also have an incredibly strong partner network as you can see here with strategic partners like SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, Cisco, and we belong to IT security organizations like PCI.
Last, everything that we do at Fortra is for your success, from incorporating your needs directly into our development cycle to offering professional services and support services that jumpstart your automation. And now I’ll turn the presentation over to JAMS support engineer and workload automation expert, Rob Newman. Rob?
Thank you Cody. SAP is a great tool but it is not an enterprise scheduler. They don’t want to spend their time building and supporting a scheduler. So they’ve provided some basic start abilities, but their focus is really on providing business solutions. Yes, SAP does come with the basic built-in job scheduler called the Computing Center Management System, CCMS. So, why would you need to automate outside of SAP?
Well, CCMS lacks cross-application and cross-platform functionality. Chances are you don’t need to just run a job within SAP. You want to run a job in SAP and then follow it up with an Informatica job or some other tasks in your environment. Maybe you need to update an inventory count or update a Power BI report. With CCMS you’re limited to just running things within CCMS. Having the ability to essentially manage those tasks across servers or across platforms is a huge advantage of using a workload automation solution like JAMS.
CCMS only looks inside of SAP for start conditions and you can’t really give it complex instructions to say, prevent some SAP jobs from running the day before a holiday or a custom fiscal quarter. No one should be timing jobs to try to make it so the warehouse jobs will run after you think you’ve given enough time for your other processes. We call that pillow-based scheduling and it comes with a host of issues, especially when something goes wrong and it impacts the rest of your processing chain. JAMS removes that pillow-based processing and we will talk a bit more about that later in the webinar.
With a workload automation solution, enterprises have access to smart sequencing that both eliminates delays and creates more stable business flows. You can be ensured your SAP process will be executed as soon as that file arrives or as soon as the customer order is placed. You can also be ensured your SAP task will not run before that file has arrived. With the workload automation solution, you can get notifications on errors, delays and other conditions like success or even informational options. If a specific file has not arrived within a specific timeframe, hey, let us know.
You can also expand the notification methods to include things like two way texts or even voice calls for any of your mission critical processes that might be running. Our workload automation solution will provide a full view of everything that’s occurred from both a historical perspective and an audit perspective so you can see who changed what and when. And of course our workload automation solution will integrate with your existing security to ensure that only those who should have access to processes can run or edit them.
SAP is the recognized business application expert in CRM, finance, human resources and manufacturing, and like many applications out there, it does ship with the built-in scheduler. Those applications may allow you to schedule tasks within itself, but that’s about it. They’re not very robust, but there’s a good reason for that. Those companies are not experts in job scheduling or workload automation. They are experts in areas like ERP, HR or manufacturing, and they don’t want to spend their time or money on scheduling. This is where a workload automation solution like JAMS can step in and provide that missing and necessary robust functionality.
CCMS was not intended to work across multiple applications or platforms. If you have cross platform causal resource and/or discretionary dependencies, job scheduling with CCMS can be cumbersome and inefficient. You really need smart scheduling to ensure all your disparate business processes run in a seamless fashion. JAMS allows you to schedule across your enterprise applications, across multiple platforms and across multiple systems.
So a job that created directly on the SAP system gives you limited start conditions. Only one can be chosen and it can’t be combined with any and/or logic. So SAP can run a task on the last day of the month or even every Friday. But what if you want to schedule it on the last Friday of the month, the last day of the quarter and the last day of the year, but not the day before a holiday? Yes, this is a real life use case and yes, a workload automation solution like JAMS can easily accommodate a schedule like that.
JAMS use of natural language specification in combination with custom calendars allow you to schedule tasks either on or around dates specified in those calendars. You can have calendars for holidays, stock market early close days, fiscal quarters, or even a calendar of unrelated specific days your job or task is required to run on. You even have the ability to add multiple schedules with multiple exceptions to any task or process ensuring your task will run exactly when you want them to.
Now, you also need your schedule to react to things outside of SAP or file arrival or other jobs completing. Not only do you need to make sure your jobs run when you want them to, you also need to make sure they don’t run until all dependencies are satisfied and requirements have been met. This is one of the biggest advantages of using a third party workload automation solution like JAMS.
Here we have what could be described as a cross-system reactive workload process. Let’s take a quick look at this basic order process scenario where we have a couple of different tracks that need to be taken. On one side you have your ERP, CRM and reporting systems. The other side is your distribution center with work orders, fulfillment and shipping. Once an order is received, it is sent to both ERP system and the distribution center simultaneously. After updating the ERP system, the process then needs to update both inventory and sales. Once the distribution center receives it, a pick list needs to be created and upon fulfillment, shipping is updated and the RF scan is sent to the loading dock for shipping.
Now, you may want some of these things to run immediately. Some may run in parallel and some, like reporting, may wait until the end of the day to run. You need the ability to create a dependent job stream with the flexibility on how those jobs are scheduled, when those jobs are scheduled and what triggers the next step. Your process flow can be based on the completion of a previous step, based on a time schedule or even triggered by some external job or process, and all of these tasks should run in a dependent sequential order one after another without delay. Well, unless you want that delay. Smart scheduling can prevent the delays or gaps that may occur in your processes where you would otherwise need to add pillows between tasks and hope things finish on time. This is where JAMS as your workload automation solution can make your processing more efficient.
Notifications only matter when something isn’t resilient enough to handle some common failure scenarios. With a workload automation solution, you can generally handle something like a missing file or a network blip with a retry after a pre-configured interval. When you do need notifications, a workload automation solution gives you options for more than just failures. Sometimes you need to know when a critical job succeeds or you might want to know about a job that hasn’t necessarily failed, but you want an informational status when certain events or situations occur.
Let’s say you have jobs that run short or run long or that might be waiting too long on something else. These could all be triggers for a notification to go out to your users. These events can also trigger additional tasks or jobs should that be required. With a workload automation solution like JAMS, your alerts can also be configured for two way interaction. So even when you are sitting courtside, you can restart an SAP process without ever leaving the gym. Of course, the failures, final status of jobs and any changes that may have occurred will all be recorded by default and added to the centralized history and centralized audit.
We’ve talked about some of the limitations in CCMS that prevent you from truly automating your SAP processes, including cross-application and cross-platform functionality, start conditions and start logic, ties between tasks and business processes and notification options. To answer all of these limitations and give yourself real enterprise workload automation, we have JAMS. In addition to automating your SAP jobs, process chains and data services jobs, JAMS can connect to nearly every application on any platform. So you can have a single workflow that touches Unix, Linux, Windows, and even z/OS.
In addition to the pre-built JAMS integrations, JAMS can also connect to and automate any application that has an external API. So you can think of JAMS as the single pane of glass for every task, job, or process running in your business, no matter where or how it runs. So, on a single screen you’ll be able to view and interact with an SAP job, a database backup, a file transfer, and a report job. That same single pane of glass applies to jobs that have already completed as well. So you could look at an SAP job log and a single agent job log from the same screen.
And JAMS has very robust scheduling and triggering options, which we talked about a little while ago. Our natural language and calendaring give you the power to say, “Only run a process chain two work days before a company holiday.” Jobs can also be triggered on a number of different events like the arrival of a file, an email, or even the completion of a different job. There are more options than we have time to cover here, so let us know in the comments if you’d like to learn more about our triggering options.
JAMS also has options for dependencies on jobs, where the dependency has to be satisfied before a job can run. You can think of a dependency like a ticket at an amusement park. You need to hand over your ticket before you can get on the ride. So, with dependencies and triggers together, you can schedule a daily sales report job to run at 10:00 PM and also make sure the job will wait until the raw sales data file is available before it tries to create the report.
And speaking of reports, JAMS ships a report designer and the ability to automate report creation and distribution so you can walk into work and already have a report of all the JAMS jobs that ran yesterday sitting in your inbox. The built-in notification options in JAMS go beyond what you have in CCMS. You can have two way voice and text notifications where you can actually interact with your jobs right from your phone or escalate events if you have an on call team.
Another important feature of enterprise automation that we really haven’t discussed is security. You want certain users to only be able to access business jobs. Maybe a developer should only be able to edit a job in a dev environment or an on call team should be able to view jobs and their logs but not edit their source. All of these are possible in JAMS through our AD integration and role-based security. Because JAMS will integrate with your existing active directory security, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel when you implement JAMS. JAMS not only answers the limitations of CCMS, it gives you the features you need to truly automate across your organization. We’ve really only scratched the surface of what JAMS is capable of, but it’s time for me to turn things back over to Cody. Cody?
Great. Thank you Rob. This is really great information. We’ll take some time to do questions here. If you have anything that comes to mind or anything you’ve been waiting to post for us, please go ahead and put that in the Q&A window over in the right hand side of your screen. I apologize in advance for paraphrasing any of your questions as we go along here. The first question that I have for you, Rob, does JAMS integrate with SAP Data Services?
We do. In fact, all you need to do is connect it to an end point and authenticate in JAMS and you will be able to pick existing Data Services jobs from a dropdown list right from within JAMS.
Great. The next one that I have here, do JAMS and SAP jobs execute in parallel?
Yes. Once JAMS submits a job, SAP creates and executes the parallel SAP job and sends all of the SAP logging information back to JAMS, so that you can store the SAP job logs within JAMS and it also leverages the JAMS history view to quickly see historical logs for any of your SAP jobs.
Great. The next question that I have for you here, how does JAMS connect to SAP?
JAMS leverages the SAP credentials and security to authenticate and run the SAP jobs. The configuration for the SAP jobs is found directly in the job source. It’s designed to mirror the look and feel of those same jobs in CCMS.
Great. I’m going to handle the next question that we have here. The question was, can you show me my SAP jobs running in JAMS? The answer to that is, we absolutely can. Our support engineers like Rob can hop on a quick session with you to get that accomplished. That goes for other kinds of jobs too. So, no matter what you want to see running, we can give you a hand. Just let us know in the comments and we’ll line up a session. All right. We do have a few other questions that we haven’t gotten to, but those are kind of outside the scope of this webinar. So, if you have a question that we did not answer, we will respond to you right after this webinar is over.
Thank you again Rob. This has been really informative, and thank you all for joining us today. If you’re looking for more information on how to bring enterprise workload automation to your SAP processes, I encourage you to get in touch with our team. And remember, if you’re new to JAMS, you can start a trial at any time by downloading the latest version of JAMS right from our main site. That download is going to give you everything that you need to get up and running, including ways to contact our rock-star support team members like Rob and links to training materials. So, thank you all again for joining us and have a great day. Thank you Rob.
Thanks Cody. Bye now.