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Function documentationRoot Cause Analysis & Exception Management


Today's distributed, multi-technology customer solutions offer multi-channel access through diverse devices and client applications. Analyzing the root cause of an incident in such systems requires a systematic, top-down approach. This approach must be guided by tools that help customers to perform this analysis as efficiently as possible, following SAP best practices.

The objective of Root Cause Analysis is to identify and provide:

  • Immediate corrective action (workaround) to restore service operations as quickly as possible with minimal disruption to end users by isolating the area of concern

  • Complete solution to the issue at hand

Root Cause Analysis tools are designed to reduce the number of resources in each step of the resolution process.

In addition, the Root Cause Analysis infrastructure is open to the integration of new SAP technologies, applications, and third-party software.


  • For information about the prerequisites for Root Cause Analysis, see SAP Note 1483508Information published on SAP site.

  • Administration has configured the managed systems to include in your analysis in SAP Solution Manager Configuration.

  • Administration has set up service connections to SAP so that you can get support for the managed systems in your solutions. For more information, see Service Connections.


A Root Cause Analysis is triggered by either an incident in IT Service Management or by solution monitoring (system monitoring or business process monitoring).

Triggered by IT Service Management

An IT problem can be recorded, categorized, and prioritized in SAP Solution Manager IT Service Management by an end user or an IT employee. This message is sent to first-level support, which attempts to clarify the problem, searches the customer solution database and the SAP Notes database.

Triggered by Solution Monitoring

SAP provides monitoring to proactively detect errors and performance bottlenecks before they affect the continuity of the business. Based on thresholds, alerts are triggered to notify the appropriate IT team responsible for the system. The scope of solution monitoring is the proactive detection of incidents while Root Cause Analysis aims at incident resolution.

For example, a memory-intensive activity on a specific system triggers an alert in the system monitor. The cause of an unusual memory growth is not clear unless its Root Cause Analysis points to a memory leak in a custom developed program.

Root Cause Analysis

If the help desk within the business unit cannot solve a problem, the second-level support performs a Root Cause Analysis to isolate the component responsible for a functional defect or a performance problem: client, network, various SAP systems (such as SAP NetWeaver Portal, SAP CRM, or SAP ECC), database, or storage.

This top-down approach systematically helps you to target the root cause of the error and thus avoids lengthy searches, which involve much more time and expense.

Component Root Cause Analysis

Once the second-level support has performed a Root Cause Analysis and has identified the problem component, IT Service Management allows the issue to be forwarded to the right expert in custom development, business process operations, SAP technical operations, or IT infrastructure.

Various tools are needed to complete the different tasks in component Root Cause Analysis. In a distributed customer solution, these tools may be located on different systems. SAP Solution Manager provides a central point of access to the system landscapes and easy access to the required tools.

Analysis by Software Vendor (SAP or Partner)

Although all customers should perform preparatory work and Root Cause Analysis of an issue many customer IT organizations are not able to resolve all problems themselves, as this requires in-depth knowledge of specific SAP components. The help of SAP or its partners may be required:

Customers can provide external experts with remote access to the required tools and data required to solve an issue. Software partners, partners, and SAP can access these tools remotely and safely through a secured connection to the customer.

SAP reduces the risk of uncontrolled or inadvertent changes to the productive environment with read-only authorization in the Root Cause Analysis applications. Access to productive servers on the operating system level is only required in exceptional situations.

Example Example

An end user experiences a local browser performance problem. The performance problem may be caused by the client, the network, or some component of the server environment, which itself is comprised of different instances of different technologies. Server-side processing may take place in an SAP NetWeaver Portal (based on Java technology), then reach out to an SAP ECC back end (based on ABAP technology) and finally call the database and the storage subsystem for data retrieval. A performance problem or functional defect may occur at any one or all stages of this round trip launched by the end user from the browser. The Root Cause Analysis tools in SAP Solution Manager help to identify the specific component that causes the performance bottleneck.

End of the example.