MyPM Synchronisation – How It Works
MyPM provides the ability for users to Sync with SAP and get back delta information in a timely fashion. It does this by associating MyPM profiles with users and pre-assembling flattened data in SAP /soltius/ tables. This means that when a user syncs with SAP the assessment of master data that the user needs for that device is accelerated because the process does not need to evaluate all the SAP change objects and then ‘flatten’ the required data. To support this sync functionality a number of permanent tables exist in the /soltius/ SAP namespace. These tables are populates in two ways:
1. When a MyPM administrator triggers the generation of a Profile. They would do this after creation or editing and time the generation out of hours to impact on as few personnel as possible. This ‘regeneration’ will trigger a full Sync of all profiles with SAP where a user has been allocated that profile.
2. When SAP users update relevant objects then this triggers change events in SAP. These change events are linked to MyPM functions that evaluate if the object is associated with an Active profile and amends the assembled MyPM master data as required. For a list of the tables used in this process see the article MyPM Master Data Tables.
Sync settings, including the ability set set up Sync reminders, is configured in the Maintain Core Settings Sync Tab.
What Data is User Specific and What’s Shared?
Some of the sync data is unique to users and some is shared by all MyPM users on the device. The logic for this is as follows and has been changed (improved) post initial MyPM Base release:
All data related to Work Order and Notification is specific to the User on the device.
All master data and the Outbox is shared. Examples of master data are the Functional Locations and Equipment. The reason that the master data is shared is to reduce large data volumes on the device and because it’s most likely that personnel sharing a device would have the same profiles.
The reason that the Sync data is deliberately shared is because otherwise data could become ‘lost’ – i.e. if a user hands their device over to another, without Syncing, then all their data would remain unseen and unprocessed on the device until such time as they got that specific device back again – which can not be guaranteed. This is seen as being a bigger concern to proper maintenance operations that the implications below.
- Users can edit/ remove updates left by others – the exception being time confirmation which are blocked from edit/ removal from the MyPM Outbox except by the user that entered them.
- Because processing in SAP is performed by the user that Syncs, all updates will be made using that users SAP ID. Which is not different from an administrator doing updates from notes on a paper work order
- Procedural personnel should Sync before handing their devices back and clear any errors.
How is the Sync Process with SAP Initiated?
The sync process with SAP is always manually initiated by the user. The practicalities of implementing automation that have stopped us from pursuing this:
- Automated syncing could initiated when you’re in transit and lose communication – were this to occur during a full sync you might get to a destination without communication coverage and have no or incomplete device data
- Automated syncing would be like taking your paper work order out of your back pocket when your not ready to hand it in. That would need a more formal status for each and every change that enabled it to go on auto sync – which in turn means more complication for the end user
- An automated sync places an necessary load on the mobile device, comms channels (including data costs) and SAP system
- Errors, rare as they may be, created during an automated sync would not be as immediately visible to an end user and their reliance on automation could mean that they have moved on from a location where the error is more properly resolved
- Other solutions, including device notifications, texts and even phone calls are better targeted at highlighting urgent work
- Field workers can sync more frequently themselves if that a required business process – it does not require a technical resolution. MyPM allows administrators to see how often sync events are occurs, per user, to assist in comms
That said an optional MyPM feature, to alert users that its been x time since last sync, has been added to the MyPM development roadmap.
The Sync Process
The following illustrates the sync process:
The pre-population of SAP object master data does increase the database size accordingly. The alternative would be to assess change logs over thousands of objects in real time on each sync event. That would dramatically degrade performance to the user and disproportionately increase the load on the SAP system. The total size of MyPM related data is reported in the Administration settings tab.