Luminate Gives ERP Troubleshooting a Helping Hand

With the introduction of its ServiceDesk for R/3, Luminate Software Corp. ( is attempting to capitalize on an emerging trend: enabling IT personnel -- who often have little or no enterprise resource planning (ERP) experience -- to troubleshoot ERP problems from a centralized enterprise helpdesk.

With its Service Level Analyzer product, Luminate already provides service level management (SLM) capabilities for the SAP R/3 ERP solution from SAP America Inc. ( But even with its SLM software in place, says Bruce Fram, president and CEO of Luminate, customers were approaching his company requesting a tool to help manage the problems of SAP R/3 end users from the corporate helpdesk.

In the SAP R/3 environment, application-specific problems are often directed to a specially trained SAP BASIS consultant. Corporate helpdesk personnel often have little or no experience in trouble-shooting SAP R/3 software. According to Luminate’s Fram, many of his company’s customers reported that their BASIS specialists were overwhelmed by the volume of service-related calls.

"Our customers were saying to us, ‘Every [SAP-related] problem is going to the BASIS guy, so we need a way to offload the workload from the BASIS guy so that our helpdesks can provide almost self-service for problem resolution in the SAP arena,’" Fram acknowledges. "The idea is, if you can empower your helpdesk to take some of these calls, you can offload the responsibilities of the BASIS guy tremendously".

Enter ServiceDesk for R/3, a solution that Luminate officials say can be used as either a complement to its Service Level Analyzer product or as a standalone solution. According to Fram, ServiceDesk for R/3 can help IT personnel with little or no SAP R/3 training effectively field and sometimes troubleshoot SAP-related problems, thereby absorbing some of the BASIS staff’s workload.

ServiceDesk for R/3 can analyze business user end-to-end response times by date, time, network response time, SAP R/3 queue time, SAP R/3 application time and SAP R/3 database time. Fram maintains that the comprehensive diagnostic capabilities will sometimes enable helpdesk personnel to assess the severity of a problem by simply entering an end user’s ID. Depending on how critical the problem is, helpdesk personnel can either field the problem themselves or direct it to more specialized BASIS personnel.

The software will clearly help organizations that want to limit specialized BASIS personnel for more mission critical problems, says Josh Greenbaum, president of Enterprise Applications Consulting (Berkeley, Calif.). "[ServiceDesk for R/3] enables organizations to extend the bandwidth of their BASIS staff by empowering helpdesk personnel to analyze SAP R/3 service level problems quickly and accurately," Greenbaum maintains.

It’s for this reason that Steve Iolencik, manager of systems administration at FileNet Corp. (, says his company is evaluating ServiceDesk for R/3.

"What we’ve seen is that in a fully configured environment, it could offload some of the BASIS people from some of the routine calls that come into our helpdesk," Iolencik explains, noting that FileNet hasn’t yet determined whether or not to deploy ServiceDesk for R/3. "It gives [helpdesk personnel] a tool to look at R/3 information, and because of the way that it’s presented, helpdesk personnel can either do some preliminary triage, or have some understanding of the problem so that it can be routed or handled more effectively."