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True SAP Blooper #1: Shortcut winds up costing time

Senior systems analyst Richard Sargent, is like many innovative administrators; he is always looking for ways to save time. In Sargent's case, though, a SAP blunder occurred when his self-styled shortcut went awry.

Senior systems analyst Richard Sargent, who has been working on SAP systems more than three years, is like many...

innovative administrators; he is always looking for ways to save time.

In Sargent's case, though, a SAP blunder occurred when his self-styled shortcut went awry. From his post at EMA Inc., a small engineering company in St.Paul, Minn., Sargent was brave enough to send the details of his mishaps so that other SAP specialists don't have to suffer the same fate.

Here is how Sargent describes his first mistake, which pertains to SAP passwords, and the usual practice of forcing users to periodically change them:

For most users in our company, this means making two changes, to a Workplace client, and to a Production client password. I make myself follow the same procedure. Of course, I have a logon for every client in our landscape, which adds up to about 16 password changes for me.

Some time ago, I developed a time saving process for changing these passwords, by using a query (after changing the first one) in order to replicate that change to all the other clients.

Here are the three steps I normally go through:

  • Change my password in one client on one server, let's say client 400, using normal SAP procedure
  • Execute the following query at the database level on that server:
    WHERE MANDT = '400'

  • Cut and paste the BCODE from that query into the following query to execute on all servers:

Recently, though, on our production server, in a hurry to get my password changes made quickly, I made the mistake of excluding the WHERE clause on the UPDATE statement, thereby setting every user's password to the wrong password!

Then I had to initialize every user's password and send out a massive e-mail notice asking every user to log on using the initialized password and to please, again, change their password.

Not only did this create a lot of work for myself and everyone else, it has come back to haunt me again this week, since a number of people now can't remember what they hastily changed their password to last week, so I have to reinitialize their password again.

Finally, more trouble struck. I had forgotten that the mistake also messed up the password for the CPICUSER (the background user who logs in remotely to transfer Central User Administration information from system to system). So a routine that was designed to save me 20 minutes wound up costing me as many hours!

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