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Sage 200 - Analysing the 'Business Impact' when troubleshooting Sage 200 issues

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Summary

The following information should be used as a guide to help establish the true impact that an issue has on a customer site. Whilst not exhaustive, this should allow you to accurately assess the urgency of the problem.

Description

Please note that in the absence of a business impact, any issues logged with Technical Support will be assigned a severity level based solely on the information available. This may result in an inaccurate severity level being assigned to the incident. In this case, a business impact should be obtained as per the guide below.

Resolution

What is Business Impact Analysis?

Analysing the Business Impact should identify the operational and financial effects resulting from the disruption of business functions and processes. These could include:

  • Lost sales and income
  • Delayed sales (Customer dissatisfaction or defection, cashflow)
  • Staff utilisation resulting in delayed or additional processing (increased expense from overtime or additional staffing levels)
  • Regulatory fines
  • Contractual penalties or loss of contractual bonuses
  • Delay to projects (Implementations, upgrades, training etc.)
Why is the Business Impact Important?

The Business Impact is used to help in the planning and scheduling of workloads and resources in order to resolve customer problems in a timely manner. This is done using 'severity ratings' - the current severity ratings and timescales are outlined in the Business Partner Handbook.

To enable us to prioritise effectively, it is essential that you are able to provide a quantifiable Business Impact when logging an incident with Sage whether over the telephone or through Incident Management. 

The Business Partner is 'first-line support' and in direct first contact with the needs of the customer. 

It can also be beneficial to the customer to discuss the Business Impact, as in doing so you can gain better insight into your customer site which in turn help establish workarounds or alternative processing options.

Understanding the End to End Process

Quite often the intention behind the use of a function within the software is self-explanatory however with some more complicated functions it is important to establish your client's end to end process.

Pragmatically speaking we need to ask:

  • What are they doing?
  • Why are they doing it?
  • How is the problem affecting them?  

Understanding the end to end process is essential in not only gaining a better understanding or tangibility of how a problem is affecting the customer,  it is also invaluable in determining a workaround or an alternative processing route. 

The importance of Workarounds or alternative processes

All but the most critical issues will have a valid workaround or an alternative processing route, there are occasions were these prove to be a better fit than the original process. 

It is imperative that all potential workarounds are explored and that the impact to the business is assessed based on the workaround (i.e. how much longer the process takes).

The Meaning of Quantification in Business Impact

Quantification is an important word in our dictionary. We really do need to know this from the lowest part of the problem to a summary of hours involved. Please provide a calculation where possible.

For example, an issue means that each sales order takes an extra 2 minutes to enter. There are 4 operators entering sales orders for a full 7-hour working day. Each operator inputs approximately 30 sales orders per day.

30 sales orders × 2 minutes = 60 extra minutes per person per day. Four operators × 60 minutes = 240 minutes per day, or 4 hours. In a working week, 5 days x 4 hours = 20 hours per week.

In this example, 4 staff members are affected and the problem is costing the company 20 hours per week.

Steps To Establish the Business Impact

The following questions will help to determine the impact an issue is having on your customers business (this is not an exhaustive list, other questions will depend upon the nature of the problem). 

  • Has the root cause been established? Read more
  • How many times a day is the routine run?
  • Can the routine in question still be run? – if the problem is a degradation in performance it is important to quantify how much extra time the process now takes.
  • Is the problem intermittent? – How often does the problem occur?
  • Are there short-term alternatives to the problem? – How much more time do these take? – What if any if the difference in the results?
  • Is the problem pc-specific? – How many PCs do they have/How many PCs are affected? – Are there any geographical implications? (i.e. all PCs on a site are affected which could inhibit potential workarounds).
  • Is the user-specific? – How many users do they have/How many users are affected? – Are there any geographical implications? (i.e. all users in a particular office are affected which could inhibit potential workarounds).
  • Are there any legislative implications?
  • Are there any financial implications (fines, loss of sales or contracts etc.)?