Fine-Tuning Custom Situations: Closing Behavior of Situation Instances

My name is Angelika Salmen and I am the product owner of Situation Handling. With this blog post I first want to introduce the concept of closing a situation and then guide you through the settings Close and Keep and Close and Delete and their impact on an instance’s life cycle behavior.

The closing behavior relates to the extended framework for Situation Handling which has been available since SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2202 and SAP S/4HANA 2021 FPS2.

The extended framework for Situation Handling supports different ways of closing a situation instance.

Closed by the system

Updated business data

The system can close a situation if the business circumstances have changed and a condition that has been configured in the Manage Situation Types – Extended app is met. For example:

  • The ticket sales of a non-profitable flight have increased and the threshold for a situation is no longer critical.
  • A non-profitable flight has departed, so the corresponding situation is outdated.

Below you can see a set of conditions that creates or updates situation instances and another set of conditions that close the instances.

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Examples of closing conditions in the Manage Situation Types – Extended app

Automatic clean-up

If situations are open for a long time, it is reasonable that they were either forgotten or are no longer valid. Then an automatic clean-up process is initiated that closes object-based situations with the status open. A second routine deletes closed situations after a specified time period:

  • Closes open situation instances by setting the status to obsolete after one year (360 days)
  • Deletes instances with the status resolved / obsolete / invalid after 3 months (90 days)

The clean-up routine also applies to message-based situations but with a different time period:

  • Closes open situation instances by setting the status to obsolete after two months (60 days)
  • Deletes instances with the status resolved / obsolete / invalid after 2 weeks (14 days)

The automatic clean-up periods are hard coded and cannot be changed.

Closed by the end user

Solution proposal

Depending on the use case, end users can resolve a situation by using a business action displayed on the situation page of the My Situations – Extended app. If, for example, the economy class is overbooked, users can select the option Upgrade Passengers on the situation page. The booking data is updated in the back end and the situation is resolved.

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Examples of solution proposals in the My Situations – Extended app

Manual closing

Sometimes end users have information that isn’t available in the system and can close a situation manually by using the Close Situation option in the My Situations – Extended app. The situation is then no longer displayed to any end user.

When closing a situation manually, users can give a reason as feedback. For example:

  • Resolved – a contract expires and has to be renegotiated with the supplier. No system action is available. The user needs to close the situation manually.
  • Obsolete – an expiring contract triggers a situation but there is already a follow-up contract for a newer version of the product. The expiring contract can be ignored, and the situation isn’t needed.
  • Invalid – this mainly applies to false positives, that is, a situation was detected but there’s no issue.

Feedback

Feedback dialog when closing a situation manually

The feedback function was introduced in the standard framework for Situation Handling. It monitors how situations are handled and how the collected data can be processed for advanced analytics and automation, for instance, with the Intelligent Situation Automation service on SAP BTP.

Closed by the key user

Manual closing

Key users can select the Manage Instances option in the header of a situation type in the Manage Situation Types – Extend app. The list shows all situation instances that are active in the system. Situations with the status open and in progress can be closed manually. Afterwards they are no longer visible for any end user.

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List of situation instances in the Manage Situation Types – Extended app

Closing a situation vs. closing a notification

Closing a situation has no impact on the corresponding notification. The notifications on SAP Fiori launchpad follow the same interaction behavior as email notifications. Neither the alert nor the email is deleted automatically if a situation is closed. It’s always up to the user to decide.

In the section Situation Instances of the Manage Situation Types – Extend app, you can choose the closing behavior of situation instances, which is either Close and Keep or Close and Delete.

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Closing behavior setting in the Manage Situation Types – Extended app

Instance behavior Close and Keep

The instance behavior Close and Keep only changes the status of a situation instance. This means the instance remains in the system. The status changes from open or in progress to resolved, obsolete, or invalid.

If you choose this setting it is valid for both manual and system-triggered closing of situations.

When to use Close and Keep

Use Close and Keep if you want the system to remember the situation.

  • Users might have additional information about the data available in the system and decide that a situation is no longer relevant. If the system doesn’t remember the closed instance, the system would re-detect the situation based on the (limited) data and annoy users.

Closed instances that the system remembers are visible in the instance list of situation types when key users choose Manage Instances. They also have the option of reopening these instances.

Instance behavior Close and Delete

The instance behavior Close and Delete directly deletes the instance so it is no longer in the system.

If you choose this setting, it is valid for both the manual and system-triggered closing of situations.

When to use Close and Delete

  • The system should be able to detect new or follow-up situations after a situation has been closed. For example, you want to observe the production of a material and have configured a situation type that can identify various quality issues. After closing a situation that has detected a quality issue, the system should be able to detect other issues of this kind. For this to happen, you need to use the setting Close and Delete.
  • If situation detection applies to unique processes with potentially numerous situations but no business actions are available to close the situation. The advantage over Close and Keep is that the data is deleted right away instead of keeping it until the automatic cleanup takes place. Situation detection needs to be based on unique processes, such as system runs with unique identifiers, to avoid re-informing users about closed situations. This pertains mostly to message-based situations that observe warning and error messages for unique processes.

Deleted instances are no longer visible in the instance list of a situation type.

If you want to learn more about the extended framework of Situation Handling, you might also like: