Thursday, December 20, 2007

Application Log Answers Key Questions About Application Activities

The application log is a handy tool that many people don’t know enough about. With some practice, you can use this tool to uncover useful system information such as who deleted an InfoCube.

Key Concept

The application log is a standard SAP feature. The tools to create application logs (mainly by using function modules) have been available since standard R/3 Release 3.0. This functionality has been available as part of BW and SAP NetWeaver BI since the earliest releases. Part of SAP NetWeaver 2004 and 2004s, the application log acts as a central repository for information about application events and thus enables easier analyses. It provides you with information about application activities related to who (which user), when (date and time), how (transaction code, program name), and what (technical name of object and other dependent objects, if any).

Regardless of your role in an SAP BW implementation, I bet you often have wanted to find out who modified or deleted objects in BW and when. The application log, a tool in R/3 and BW, can answer questions such as:

  • “How can I find who deleted a query that I was running?”

  • “I was trying to delete master data for the material InfoObject but cannot because someone is using it elsewhere — how can I find where?”

  • “Who deleted InfoObject ZABC and when?”

I find that the application log in standard R/3, BW, and SAP NetWeaver BI systems (transaction SLG1) is well-suited to provide answers to these kinds of questions. While there may be some convergence with other SAP tools that enable you to retrieve an audit trail of steps and transactions, such as Audit Information System (AIS), note that AIS and the application logs serve different purposes. Application logs track and record events that are specific to applications, whereas AIS provides support in tracking and auditing security activities in your SAP system. You should use the application log with a sensible combination of selection criteria (for example, targeted searches, which I explain later) and to track meaningful information.

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