Where Did My ESS Timesheet Go?

Everyone loves solving a difficult puzzle, myself included. One of my personal favorite SAP Portal mysteries started when a client asked me, “Where did my timesheet go? It was here last Friday but now I cannot find it and I need to submit my time for the week!” Well, I'm sure many employees would prefer to see their own timesheet disappear for good, but my goal is to help you make sure that does not happen.

Please follow my thought process as we solve this mystery together. If you scroll to the bottom of this email you will find a summary of the steps, but that will also spoil the surprise!

First, I asked the most obvious question: are you positive the timesheet was there in ESS last week? The answer was, of course, a resounding yes. Next I asked if any SAP upgrade (either ECC or Portal) occurred between last week, when they successfully entered time in ESS Record Working Time, and today, when they noticed the iView was missing. No upgrade had occurred, so now I needed to find out the number of users experiencing the same problem. We asked a handful of other employees who reported no issues with their Timesheet; the helpdesk confirmed zero reports of similar issues.

Okay, we now knew this was an isolated case so we could breathe a little easier. I asked the employee to logon via a coworker's machine, but it was still missing. This confirmed the root cause was not a cache issue, due to the version of IE, or something system specific. I was familiar with the version of SAP installed – ECC EHP4 and SAP NetWeaver Portal 7 EHP1 – so that dictated the proper path to follow from here. *If you use the NetWeaver Business Client (NWBC) or EHP5/6 I would be happy to show you the appropriate next steps for your own SAP installation.

Knowing that the SAP Portal was the sole route for accessing the ESS Timesheet at this client, I sat down with the end user to see if they had minimized the iView, removed it from the PCD page, or otherwise personalized the application. After determining that nothing was amiss there, I brought out the heavy tools to remove the corrupted personalization data. This tip should make reading this SAP mystery newsletter worth your while.

Now that we knew the cause of the mysteriously missing ESS Timesheet was due to corrupted personalization data in SAP Portal, the final step was to resolve the problem. To do that, I logged into SAP Portal with sufficient privileges and performed the following actions:

  1. Navigate to System Administration --> Support --> Portal Content Directory --> Personalization cleanup.
  2. Select the radio button “Principal” and enter the user ID in the “Principal Name” field. Click on the “show” button.
  3. In the “Logon id” column, click on the user ID to see the details.
  4. You will now see a list of personalized objects specific to the user. At this point you should select all objects from the list that relate to record working time. This may include iViews such as “com.sap.pct.erp.ess.recordworktime” or any ESS roles the user has personalized.
  5. Click on the “remove” button to revert the corrupted personalization data.
  6. Have the user log back into ESS and access Record Working Time. The application should now appear in all it's glory!

I hope you enjoyed following this mystery as much as I enjoyed solving it the first time. I have followed these same steps to resolve problems with other SAP Portal applications at three clients. Below is a summary of the steps I followed to solve the mystery:

  1. Confirm that the functionality (ESS Record Working Time) previously worked correctly
  2. Determine if any SAP upgrade recently took place
  3. Find out if other users are experiencing the same issue
  4. Have the user logon via a different PC
  5. Determine the version of SAP installed at the client
  6. Find out how users record their time in ESS
  7. Check to see if end user personalization is allowed
  8. Revert SAP Portal personalization of the iView
  9. Ask the end user to try ESS Record Working Time
  10. Quietly exclaim a victorious “yes”

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