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SAP xRPM Resource and Portfolio Management the cross functional and ABAP-based SAP xApps perfectly closes the gap between (heterogeneous) operational business systems and strategic planning and analysis platforms like SAP Business Intelligence or SAP Strategic Enterprise Management. In this aspect integrated planning functionality is an important topic. Integrated planning on cross application platforms, or better on various levels, can be seen as a theory based business issue, where known management and controlling approaches provide theoretical guidelines and basics for nice presentations. But what does the practical implementation and solution with SAP xApps look like?

This Weblog gives some answers to the following questions:

Question 1: In which business systems should the planning take part ?

Question 2: Where is planning integration possible and where does it make sense ?

Question 3: How is planning integration in SAP xRPM done ? (How-to-do-guide)

This Weblog exactly addresses these 3 questions and thereby provide practicable samples of financial integration in a SAP xRPM solution. In this Weblog I will refer to the actual SAP Releases of the involved business systems on SAP NetWeaver 04 as follows:

– SAP xRPM Release 2.0

– SAP ECC5.0

– SAP BW 3.5 

Question 1: In which business systems should the planning take part ?

Before looking into the planning features of the involved application components on a technical level I want to refer to a more theoretical management theory. In this theory there are 3 different management levels on each planning, controlling and governance systems have to be installed. The three management level are

A)     strategic management

B)     tactical management

C)     operational management

With this three management tiers in mind it is much easier to understand integrated planning and management scenarios in the SAP xApps solution world.

On a operational level planning has to be very close to resource management and therefore the best planning function is the ERP-integrated one. This means that planning functionality from the SAP ECC5.0 fits best. For financial planning scenarios it is now a matter of the controlling concept and the used costelements which SAP ECC5.0 financial planning functionality can and should be used. As for the actual Release the SAP ECC Component is still a quite SAPgui-orientated one , the question occurs how to integrate the SAP ECC planning features into the Enterprise Portal and the SAP xApps solution in general. I come back to this question in the next chapter.

The tactical management level is the most difficult one to handle with a software system because it is on one side very dynamic and refers to many heterogeneous planning elements ( e.g. programs, projects and project ideas). But on the other side, it needs as well the strong integration into the operational process, in order to get the actual data in fast feedback loops. The tactical planning very often combines portfolio planning or simulation with a top down or bottom up masterplanning approach. For this kind of tactical planning the cross application architecture is ideal and offers the right combination of dynamic and integration. Therefore tactical planning should be based on the xApps solution, which in the context means SAP xRPM. With SAP xRPM 2.0 a very nice simulation functionality is delivered, but financial planning functionality in SAP xRPM itself is a feature for the next release xRPM4.0 (and for my next Weblog). This brings up the question how to handle the tactical planning in a SAP xRPM 2.0 solution. I come back to this question in chapter 3, where I describe in detail a possible solution. The simulation functionality in SAP xRPM is for the tactical management level a very important tool especially because it is connected to the priorization scenario. In this aspect tactical planning and simulation is very often more or less the same thing.

Strategic management is about the definition of business goals and strategies on corporate level in order to break them down in strategic elements and initiatives. Therefore strategic planning are hierarchical top-down scenarios starting from a corporate high-level node. In order to support these kind of management processes and the decisions behind them SAP offers a wide functionality with the SAP SEM component in combination with SAP BW. Breaking down strategic planning the model comes to the important role of strategic elements and initiatives. And this is where the tactical levels comes into action. In this aspect the integration of tactical orientated portfolio management in SAP xRPM and strategic management with SAP SEM seams become a important issue. But how is this integration possible and how is it implemented ? I come back to this question in the following two chapters (and in following weblogs), but first I want to summarise the facts.

FACTSHEET:

Management levels:

A)     strategic B) tactical C) operational

SAP components / solutions

A)     SAP SEM & SAP BW B) SAP xRPM C) SAP ERP

Planning levels

A)     Flexible hierarchy & top down from corporate strategy to strategy elements and initiatives

B)     Portfolio and Program hierarchy from strategic elements and initiatives down to projects

C)     Project / cost-element for projects

Integration issues

A)     – B) : SAP SEM – SAP xRPM on strategic elements & initiaitives level

B)     – C) : SAP xRPM – SAP ERP on project level

Question 2: Where is planning integration possible and where does it make sense ?

The area in which financial planning can take place are shown in the first chapter. Now I want to leave this theoretical approach and come more into the reality of the actual SAP Components and their integration.

SAP xRPM 2.0 is a ABAP Data-Model based composite application and the focus in the development was the integration to a set of operational systems including SAP and non-SAP solutions. Therefore the integration issue B) –C): SAP xRPM – SAP ERP is covered very well in an adapter- and object-based out-of-the-box solution, whereas the other integration and planning scenario can be achieved with customer solutions and extensions. These scenarios and integration functionalities are extended in SAP xRPM 4.0. An integration scenario with the strategic management level in SAP SEM is also possible, but this scenario has be established by the customer themselves, because there is not yet a xRPM planning or BSC – scenario in the SEM Business Content. To do this, a customer can decide on the important KPI’s from the xRPM-solution and then implement SEM-functionalities on top of the delivered xRPM 2.0 BW-Content from SAP. Doing this the customer has all the functional features in his SAP SEM solution using xRPM content as data and/or planning model. Important to consider is the fact that right now there is no direct linkage between the elements of the BSC in SAP SEM and the xRPM portfolio-elements (xRPM projects). But there are two indirect links between the balanced scorecard BSC and xRPM. The first one is via the linkage of SAP PS Projects and BSC-initiatives with an additional operational integration scenario between SAP xRPM Project and SAP ECC5.0 PS Project in a closed and automated one-to-one manner. The second way can be achieved either by using one SAP xRPM element (e.g. a masterproject) as a reference for a strategic element in a customer BSC with the relevant KPI’s or by using the xRPM projects as breakdown-attributes in drill-down reports for specific strategic elements in the customer BSC.

Now before coming to a how-to-do guideline for tactical financial planning in SAP xRPM 2.0 I want to summarize the facts for planning features and integration in an SAP xRPM 2.0 landscape.

FACTSHEET:

Planning levels
D) Flexible hierarchy & top down from corporate strategy to strategy elements and initiatives
–> possible with SAP SEM functionalities in customer defined BSC or performance monitors / cockpits with additional BPS business planning & simulation models
E) Portfolio and Program hierarchy from strategic elements and initiatives down to projects
–> not yet possible in an out-of-the-box solution with SAP xRPM 2.0 (important feature with SAP xRPM 4.0 – next Weblog)
–> possible with a customer extension (see chapter 3 “how-to-do-guide”)
F) Project / cost-element for projects
–> possible in two scenarios:


> A: SAP ECC PS Project System based (multi-level full ERP integrated)


> B: SAP PLM cProjects with an integration to SAP ECC CO Controlling (single

             level integration to one CO order for the whole project)

Integration issues

C)     – B) : SAP SEM – SAP xRPM on strategic elements & initiaitives level

–> possible only based on SAP SEM functionalities in an indirect manner using xRPM BW content

D)     – C) : SAP xRPM – SAP ERP on project level

–> possible with both scenario A & B, as well as with integration scenarios based on the usage of non-SAP Project Management Tools like Microsoft Projects (see SAP standard xRPM 2.0 documentation)

Question 3: How is planning integration in SAP xRPM done ? (How-to-do-guide)

The situation can be described as follows:

You are or intent using SAP xRPM 2.0 and the users / customers are looking for a possibility to plan their financials figures like costs and revenues per weeks/ month and/or quarters directly in the xRPM project screen.

A possible solution would be to program this functionality, according to the needs in a customer extension by using UI-techniques like ABAP BSP or WebDynpro JAVA in combination with an ABAP Model. I have made some experience with this possibility in customer projects and this solution is quite expensive and not very flexible. In the following “how-to-guide” I will provide you with a easy-to-implement and fully integrated SAP BW-BPS based solution, just follow the step-by-step description:

The prerequisites are a SAP xRPM 2.0 systemlandscape with a SAP BW and the latest content release for xRPM 2.0 (activated and configured) as well as some basic knowledge of Enterprise Portal Content Administration and BW-BPS Business Planning & Simulation.

1) Building a BPS-planning scenario based on xRPM BW content

– Logon to your BW-system and client.

– Enter the BW administrator workbench (RSA1), choose the xRPM content area and create a new InfoCube (based on a 0RPM_C03 copy)

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–     After creating and activating the new transactional InfoCube start the “Planning Workbench” (BPS0) and build up your planning model by creating a planning area based on the new InfoCube

(for extended planning scenarios e.g. example with planning functions for coping actual cost figures, you can create a multi planning area, whereas in this how-to-guide I will refer to a simple planning area)

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–     Define some variables for the planning area too, at least one for the xRPM Project ID.

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–     The next step is to create a planning level in your scenario (for further information please refer to the SAP BW BPS literature) by choosing characteristics and key figures for the planning model

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–     Create a variable-binding in the selection tab for project ID

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–     Create a planning package

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–     The next step then is to define some planning functions, which fulfil the users needs (at least a manual planning function is needed) …

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–     …Therefore follow the steps in the “planning function” wizard, the result in a very simple manner can look like this (please save the whole BPS planning scenario)

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–     In order to create a web-based financial planning entry-screen,  I recommend first to create a planning folder (UPSPM) and then a SAP standard web-template (Web Interface Builder BPS_WB). For your own planning scenario

you can also design and create a more sophisticated web template using other techniques (depending on your SAP BW BPS and Web-Template  skills) in later releases you can therefore use also the SAP visual composer)

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So far we created our Web-BPS-Template for the  xRPM content. Now we will see how integration into SAP xRPM 2.0 Solution can be achieved.

2) Building a “BSP-wrapper for the BPS-Web-Templates”

At this point I should mention, that information-scanning in the SDN is a very important issue, as you might know, and therefore I refer to another “How-to-guide” I found in the SDN forum and thanks (a million) to Gerd Schöffl from SAP AG, who provided me with this guideline and further information to integrate Web-BPS with predefined Selections. The version I used is called:

How To call a BPS Web Interface with Predefined Selections Version 1.00; November 2004

To give you an idea how the integration can be designed based on the guideline, I will provide a short introduction of the issue:

“In BPS variables are used for interactively setting selections. The user itself usually does this. On the other hand the BPS provides an API that can be used for setting variables. In order to get the desired functionality we have to automate the setting of the variables. We solve this problem by using a BSP application that sets variable values that are transferred by the URL and then automatically starts the web interface. As we do not want to create a BSP application for each web interface where we want to use with this functionality, we also specify the name of the web interface in the URL. (…)”

Of course this “wrapper-functionality” can also be achieved by a JAVA-based WebDynpro Component using the API from SAP BW-BPS.

As a result you have created a Web-BSP-application that can be called with additional html-parameters for your planning area and for variables you want to define as preselected for the then starting BPS planning scenario. (e.g. http://

.

:8080/sap/bc/bsp/sap/zxrpmplanner/xrpmplanner.htm? area=xrpmfp3&bps-appl=z500upsxrpmfp3&var1=period&value1_1=2006& var2=projid&value2_1=1234)

The next and last step leads us to the SAP xRPM 2.0 Enterprise Portal Integration of the new created “wrapper-BSP” for our BPS.

3) Integration into SAP Enterprise Portal xRPM Content

–     Logon to your EP as content administrator

–     Navigate to the xRPM-Business-Package content

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–     There you can find a folder with iviews for projects and in this folder a very useful so called “Project Application Proxy”-iview

–     Copy this iview in order to embed a new application components like our new planning scenario in the xRPM application

–     Open the copied iview and see the description: “Calls an external URL (including the project ID as a parameter) and displays the result in a HTMLB Container”  (this is exactly what we need, because it is exactly what our BSP-wrapper-application from step 2 does).

–     Search for an iview-attribute named “Target URL …”, here we change the example-URL delivered by SAP and put in our BSP-wrapper URL from above  (e.g. http://” (the exact spelling is important)

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–     Next step is to create a new page in the portal content and place the new iView onto it (please keep the PCD-Location of this new page in mind because it is needed in one of the next steps)

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–     As SAP xRPM 2.0 is using the SAP Enterprise Portal Dynamic Navigation we will have to extend the new page with this functionality – therefore we select the Dynamic Navigation option and place the xRPM Project Info-iView onto it by adding a delta link

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–     Now the next step is to open exactly this added xRPM Project Info iView in edit mode with all attributes

–     There we find the so called “ActionPageID_nn”-attributes and corresponding label attributes where we can extend and customize the xRPM navigation

–     We add our new integrated financial planning feature by putting in the PCD-Location of the new page from above and a choosen label

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(NOTE: There are also other ways to extend xRPM Project Navigation, please refer to the SAP Configuration guideline of your Release and SP)

–     As SAP xRPM 2.0 also uses hidden folder for Enterprise Portal pages in the xRPM Portal Roles, we now have to place our new page into this hidden folder. Open therefore the corresponding portal role and place the new page into the hidden folder by using a delta link

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As a result we have a new financial planning feature in our xRPM project which can look similar to this one.

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This integration topic was one of the critical issue in a EMEA sales case for a large and innovativ SAP customer. I hope it helps you too, when it comes to integrated planning feautures for xRPM (NOTE: it is not only mentioned for financial planning – it can also be used for other planning area).

The next Release xRPM 4.0 has extended possibilities for financial and capacity planning which will be the topic of my next Weblog.

  

 

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3 Comments

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  1. Johannes Bacher
    Hi Vincenco,
    this is an excellent weblog – very interesting!
    I could not find your mentioned weblog on xrpm 4.00… hope this one will appear soon!

    Now regardinf xRPM FI/CO integration i have a question:
    What integration functions are possible with xRPM4.0 and R3 46c as a backend system? I would need more details on that and cannot find it in the guides. Especially:
    – can I upload financial data (plan/actual) from 46c to xRPM ?
    – can I link items and/or projects with CO-orders and/or WBS-elements ? and what data is exchanged between linked items ?

    We will upgrade to ERP2005 earliest end of 2008 – that is why I have to cope with 46c environment….

    thanks for your help!
    Johannes

    (0) 
  2. Johannes Bacher
    Hi Vincenco,
    this is an excellent weblog – very interesting!
    I could not find your mentioned weblog on xrpm 4.00… hope this one will appear soon!

    Now regardinf xRPM FI/CO integration i have a question:
    What integration functions are possible with xRPM4.0 and R3 46c as a backend system? I would need more details on that and cannot find it in the guides. Especially:
    – can I upload financial data (plan/actual) from 46c to xRPM ?
    – can I link items and/or projects with CO-orders and/or WBS-elements ? and what data is exchanged between linked items ?

    We will upgrade to ERP2005 earliest end of 2008 – that is why I have to cope with 46c environment….

    thanks for your help!
    Johannes

    (0) 
  3. Johannes Bacher
    Hi Vincenco,
    this is an excellent weblog – very interesting!
    I could not find your mentioned weblog on xrpm 4.00… hope this one will appear soon!

    Now regardinf xRPM FI/CO integration i have a question:
    What integration functions are possible with xRPM4.0 and R3 46c as a backend system? I would need more details on that and cannot find it in the guides. Especially:
    – can I upload financial data (plan/actual) from 46c to xRPM ?
    – can I link items and/or projects with CO-orders and/or WBS-elements ? and what data is exchanged between linked items ?

    We will upgrade to ERP2005 earliest end of 2008 – that is why I have to cope with 46c environment….

    thanks for your help!
    Johannes

    (0) 

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