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SAP Talent Visualization by Nakisa (TVN) OrgChart seems such a simple tool to implement, but it is much more complicated than most people realise. Even implementing the basic out of the box solution can cause many headaches to inexperienced consultants. Once the initial hurdles have been overcome the consultant can get down to the real nitty gritty of configuration. While the Administrator Console is useful for basic configuration, the real nuts and bolts is in the XML files. And if you really want to delve deep into the bonnet of OrgChart there are always the XSL, ASPX and ASCX files…

 

While most clients are happy with out of the box configuration the best way to add value for the client or create a solution that really suits the business needs is to get configuring. While I won’t be going into detail about how to do any configurations – I’d need a whole blog on each item! – I will be hoping to let you know the type of things that can be done.

 

To really get the best out of OrgChart you need to delve into your build into the Admin_Config folder. The headlining act of the application build is the AppResources.xml file which contains about 90% of the application configuration. Some of the most useful configurations that can be done in AppResources.xml include adding View In links, using linked configurations, setting higher page limits, using the same details panels for search result object selection, using the same views between hierarchies and configuring More Details.

 

One of the most useful features in OrgChart is the View In links. These, when configured, are found in the details panel in TVN1.0/1.1 and in the details panel Actions menu in TVN2.0. These buttons then allow the object in the details panel to be shown in the specific hierarchy they are configured for (ie View In Organisation Structure on the Position details panel will show you the position in the Organisation Structure hierarchy). Linked configurations are extremely useful for configuring the application to allow data to be displayed from a different data element to the one you are using. Although they are incredibly useful they serve no aesthetic purpose within OrgChart itself. A good example of a linked configuration would be showing Cost Centre information from a Cost Centre table in an OrgUnit view. Another tip for saving configuration time is to set the details panel for an object selected in the search results to use the same details panel it would use when the object is selected in the hierarchy. Out of the box these use their own details panels. This can be the same for views. If you want your Position views to be the same in the OrgUnit Hierarchy/Organisation Structure as in the Position Hierarchy then you can set the view configurations to use the same detail configuration. Again, this serves little aesthetic value but makes configuration and maintenance simple and also gives consistency throughout the application.

 

The real mechanics for configuring how data is displayed in the views and the details panels belongs to the XSL templates found in the Templates folder. Using Xpath well in these files can give the consultant the power to display the data exactly how they want. Using icons in the views as ways of visualising information, such as full-time or part-time status, is a powerful way of displaying integral data in a minimal amount of space.

 

The most dynamic and important area of OrgChart, particularly for the client, is security. OrgChart has an excellent security model but, like Structural Authorizations in SAP, it is highly complex. Once the basic authentication is configured and the user object is populated, making use of configurations such as user starting point, dynamic security (derives & below, self & below etc), disabling default root etc are going to make OrgChart a much more secure place to display key business information – particularly personal information like salary and contract information. Being able to allow manager’s to see their staff’s pay details without showing the entire organisation’s pay details is a big bonus for a lot of organisations and takes away the need to access another application for this data

 

Whatever you choose to do with OrgChart it is always worth investing the time and money into developing the skillset to deliver some of these solutions. It is rare that I find a client that doesn’t want View In links for all it’s hierarchies or doesn’t want some form of dynamic security configuration. To delivery the ultimate client solution you really need to make sure you can get the best out of OrgChart.

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2 Comments

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  1. Mohammad Ali
    Hi Luke,
    Thanks for the blog. It’s quite helpful.

    I wonder the amount of effort it takes to develop an orgchart that displays both Org units as well as position hierarchy. Standard SAP currently does not support this, however, it offers various evaluation paths to reach the destination.

    Had you had any opportunity whereby each org unit in the org chart holds both the org unit as well as the chief position details followed by the position hierarchy for this org unit only (i.e. chief position in the org unit and below)… This way, the org chart goes through org units down to position hierarchy.

    To my understanding, this sort of solution is a customized one and I wonder if you have implemented one.

    Regards.

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    1. Luke Marson Post author
      Hi Mohammad,

      I’m glad you found the blog useful. I’ll be hoping to do some more soon.

      We often used the Staged solution for OrgChart because of the greater flexibility it offers in terms of data extraction and transformation. This is likely to change as OrgChart progresses with the technology enhancements I know they are making.

      The staged solution can allow for you to derive the position to position structure from the staff assignment structure. This coding can take a bit of time but once completed can be re-used in multiple implementations.

      By default OrgChart will show all positions that are within each orgunit only. For example, it will not show the entire position reporting structure from each orgunit unless you configure a parent field for the linked position hierarchy that is attached to your orgunit hierarchy.

      In all the implementations I have done we have only shown the positions that are inside each orgunit, including the chief.

      But the beauty of OrgChart is that most things can be achieved one way or another.

      I hope that helps!

      All the best,
      Luke

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