Many SAP customers typically have several if not many ‘external’ or ‘third-party’ systems that interface with SAP. These ‘third-party’ systems typically exist before SAP has been implemented by the customer. Therefore it is difficult for customers to completely do away with these systems and incorporate SAP processes for their users. Most customers choose to integrate these systems with SAP by keeping these systems as ‘front end’ systems with SAP performing the work of a back end repository.
Many customers also have constraints during such implementations and it is sometimes impossible to change these ‘third-party’ systems to incorporate SAP objects (e.g. incorporating a SAP GL Account rather than the existing ‘third-party’ GL Account or incorporating a SAP Cost Center rather than the existing object to record costs)
Most companies then resort to what I refer to as an Accounting Key/Code in order to translate accounting objects from these systems to SAP.
These systems remain unchanged, however a UI can be built into SAP (with a custom form, tables etc) which stores the Accounting key of the third-party system/s and maps it to SAP Accounting elements. E.g. a simple key used by the third-party system can map to various accounting objects needed in SAP to make a posting.
|Accounting Key||SAP Debit GL A/c||SAP Credit GL A/c||Cost Center||WBS Element|
Inbound Interfaces to SAP can access a lookup table that will explode out these Accounting Elements in SAP thereby deriving SAP Accounting and enabling a document to be posted.
E.g. an interface can make a BAPI calling using objects derived from this table and post a document in SAP or the same interface can make a FM call once a document is posted into SAP using an Idoc.
I have worked with several customers that have used this process in order to keep their current systems intact and incorporate/integrate these systems with SAP. Changes involved are minimal and involve some amount of business process rework on the SAP side in order to keep adding/mapping new accounting objects in SAP to these keys. A recent customer used this process extremely effectively to leave intact their gigantic homegrown systems and incorporate SAP as a back end ‘work horse’ by posting all accounting into SAP.
Once customers start loving the feel and amazing power of SAP, user base makes a sufficient push to change these systems/throw them away outright and start using the power of SAP directly.