Now that 3.0 has “hit the shelves” I wanted to show some of the enhancement capabilities offered by the current and previous versions of the products. Implementers and users of the previous versions will be glad to know that many of the previous configurations can still be performed in 3.0. In this blog I’m going to share a brief overview of some of the possible configurations that I have performed in various applications from the STVN series and that I know can be performed in VSN 3.0.
Due to various reasons (legal, lack of system availability etc) some of the screenshots have been simulated or the configurations have been re-performed on a demo system.
Because I like bullet point lists, you can find a summary of the contents of this blog below:
- Node colour changes
- Analytics (Views, Statistics and Charts)
- Derived S A 002 S relationships
Now I’m not going to go into much detail here, as I think most people are aware of the ability for VSN applications to display and visualize data. I think the title is a bit of a giveaway. But the power of VSN is such that you can display any data from SAP in Live or Staged mode. Even data from customer-specific infotypes can be displayed Live from the SAP system leveraging SAP’s standard and Structural Authorization models.
And from 3.0 you can now use your BAPIs and RFCs to display data Live from SAP. This essentially means the need to use a Staged database are dramatically reduced. I often use the Staged because most clients have complex data transformation or analytical requirements, but these requirements could often be met through some clever ABAP coding if such functionality allowed VSN applications to use them. Well now there is.
One of my favourite functionalities in the VSN is the ability to display important data simply, through the use of icons. The use of XSL templates gives a lot of power in using icons without performing large amounts of configuration. Even the structure of the data does not need to be reduced to columns of X’s.
Some examples of icons I have used in OrgChart and SuccessionPlanning (all of which either come with VSN applications or have been taken from SAP using the classic Print Screen key) include:
- Obsolete Position
- Filled through External Hire
- Part of Reorganization
Of course it is possible to use your own icons and I have, for various clients, created my own simple, business-specific icons.
Node colour changes
Something that isn’t commonly used, but is quite fancy, is the possibility of changing an org chart node to a different colour based on an attribute. Using ASCII colour codes means the possibilities for colours are endless.
This type of configuration is not only quite complex, but it is also very rewarding. Configuring analytics in OrgChart not only requires creating a structured dataset, but also requires some more complex than usual configurations that don’t follow the standard application structure. However, once done they look great.
Below are some examples of a Position Headcount analytical view, Education demographic pie chart and Service Year bar chart.
Another interesting enhancement that can be created is an additional orgchart. Generally most clients can cope with the Organizational Structure orgchart and quite commonly the Position Hierarchy orgchart. However, some organizations like to use their own specific organizations and luckily orgchart, being an organizational charting application, can handle this quite well.
In the example below my client created a custom relationship between positions and orgunits and then created an evaluation path to display this structure. To make things a bit more difficult than normal they insisted on separating a particular group of employees and displaying them directly below the manager they reported to.
Derived S A 002 S relationships
Last but not least is a popular one in Europe, the derived S A 002 S relationships. For readers not based in Europe, here it is SAP best practice to not maintain these relationships, which means in OrgChart the Position Hierarchy orgchart is deemed redundant. Luckily enough using the Staged architecture (or Live if you have some clever ABAPers and SAP boffins) you can recreate these relationships in your database.
This is not an exhaustive list by any means, and with knowledge of ASPX/Java and a sound knowledge of how the application works most requirements can be met. Complex security requirements such as starting at the user’s orgunit/position or restricting data to user groups (see my blog on Configuring Security in STVN2.1 OrgChart), hyperlinks or changing functionality such as Selected Items behaviour are other things which can be achieved.
I hear stories of SIs telling their clients the application cannot do this or it cannot do that – but in most cases with the right consultants it can. If in doubt my advice is to always put requirements, that to your knowledge, can’t be fulfilled in a “car park” and then spend some time checking if they can be required. If you look hard enough you will find a way to achieve them.