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Which is the difference between SAP PPM & SAP PS?

* Prologue

About a year ago I have been in the Headquarters of SAP Argentina, in a meeting with a SAP pre sales employee, who said to me:

– Mariano tell me, which is the difference between SAP PPM (Portfolio & Project Management)  and SAP PS (Project System)? –

I responded to her with a lot of explanations and examples, but she didn’t understand. Why? Because she didn’t think about like a Project Manager.

The Portfolio Manager have to use the system every day, to follow and control all their projects.

Some SAP PS Consultants tell me:

– Hey!! Are you implementing SAP PPM? Wow!! that’s very wonderful!! – […] – What is it? –

Then when I answered the question:

– But It’s usable? – ……

They didn’t understand. Why? Because they didn’t think about like a Project Manager.

The Project Manager have to use the system everyday, to know the task of all their resources.

When I had finished to implement SAP PS in the most important electric company here in Argentina, the Operation Manager tell me:

– Thank Mariano for your help, but we still have to use Microsoft Project for all our Operational Projects, because SAP PS doesn’t offers a complete solution to follow up projects. It’s a heavy tool unflexible that only has an integrated structure with other modules process that was created after ’80s. We need a dinamic and flexible tool. We will use SAP PS to inform all project’s revenues and costs. – That was his point of view. Most of Project Managers need a control panel to simplify their project analysis. So that’s why they are using primitive tools like Microsoft Project or Microsoft Excel. I say primitive tools to any that doesn’t have integration with the rest. That’s why it SAP PPM exists, because they Changes User Interface Technology and the Navigation Paradigm with a new functionality different to SAP PS.

* What is SAP PS?

– SAP Project System (PS) is the module within SAP that handles the full cycle of planning and execution of Projects. It integrates between all other modules enabling projects to be executed efficiently, with appropriate timing and within established budget. The SAP PS optimizes the business processes from project planning through to carrying out the project and enables a project progress analysis. You can plan, carry out and control projects in a target-orientated and a business fashion.

You structure your project per the following points of view:

  • By structures, using a work breakdown structure (WBS)
  • By process, using individual activities (work packages)

* What is SAP PPM?–  Portfolio Management integrates information from existing project management, human resources, and financial systems to provide an overview of project portfolio with easy drilldown to details for portfolio managers, project managers, and resource managers. This enables innovative and collaborative, cross-functional business processes. – Project Managment covers the entire range of project management activities in development and consultancy projects, from planning to implementation to project completion (including engineers projects). Supports organizations to grow their project management excelence by providing solid standalone project management core support, offering a wide range of integration options, new product development and introduction, consulting projects and IT projects. You can structure your project & portfolio per the following point of view:

  • Project Management –> Helps you manage phase-based development projects.
  • Portfolio Management —> You can address the strategic aspects of portfolio management, monitor project status – including information about project resources – and manage your entire project portfolio.
  • Seamlessly integrate with one another to give you optimal management tools.

* The difference between SAP PPM & SAP PS are:

– Technically talking in SAP PS you have: Project Definitions, WBSs (Work Breakdown Structure’s) with Network’s and Operations, in SAP PPM you have Initiatives, Items, Decisión Points, Projects, Phases, Tasks, CheckList and Checklist Items. The truly difference are the usage of all of thous object’s to represent an Idea and follow a object with an Stage-Gate metodology.

* Can I use SAP PS to represent the Initiative or Idea of a future project?.

– Yes, but could be very restricted and limited in functionality. It’s not the goal. From standard way –> PS doesn´t support draft (before the project).

– You can efficiently monitor projects, including management of project costs and revenue. This component covers the controlling and logistics aspect of project management and is used often for project management in the manufacturing industry.

* Can I use SAP PPM to replace SAP PS?

– No, you would need use SAP PS if you want to integrate Revenue and Costs to SAP PPM. You can replace SAP PS with SAP CO to integrate Revenue and Costs (without any WBS structure) using Internal Orders.

        * Don’t forget that SAP PPM was created to cover from the beginning at the end of all Portfolio and Project Managers activities.

        * Don’t forget that SAP PS is usually used for key users (project leaders), administrators users or controllers.

Hope this post could help you.

Best regards.




SAP PPM Overview –>

My SAP PPM Experience –>

Slideshare –>

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    • Amaresh;


      Thank you for your comment.

      The SAP consultant sometimes has to teach.

      It's a pleasure write in this blog.


      Best regards & good SAP PPM implementation.


      • Hello Mariano,


        Thanks for your PPM introduction. I found it really good.

        I need you concern regarding one of my decision. I have 1 and half years of IT experience in which I was a part of Java J2EE development.As I have a weakness towards SAP modules, I have learnt SAP SCM (SNP Module) for 5 months. Though I don't know much about this SAP module, I got a chance for SAP PPM consulting role which I have already chosen.


        Please needed your view whether I took a right decision or not. Now I can feel comfortable in PPM now.


        thanks in advance



        • Hi Anil;


          Thank you for your comment.


          I recommend you to get learn SAP PS (Project System) with manuals:

          •PLM200 Business Processes in Project Management.

          •PLM210 - Project Management - Structures

          •PLM220 - Project Management - Logistics

          •PLM230 - Project Management - Controlling

          •PLM235 - Project Controlling with WBS


          Also, you can take this course for free in "SAP Learnning HUB" course PL200e_en_10 with 12 hrs.


          It's a right decisión, but if you take the SAP PS course to get another SAP module, will be much better. Get 2 or more modules in a process solution, for example SAP PLM (Product Life Cicle Management), because you can take a globally visión of business process.


          Exists a lot of consultant that can configure SAP modules, but only a few can know process.


          Hope I can help you.

          Best Regards,


  • Mariano,


    Excellent overview and comparison! I too have seen a lot of folks are confused by the usage of the 2 modules. One of the issue I believe is most people think of PPM and PS as 2 competing modules which have similar functionality. In reality, these are 2 complementary modules, each with it's own capabilities. For example, PS does not have any portfolio management capabilities. PPM does not have strong project cost management capabilities. Implementing PPM with integration to PS will enable an end-to-end integrated portfolio and project management process which includes detailed project costing, eliminating the need to use tools such as MS Project and Excel.


    Thanks for the useful post.




    • Lashan;


      Thank you for your comment!

      You are right!! Because before implement this solution the consultant have to understand the vision of the user. The SAP PS consultants must change the way of think.

      Thank you very much for your contribution.


      Best Regards.


  • Mariano,


    Good as an introductory to the PPM / PS discussion. Just felt I had to add something to discussion which i think is imporaten people with limited knowledge of PPm / PS to understand.


    I do not agree with the above statement from Lashan that PPM / PS are complimentary instead of competing modules.


    For that it's importanjt to look at a bit of history. The Old RPM (Portfolio Managegen) has been been developed in the US, almost completely detached from anything built originally in Walldorf (read PS). cProjects a a project management module was developed in Walldorf as a project management "light" solution as an alternative to PS for clients which didn't need all the integration PS (also a project management administration) can give you.


    Since then SAP has been trying to integrate the three, as to where only now thse attempt actually start to become usefull and succesful.


    Up untill PPM 5.0 you needed cProjects (project administration) as an interface between your program / portfolio administration and PS (also project administration). This lead to hugely complex integration scenario's, of which I had to advice strongly against with certain clients.


    Luckily SAP is now slowly moving to the scenario where:


    1. The Program / Portfolio component in PPM is meant for managing your project(s) thoughout the lifecycle taking projects through stage gate decisions.

    2. Depending on the complexity / required integration of your project administration you then either choose the project management module in PPM (old cProjects) or ECC PS as your project management application.


    From that point of view PPM's project management module and PS are competing applications, and it requires thorough knowledge of the business requirements, the business process and knowledge of the two applications to make a sounds decision.




    Gijs Gijsbrechts

    • Gijs Gijsbrechts;

      Thank you for your comment.

      I think that are different points of views with Lashan Wanigatunda, but it's true.
      You can use PS like a SAP PPM competing application. It's a business decision to technical solution.

      When I have been finish to implement SAP PS in a Metal Industry and configured SAP ERP PS to manage projects with the Planning board (like cProject function), also I can configure SAP ERP PS to simulate a Portfolio Managment like a competing application.

      Your comment it's valid, and it's important to know that SAP Consultant have to make the difference to requirements.


      Thank you for your support.
      Best regards,


  • Hi Mariano and Gijs Gijsbrechts,

          thank you for the comments, they are very helpful for me.

    I'm PS consultant and I'm really interesting about this topic; maybe you can share your ideas:

    - resource managment: PS/ERP is limited about planning, checking capacity, replanning resources on project activities. PPM seems to be more flexible: it is true? 


    Thank you


    • Hi Leonardo,


      I'm not overly enthousiastic on resourcing using project management (cProjects) in PPM. It is somewhat more straightforward than resource management in PS. Has the advantage of being role based resourcing instead of work center based as in PS. However cProjects is still a fairly limited project management tool, has the disadvantage of only being able to do phase based project management.


      Furthermore you can end up in quite complex scenario's if as a client you already have PS up and running, and need to implement a second project management tool maybe just for scheduling purposes.


      Just implementing cProjects (next to PS) just for planning / resourcing purposes might lead to dissapppointment as expectations of the client are too high.


      For basic resourcing I'd say using cProjects is more easy, straightforward. But for complex projects and scheduling I'd look at MRS for being able to do a better job.





    • Hi Leonardo;

      Thank you for your comment.


      SAP PPM 5.0 it's very new, and I think that in new versions will exist a lot of DELTAs.
      Implementation of SAP PPM will depend of client and exists a lot of variants like any other SAP solution.

      For example: SAP PPM has different objectives if you wanted to think in: preprojects, ideas, stage-gates solutions, differents point of users view, follow up projects, integration with other modules, and more...

      If you are interested in a integral solution for projects, I recomend you implement & study SAP PPM.


      Like Gijs Gijsbrechts has mentioned, you will find a lot of SAP solution to perform your operational process: MRS, HHRR, SolMan, RMS, DMS, Cfolder, and more..

      All SAP solution have integration to SAP PPM, the truly and real benefit.


      Best regards.


  • Hi Mariano,


    Good positive attempt to educate beginners on PPM.


    It would have been really more interesting if you had quoted with some comparitive examples.


    Neverthless its an eye opener to PPM I can say..





    • Hi Mohan;


      Thank you for your reply.

      I hope to incorporate examples for the next blog. More advanced!! So prepare yourself!!


      Best regards.



  • Hi Mariano,


    pleasse your help...I'm configuring ppm and can not find information about transfer the real cost shifting from ps to ppm


    a) how we present actual cost transfer from ps to PPM?

    b) How to link the view financial for pep element? if not handled recuersos by ppm

    c) How do we complete the financial view: 08 Currently, 07 Commitments, Current 06 Plan? Views created in Y50 guide


    thanks for you help


    Best regards.


  • I've often fretted with the question, "Why PS", or "Why cProjects"?  This is, of course with regard to project management.  The truth is, you can get your investment's worth with either.  And I personally think it's a preference for most companies because, unless you're in an environment where complex requirements are needed, most companies really just need a simple, easy, and straightforward way to manage projects but still be able to connect to all the "meat and potatoes" functions of an ERP system.  Else, you can get the same with Microsoft Project, or ... well ... with Excel and a lot of wasted overhead.


    In the case of PPM, ECC will still, no matter what, remain your system of record for Resource data (Central Persons, Employee, Org, Capacity, etc. via HR Business Partner), and Cost Planning (which we already know has to go through PS if it's to be anything complex).  PPM is definitely not just an extension of PS --- but isn't PS so powerful because it's considered one of the most integrated modules in all of SAP?  But do most companies really utilize all of its integration functions?


    In my humble opinion, the main and most powerful differentiator between PS and PPM to me lies in the *collaboration* aspect of the presentation layer, how its UI can be easily fine-tuned to the most basic End-User specs, and how well it can integrate with other modules.  Simply put, PPM is web-based, can be exposed to external users, facilitates project execution through task management, and natively uses BOBJ (and BW of course) for reporting.  PPM is NOT a Project Manager's tool:  It is a Project Team's tool.


    And to make it a true PM end-user's tool, the Web Dynpro and Floorplan Manager method of configuring and maintaining UI objects makes the PPM UI so much easier to work with and customize than straighforward ABAP screens rendered through the SAPGUI.  Now, it's not saying that PS can't be rendered through a browser --- there's the WEBGUI that can do that.  But for those organizations that have project managers working in the Microsoft toolset, or Primavera, or your basic Excel PM shop, etc. --- you need to work with a solution that's got a straight shot to winning at User Experience.


    Most clients, and especially those who need to either grow or expand their Project Management practice, need and want simple, with some reliable integration.  And the many benefits of an integrated ERP system is available in PPM, without necessarily introducing its usual complexities, and especially when talking about the UI.

    But if more demanding integration is required, PPM can integrate with the rest of ECC via PS and all its functions, as well as that of other ECC functions through WebGUI using Object Link functionality.  The most common services (TCodes) are readily available in the standard config.  And it does exceptionally well with integrating with other WDP / web-based applications such as PLM, CRM, SRM, DMS (cFolders), BOBJ and CATS Web, thanks to the NW Portal.  Add the ability to present dashboards and reporting elements like Xcelsius (BO Dashboards) and BCV, and it's now a PM cockpit.  I wouldn't normally broadcast this in public, but I've actually showcased PPM web applications in a browser window that also contains BOBJ reports, SharePoint lists and other web parts/applications... and a jpeg of Charlie Sheen with a caption that says, "Winning!"


    As for Portfolio Management, I think we all can appreciate that within the SAP space this something rather unique to PPM.  Though it still of course has its shortcomings.  After all, it did its debut as an xApp 


    (sorry attempt at humor)


    In an industry where firms like Gartner constantly devalue SAP in the Portfolio and Project Management space compared to newer, more "agile" products just because of ease of use, portability, and extensibility --- we all have heard it:  SAP is not Microsoft!


    But if critics were more aware that this module called PPM exists, perhaps SAP for Portfolio and Project Management would have quite a different valuation.


    Just my $ 0.02.



    - Lawrence

    • Lawrence;


      I think that we are talking in other blogs, in most cases Clients, Companies or Managers doesn´t know the benefits of SAP PS & SAP PPM integration. But this integration depends of Business Process.


      Case N°1: In a big company you have implemented SAP PS like a controlling costs, they want to manage a Portfolio with an organizational structure.

      You have two posibilities of implement SAP PPM:


      1) PPM with Portfolio & Project Management, and manage your projects from PPM using integration with SAP PS to controls costs.


      2) PPM with Portfolio Monitoring (RDS) and improve SAP PS using tool like Project Management with Networks and Operations. This is possible.


      The true question is: Which solution the client will choose?

      The Client will choose with this variables:


      A) Time & Costs of implementation.

      B) Effort & Knowledge


      And probably they priorize using the "A" variable and second the "B" variable, depends in external or internal consultancy.


      Homework: Try to find which solution will choose.


      I'm not in accordance with you, because PPM have to be useful for PMO and to those Project Managers that work every day with the tool in that case. Thats why SAP PPM consultant have to work very hard to give all users the different visión of PPM, with Portfolio & Project Management (RPM & cProject), giving reports like BCV in NWBC and BI Queries & to control authorization with differents user roles.


      I have been realizing with +300 users that SAP PPM have a lot of information to give to users and it's important to simplified the screens like I see in any other Brazilian & Colombian implementation. In SAP PPM 6.0 with HANA this problem are very simple to fix and solved, more tan versión 5.0.


      Thank you for your interest and comment in this blog.

      Best regards.



      • Hi Mariano,


        Your blog is a very good read. I have come across several customers, who tried to use SAP PS for managing complete capital project management, but ended up only using the cost controlling part. Now I see efforts to position PPM as a simpler scheduling tool, with hopefully lesser resistance from Project Managers, but i feel there may be challenges in schedule mapping from PPM to PS (to use dates alignment for procurement, or use some cash flow planning) , or may be PPM scheduling may not be able to handle need of capital projects.


        I hope to know , what is your experience/opinion in this regard ? 

        • Hi Kazim;


          Thank you for your comment.

          You are right, users always want to use SAP PS for everything, including all end to end capital project management, and this are not sustainable in time, so it's possible to using PS like a cost structure.


          I recommend you to use integration with Microsoft Project or Primavera to scheduling in SAP PPM to be more user friendly. Because are very tedious to complete tasks in cProject/Project Management in SAP PPM.


          Best regards,


  • Hi,


    There is also a solution called 'SAP Commercial Project Management'.



    1. How does this fit into the solution landscape?

    2. Whats the relationship between PPM and Commercial Project Management?

    3. Who's the target user group for CPM in terms of industry and role?

    4. Does CPM support engineer-to-order project manufacturing scenario?


    Best regards,

    Peeter Pärna

  • I thought Project Versions are drafts of the Project in PS.     Also, I thought Earned Value Management tracks the progress of Projects over time (Time phased).

    Indicators Metrics Formula Definition
    PV Planned Value Approved budget for work that is scheduled to be completed by a certain date in the future.  Also known as BCWS
    BCWS Budgeted Cost of Work Scheduled see PV
    BAC Budget at Completion Total amount of money that you’re expecting to spend to finish a particular task or for the entire project.
    EV Earned Value = BAC x % Complete Value of the Performance Budget to the work completed.  Also known as BCWP
    BCWP Budgeted Cost of Work Performed See EV
    AC Actual Cost spent =sum of Actual cost to date Actual Cost spent to get a certain task done by a certain time.  Also known as ACWP.
    ACWP Actual Cost of Work Performed see AC
    SV Schedule Variance =EV-PV Schedule Variance is a number that tracks how long you thought a task would take during planning versus how long it actually took and how that relates to the money you’re spending.  The number you’re left with is the amount of money that delays have cost you and your team so far.
    CV Cost Variance =EV-AC  same as BCWP-ACWP Cost Variance allows you to see the discrepancy between the amount of value that you earned on a task and the actual cost that ask required to perform.
    SPI Schedule Performance Index =EV/PV  same as BCWP/BCWS It answers the question “am I using my time wisely?” SPI provides an instantaneous check on schedule at any point in the project.
    CPI Cost Performance Index =EV/AC  same as BCWP/ACWP Lets you look at not just how much money you’re spending to complete a project, but how well that money is being utilized.  Provides an instantaneous check on cost performance at any point in the project.
    EAC Estimate total cost At Completion =BAC/CPI Estimate the total cost of a task (or Project or what is being measures) as of today, taking into account the work that you’ve already done. Take the approved budget that you have for the entire task and subtract from it the cost variance for all of the work that you’ve done to date
    ETC Estimate cost To Complete =EAC-AC  same as EAC-ACWP What it will take to finish a particular task, accounting for all of the work that you’ve done up to this point.  Theoretically, ETC and EAC should have the same value are the very start of the project.
  • Hi Marino,

    In Case of R&D Line of Business..Can we use only SAP PS for Stage Gates Process or We have to use Combination of SAP PPM and SAP PS both together to achieve Stage Gate Process flow.

    If so, Could you share some more details on the same in terms of integration as well.

    Please Recommend..



  • Thank you Mariano for sharing.
    On most sites you get too much or too little information to get an clear idea in a short time.
    This is the perfect level of detail for someone who just want to understand the difference on a conceptual level.