Actions in SAP CRM Part 1: Action profiles and determination
Within SAP CRM, actions are pieces of logic that are related to a transaction. They are executed conditionally, either automatically or manually. Examples of actions are: sending out an order confirmation after saving the order, creating a follow-up task when a certain status has been set, or completing an order after a period of time. These actions are all available in the standard system, but you can easily create your own actions and assign them to your own pieces of logic (called: action method) and conditions. Besides giving a quick overview of what actions are about in this blog, I’d like to share some ‘expert’ tips and tricks that I’ve learned over the years, including action profile determination, a relatively new and little known functionality that was introduced in CRM 7.0. In this blog, I’ll focus on action profiles and action determination. In the next blog, you’ll read all about action conditions.
Actions are defined within an action profile, which in turn is linked to a transaction type or an item category (see also the next paragraph on determination). In the action, you can set up a number of parameters, including:
- When the action should be executed (manually/automatically, for instance)
- Whether the action is partner dependent or not (and, if so, for which partner function)
- How often the action should be executed
- What should the action do? Options include:
- send out a mail/fax/print
- execute a method (either standard or self-made)
- trigger an alert
Example of action details
If you want to reuse action profiles you can setup a common profile and assign it to other profiles. This can be very helpful if you have some (but not completely) overlapping action requirements for similar objects. Maybe an example clarifies this:
- In a quotation you’ve set up two item categories. In both cases, you’d like a follow-up task to be created in case the item status is set to ‘Lost’.
- In only one of the item categories, you’d also like to setup an additional action send out an e-mail too.
You should then create one common profile with the follow-up task action, and create two action profiles in which this common profile is linked. In one action profile, you also set up a second action for sending out the mail. Advantages of such a setup with a common profile include:
- unique actions can be maintained more easily, and
- additional requirements can be made available with less effort (think of a third item category with yet another combination of actions).
In the picture above you see how to work with common profiles. Creating a common profile is simple: you create an action profile and flag the Common Profile-flag. You can then select the profile for use in a normal action profile.
Hint: conditions are setup for the ‘complete’ profile, i.e. a combination of the actions from the used common profile and the actions of the normal action profile. So: you can reuse a common profile in several action profiles and still have flexibility in the prerequisites (conditions)!
Action profile determination
In older versions of SAP CRM, you could simply assign an action profile to a transaction type or an item category. Once linked, every new object would include all the actions of the profile that is linked to it, and that’s that. Being quite rigid, this sometimes necessitated the creation of another item category or transaction type, only because you needed more flexibility. This has been overcome by the introduction of action profile determination.
The principle is quite simple: instead of linking an action profile directly, you can opt to link an action profile determination procedure to a transaction type or an item category. It works exactly like a price procedure: you can use fields from the field catalog to set up condition tables and you set up a number of access sequences to find the correct action profile(s). Please note the (s) in the last sentence: it is possible to find multiple action profiles, or to both assign a profile directly and have one found through the determination. This can easily be called a small revolution in action customizing in CRM: it is now no longer required to put all the actions you need in one single action profile! Companies can use action profiles in much more flexible ways by combining the action profiles they need in specific scenarios. I’ve used this determination technique to be able to have one single item category with different action profiles based on the product that was entered. In the example below you see how this was done. Please note that in this case, we put the product ID directly into the condition, but you could also use product groups or hierarchy levels to set up this functionality. Because a field catalog is available, you can use any of the fields you use in pricing to determine action profiles.
The picture above shows how action profile determination works. As usual within SAP CRM, the logic at runtime needs to be configured the ‘other way around’:
- Create or re-use one or more condition types
- You can create your own condition tables
- Do not forget to link the condition type(s) to a (new) condition maintenance group
- Create the conditions
- This can be done via general condition maintenance
- Setup an action determination procedure
- Assign the procedure to the transaction type or item category
This ends this blog. In the next blog, I’ll focus on action conditions.