Skip to Content

One of central topics of SAP Web Channel Experience Management (SAP WCEM), release 3.0 is the integration of product configuration capabilities into SAP WCEM. With this you would be able to offer individualized products to your customers. Well, the development teams did a great job to achieve this with SAP WCEM 3.0. Let me take the opportunity to give you an overview about the key features of product configuration@SAP WCEM.

You might notice that we reused some of the concepts from Internet Sales (ISA), while others are completely new or were reworked to fit better to WCEM’s philosophy.

Key Features

Interactive Configuration

At the core of product configuration@SAP WCEM is a dedicated page, where the options (characteristic values) for the related attributes (characteristics) can be set and entered respectively. This page can be reached either from the product overview and product detail page respectively via the big per default green Configure_small.png button or from the cart via the “Configure” link of the affected line item.

The content of the interactive configuration page is dynamically built based on the product modeling, which was created in the backend. This affects both, the more static part of the modeling such as attribute types, layouts, basic set of allowed options as well as the more dynamic part such as hiding or displaying attributes or options, validations and so on. The structure of the main area follows the modeling in terms of components (instances), attribute groups and attributes. Navigation on the page is supported by a “Previous/Next” navigation, which takes the user from one area of the structure (e.g. a group) to another, and by the option to expand/collapse areas of the structure.

As the page is built using our AJAX enabled WCEM UI framework, user inputs are per default validated immediately. To support those users, who prefer to set the options “top down”, missing mandatory attributes are not claimed immediately, but upon checking the whole page using the CheckButton_small.png button. If there are still entries missing, the user is guided towards the missing attributes.

Configuration Summary

To support users in getting a quick overview of the current status of the configuration, we offer two different kinds of summary views in different places: a table summary and an inline summary. Both kinds of summaries can be customized individually. The attributes to be shown can be configured based on definitions made in the modeling and the settings in the WCEM configuration tool, the Web Channel Builder (WCB).

Table summary

The table summary contains a list of attribute/value pairs and is integrated both into the product detail page and into the interactive configuration page (values only).

Examples:

TableSummary1.pngTableSummary2.png

Inline Summary

The inline summary lists attributes and values in a single text line, which is integrated into the item table of the shopping cart, checkout, order confirmation, order display and of the shopping template.

Example:

InlineSummary.png

Price Display during Interactive Configuration

Product Price

On the interactive configuration page, you can see the net value on product level. This value is adjusted every time the user enters or changes options, that have an effect on the net value (please note, that I just mentioned the net value).

Prices for Options

We are able to show the amounts that are added to or subtracted from the price upon selection or deselection of price-relevant options. These values are based on the backend modeling on one hand and on backend price definition on the other hand.

Variants

With variants you can offer your customers predefined versions of a configurable product, representing typical customizations. This might make sense, if you want to optimize procurement, keep such items in stock or sell them at a special price.

Variant Determination

If the current status of a configuration matches the customization of one or more variants, the user is notified that variants are available. If desired, the user can navigate to the variant comparison to get details.

Variant Comparison

On this dedicated page, the user can compare attributes and values of the current configuration with the ones of all applicable variants. The layout is similar to the product comparison page. If desired, users can abandon their configuration and add a variant to the cart instead.

Shop Configuration

There is no explicit activation of the product configuration in WCB. As soon as the IPC module is added to an application configuration (which is the case e.g. as soon as you add the salestransaction module to the configuration), product configuration is available in the affected shop. The basic availability of the product configuration functionality is purely controlled by the backend in terms of

  • Product master data
  • Modeling
  • Sales order customizing

For the Web shop as such, just certain features are adjustable:

  • Summaries and filter for summaries
  • Price information for options
  • Variant comparison
  • Switching to “validation on request” mode

Architecture

You didn’t think, you could get away without any remarks on architecture, did you? 😉 Well, for those of you, who just want to know the gist, here are the crucial points:

  • Both ERP and CRM backends are supported with their related back-end carts.
  • Product configuration@SAP WCEM relies completely on SAP’s sales configuration engine, the IPC. For the IPC, just the “Compatible-Mode” (as opposed to the “Advanced-Mode”) is supported.
    Side note: Customers interested in WCEM-ERP are sometimes confused by this statement. It does not mean, that for IPC a separate installation is required. The IPC runs in the Virtual Machine Container (VMC), which is part of your (ERP-) NetWeaver Application server installation.
  • Both catalog engines – ERP-TREX (just for WCEM-ERP) and Multi Channel Product Catalog – are supported. Even a shop without catalog (just with cart and checkout) would be supported.

Having said this, let’s now come to the details.

Product Modeling using Variant Configuration in ERP

This scenario is available with both backends, ERP and CRM. With this scenario, obviously the famous “IPC-Delta-List” remains valid. The vast majority of modeling options is supported with product configuration@SAP WCEM. If you are new to SAP WCEM, this scenario provides you with the opportunity to reuse your product models without the need to adjust them for use in SAP WCEM.

The basic scenario looks as follows:

Modelling_in_ERP.png

You model your products as usual in ERP Variant Configuration. You create characteristics, assign them to classes, maintain BOM’s, configuration profiles, dependencies, constraints and so on and so forth (see Variant Configuration Online Help for details).

As a rule of thumb one could say, when you are able to configure the material in VA01 as desired, you are done. Important is that when you are done, a knowledge base needs to be created and a runtime version needs to be generated. The knowledge base is the central master data container the IPC uses  during configuration. For the sake of completeness, if you are using custom user-defined functions, you have to migrate them to Java if they are needed in the sales context.

If you are using WCEM-ERP, you are done at this point. If you are using WCEM-CRM, you have to make sure that the model data (actually the knowledge base and its runtime version) is downloaded to CRM. Personally, I found How-to-Guide: Middleware Settings for Download of IPC Configuration (KB) Data from R/3 to CRM System helpful for this task. With this, you are set for WCEM-CRM as well.

Product Modeling using the CRM Product Modeling Engine

This is a use case e.g. for configurable service products, where you do all your master data maintenance in CRM. With this it is applicable to WCEM-CRM only. Actually the CRM PME maintains the knowledge base directly and you are set for WCEM-CRM.

Runtime: WCEM-CRM

CFG_Runtime_CRM.png

During runtime, when showing the interactive configuration page, WCEM communicates directly with the IPC to render instances, characteristic groups, characteristics and characteristic values. When the user navigates back to the cart or adds a product from the interactive configuration page to the cart, changes are passed to the CRM Order engine. The engine validates the changes via IPC and updates the shopping cart accordingly.

Runtime: WCEM-ERP

CFG_Runtime_ERP.png

During runtime, when showing the interactive configuration page, WCEM communicates directly with the IPC to render instances, characteristic groups, characteristics and characteristic values. When the user navigates back to the cart or adds a product from the interactive configuration page to the cart, changes are passed to the SD Sales Order engine. The engine validates the changes through Variant Configuration and updates the shopping cart accordingly.

Further Information

More WCEM Blogs to check out

Please check SAP Web Channel Experience Management – Blog INDEX for further blogs.

To report this post you need to login first.

6 Comments

You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.

  1. Karsten Hartmann
    Post author

    Hi Pranay,

    WCEM 2.0 doesn’t really support configurable products. It offers a very basic set of API’s which can be used for custom enhancements. The support in WCEM 3.0 is described in this blog.

    Regarding your other question, I am potentially the wrong one to ask. 😉

    As I am involved to WCEM development, I tend to state that it is a good idea to migrate to WCEM. However, at the end of the day a migration decison is of course a question of weighting the advantages of WCEM against the efforts to migrate your custom enhancements.

    Regards,

    Karsten

    (0) 
  2. Thierry Mathieu

    Hi Karsten

    Thanks for this post : it gives a good overview of the possibilities. Where we are 🙂

    Yet, i’m struggling on the following point : Product modeling using the CRM Product Modeling Engine -> how to create/define the product model …

    My purpose is to use it in WCEM in order to help identifying the relevant product references …

    The online help is short & very theoretical : no examples, few explanations how to use it …

    Do you know where i can find guides/training/examples/documentation on this very specific topic (product model creation) ?

    i checked already in SDN & Training and Certification Shop with no success .. Only VC is well documented …

    Thanks a lot for your help or suggestion

    Regards

    (0) 
  3. Thierry Mathieu

    one more point : in the online help

    https://help.sap.com/saphelp_wec300/helpdata/en/43/e097da0a9540e29ef751375f7a7599/content.htm?frameset=/en/d0/bd527d6826…

    only “generic articles” from retail (class type 026) are mentioned regarding the upload from CRM to MDM. What about “classic” configurable products (class type 300) ? should they be managed with port “LT_Prod_Material_CRM” or “LT_GenArtProduct_Mat_CRM" ? Which one is the configuration to follow?

    Thanks for this clarification & feedback 😛

    Regards

    (0) 
    1. Karsten Hartmann
      Post author

      Hi,

      configurable products are replicated to MDM via “usual” LT_Prod_Material. Generic articles are not involved for Product Configuration at all.

      HTH,

      Regards, Karsten

      (0) 
  4. Former Member

    Is it possible to display variants on WCEM (like t-Shirts for may be 3 basic options, choose color, size etc) by having the modellling done in MDM only?

    Meaning in ERP each product would be completely separated and not connected / configured, but only in MDM we would “connect them and create the relation between them” so that in the front end, it looks like you can configure it?

    Thank you

    Best

     

    (0) 

Leave a Reply