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I have been working with SAP Business Suite for 16 years now. I started on the functional side in Supply Chain Management (the stream, not the product). Since then, I got more and more involved with the technical parts of the suite, the Netweaver Layer. HANA has been around for a couple of years and it always fascinated me. The speed and the possibilities are great.

Last week, SAP announced the availability of the whole Business Suite on HANA, that includes ERP, SCM, CRM, SRM, etc… I don’t remember feeling that excited about a technical innovation since my early days. The reason is that HANA is really groundbreaking. It allows profound changes to happen in the Business Suite and great business innovations. The possibilities are so vast that is hard to envision how the suite will be 10-15 years from now.

Shift from Technical to Business value proposition

One important thing that comes as a result of this introduction is the shift of “HANA as a Technical innovation” to a “Business transformation enabler” argument. Just running transactions faster is not a big sales argument. The Business transformations that are now possible with an incredibly fast database like this is a very appealing proposition.

At the beginning of the HANA talks, lot of focus was put on how database scans would be fast… Great! But still, business wants to know what it changes for them.

MRP has been optimized for ERP on HANA, what allows jobs that would take many hours to run in minutes. Also great, but have met CIO’s that have said that in itself, this is not of great value. “MRP runs at night and if it takes fewer hours to run, not much changes for me…”. SAP has now being putting a lot of focus on the business value of this speed. It is not about how fast MRP runs, but what you can change in your business as a result of a MRP run that takes now minutes. MRP runs can be executed more often, increasing accuracy of planning and better service levels. This is appealing, this helps justify HANA as a database.

I am glad to see this shift in HANA proposition from SAP. It will help us partners present the business value of HANA.

Enhancements for HANA and Tools

With ERP 6 enhancement pack 6 version for SAP HANA, there are a lot of changes introduced to leverage the in-memory database. SAP has analyzed the most time consuming transactions and identified which ones would benefit the most from HANA. In this first Enhancement pack,  according to OSS note Note 1761546 – SAP ERP powered by SAP HANA – Optimizations, more than 170** transaction codes or reports have been enhanced for faster DB access. Here is a short summary by logical grouping:

Functional Area    Number of Transactions/Reports optimized **
Financials  129
Logistics (MM, SD, QM, etc) 48

** My count based on the PDF attached to OSS note 1761546.

Several transactional reporting lists have been optimized. This includes:

  • Sales order – Lists
    • Credit Management lists (Transactions VKM*);
    • Incompletion document lists (Transactions V.0*);
    • VA05 – Sales Order list;
      General Block lists (V23, VA14L);
  • MRP Run (MD01, MD07)
  • QM/PM Related transactions/reports;
    • IE0*, IL0* Display and change Equipment and Functional Locations;
    • IW40 – Multilevel order list;
    • IE07 – Multilevel Equipment List;
    • IH0* Functional Location Structure and List;
    • IP30 – Maintenance Scheduling;
  • Purchasing (MM-PUR)
    • Purchase Order History with large volume of follow on docs
    • Reservation Lists MB25/MB24;
  • Backorder Processing
    • V_R* transactions
    • V_V2/V_V1 – Rescheduling of Backorders SO and STO
  • BOM explosion (General improvements across system);
  • BRFPlus;
  • Financials
    • Assets – Several Reports
    • Physical Inventory Lists
    • Depreciations
    • General Ledger from Document File
    • Document Journals
    • GL Account lines/ Vendor and Customer Lines (FBL*)
    • General Improvements in Report Writer;
    • Financial Statements (FC10N);
    • Controlling (order and Cost centers reports – KSB* KOB*);
    • Assessment Cycles – general improvements;
    • Overhead Reports (CO4*, KGI*, CJ4* CJO8, VA44, KSP4, KSI4…);

<<EDITED after feedback >>

I believe it is very important we compile what this all means to businesses. Something in the lines of:

  • Working capital Management They will provide great real time analysis and enable a single business user or department to consume all of the data they require in a single process (via an iPad);
  • MRP Run – This will allow business to rethink their MRP schedule thus running more often and increasing service levels;
  • Backorder Processing – Also similar to otpimizations done to MRP runs, backorder processing is often a lengthy process. Orders today may “miss”  a day until they get rescheduled. Running Backorder Processing more often provides faster delivery times to customers, priority to all businesses.
  • Cash Managementthe insight now available “real-time” via Business Suite on HANA will enable customers to improve their cash position and make a material difference;
  • SD Order Lists – Older reports (VA05) had limited selection criteria and now you can report on further attributes with no worry about data access. Customer order lists are now possible very fast, answering customer requests becomes easier…

SAP offers SAP HANA Use Cases what could be a very good start. But we need:

  • Business Suite product focus
  • Clear SAP use cases (it may get lost in the middle of so many suggestions)
  • Some sort of priority by subject.

<< This list should only grow and should be compiled somewhere >>

SAP HANA Analytics Foundation for SAP Business Suite 1.0

SAP Offers now an add-on called SAP HANA Analytics Foundation for the Business suite. This is a functionality that largely replaces ABAP Queries. It delivers standard content (SAP data model) optimized for HANA providing very fast reporting. It is now very quick to write reports and they perform great.

Details are available here:  http://help.sap.com/hba

First Enhancement pack of many to come

This is only the first enhancement pack bringing optimizations on ERP running on HANA, next enhancement packs will bring further improvements. That is just inevitable.

Here are some of the improvements I would like to see coming to ERP in the next enhancement packs:

Availability check

Even though some improvements have been introduced, a more comprehensive set of changes could take place to allow cross-plant availability checks. This is today only possible via SCM-APO-GATP. As described further below in this BLOG, this could change in the future (personal opinion);

Pricing

Even though pricing is done largely by succession of select single reads and an execution of a document pricing procedure from a pure DB access point of view is not a great candidate to improvements, a more in memory pricing engine, that includes all the configuration could be implemented in the future. This should allow faster runs for pricing catalogues and POS Outbound runs in Retail.

How could the Business Suite in general look like many years from now ?

It is important to understand that running the Business on HANA paves the way for some more profound changes. SCM for example was built as a more analytical type of application and therefore built outside the ERP, as a separate system. Integration is provided via CIF (Core Interface) for master data and transactional data (stock and requirements, for example).  With ERP DB in memory, we could see the day that the master data (and transactional) dataset for both, merge, allowing an unified system with Global ATP (SCM-APO-GATP) available out of the box. The same for CRM and ERP integration.

Will we see a day where these different functionalities (SCM, CRM, etc) will become modules of an unified system thus giving birth to the Business Suite as one system? Only time will tell..

For now, one thing is for sure: Very exciting times for both functional and technical resources.

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  1. Gregory Misiorek

    Leonardo,

    did you mean FS10N? it’s hardly a financial statements transaction (F.01), but just one account drill-down. accountants will be very happy to see it perform “in real-time”, but having it show up in their Excel pivots will really make their day even if they don’t lead on.

    have fun with your MRP’s!

    regards,

    greg

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    1. Leonardo De Araujo Post author

      Thanks for bringing it up. I got the Tcode from the PDF document and there is says FC10N (report RFBILA00N) and not being a Financials guy, I could do little in terms of validating that tcode.  😉

      I believe we should look at this as only the first round of optimizations. If not ideal yet, it gives a sense of what is to come.

      Leo

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      1. Gregory Misiorek

        ok, i can see that FC10 points to RFBILA00, so FC10N may very well point to RFBILA00N, but it’s not available in my system. i’m also not sure why RFBILA00 points to FC10 in addition to F.01. i can’t imagine optimizing RFBILA00N, but not RFBILA00, but that may be part of going to Eh6 before trying to insert HANA underneath the existing Business Suite install. i think some future notes will clarify this point for the rest of us.

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        1. Leonardo De Araujo Post author

          Let me know if you figure this one out (FI question).

          Some programs have been enhanced. But since some access the database in different ways, it is possible that in some cases, new Tcodes exist. Is that a special version optimized for HANA? maybe.

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  2. Uwe Goehring

    Hi Leo, thanks very much for this very valuable list of transactions that will run faster. If I may add to it the value of HANA for the LIS. Transactions like MC.9 that are based on info structures could certainly need more speed, but for the document evaluations like MC50 (dead stock) etc., this is invaluable. The document evaluations are looking, as the name implies, at every single document to compute results. That is extremely time consuming and most users give up using them  because of this.

    also, I think you should separate transaction MD07 from the heading ‘MRP run’ and place it under MRP evaluation. MD07 is running prohibitively slow at some of my customer sites, but unlike the document evaluations, you can simply not go without it..

    Thanks again… please lets get this list going

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    1. Leonardo De Araujo Post author

      Thanks Uwe.

      I am surprised and happy you brought up LIS in the list of functionalities to be optimized with HANA. I had thought about that too as I have some LIS scenarios at customers that would largely benefit from acceleration. However, I decided not to put in here as LIS has not been invested on for a while (since BW came to the picture) and I thought I was mostly alone in hoping for some HANA love.. 😉

      Lets keep our fingers crossed, but if I had to bet, I would not.

      Leo

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      1. Uwe Goehring

        I know Leo, SAP, and everybody else, is pushing very hard to let go of the LIS and use BW instead. And I agree, however, some companies simply don’t have BW and why shouldn’t they make use of what they have? There is a lot of stuff in the LIS that users don’t know. I had companies redo their complete inventory analysis using the LIS with dual classification, analytics graphics (not very spiffy, I have to say…) and as an example, dead stock analysis.

        I wouldn’t give up on it yet, and a more speedy processing would certainly, and finally, make it user friendly

        please see my blog on the subject… http://sap-supply-chain-ideas.blogspot.com/2012/04/that-old-sap-erp-60-sales-operations.html

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  3. Simha R. Magal

    Excellent point that speed in and of itself is not enough – the business value has to be demonstrated by figuring out what can be done with speed that changes business processes.  As you point out most of what we heard was “it is faster” in three ways:

    1. just putting everything in memory makes things faster,
    2. certain transactions and programs have been optimized to take advantage of the new environment, and
    3. some of the arithmetic is now done in the database.

    SAP has added about 10 or so new dashboards.  The one that was highlighted was the MRP dashboard.  As you pointed what is the value of running MRP in real time? Companies are used to running MRP overnight.  That is how their business processes are designed.  They don’t know what to do with this new ability.  To take advantage of the ability to run MRP (or other tasks) in real time the processes must be re-thought. Only then will we see the true impact of HANA.

    And thanks for finding and summarizing the list of enhancements!

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    1. Leonardo De Araujo Post author

      Thanks for the feedback Simha.

      Completely agree with you.

      Now, let me spin this interesting conversation a little:

      Customers barely know what in-memory can do for their programs, let alone what it can transform in their businesses.

      To void getting in a chicken and egg discussion here (need to see the value of HANA to buy it ,need to run on HANA to understand the value), whose responsibility is it to educate customers about business innovations? Who is going to approach a customer and say, lets optimize your business process and lets use HANA as an enabler?

      For me, SAP has a big role to play in that(helping coming up with a repository of business nnovations “Powered by HANA”), but ultimately it is the field guys (functional consultants) that are responsible to bring this up, propose and sell to customers.

      If some functional guys (and we have a lot in that situation) don’t even grasp yet the importance and even the meaning of Enhancement packs, then we have a problem. Or at least “they” will.

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          1. Leonardo De Araujo Post author

            BLOG almost ready. To be posted soon.

            “Business Suite on Hana is not about speed. It is about Business Transformation. Functional consultants, get ready! An educational challenge”

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              1. Leonardo De Araujo Post author

                Great job.

                Back in the early 90’s we studied at Business school the importance of ERP systems and advantages of MRP runs…

                In the early 2000’s, focus was WEB and integration.

                I believe the new focus is Computing power (CPU and in-memory) and what changes it allows…

                Ex: Today it is realistic to think of a system that realtime processes cellphone positioning and answers an important question: How is LIVE TRAFFIC data on the highways? I know solutions like that are now appearing. My point is that this would not be possible before, not online.

                Professionals need to start thinking outside the box and for that, what Universities will be teaching in the next 20 years is going to be key.

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    2. Lonnie Ayers

      I can think of one place where running MRP faster is a very big deal-aircraft maintenance planning within the military environment (this actually touches a lot of different areas, of course).  When you do this across the entire aircraft fleet, and you’re talking about coordinating daily flight plans, weapons loads, and variable flight times, monthly maintenance plans, 7 day cal checks, isochronal, calendar, and hourly maintenance plans, as well depot plans, across dozens of different aircraft models, spread across many locations, along with allocating budgets and manpower, you do see quite a load on the planning engines. 

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      1. Leonardo De Araujo Post author

        Yes. That would most likely be beneficial.

        I also think of simple scenarios where customers have limited number of materials to manage, but very large back order lists. Then, mass rescheduling may mean faster customer delivery…

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  4. Mark Chalfen

    Hi Leo,

    Great content.

    In the pre press conference in Frannkfurt “Working Captial Management” was shown via Business Suite on HANA.

    There are a number of other standard apps that will be available for free.

    These “enhancements” should be the focus. They will provide great real time analysis and enable a single business user or department to consume all of the data they require in a single process (via an iPad).

    “Cash is King” is a widely used phrase – and the insight now available “real-time” via Business Suite on HANA will enable customers to improve their cash position and make a material difference.

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    1. Leonardo De Araujo Post author

      Yes,  a repository of use-cases like that would be great. Something like:

      Enhancements:

      Working capital Management They will provide great real time analysis and enable a single business user or department to consume all of the data they require in a single process (via an iPad).

      MRP Run – This will allow business to rethink their MRP schedule thus running more often and increasing service levels.

      Cash Managementthe insight now available “real-time” via Business Suite on HANA will enable customers to improve their cash position and make a material difference.

      SAP HANA Analytics Foundation for SAP Business Suite 1.0 – Will provide fast quality reporting for transactional data.

      SD Order Lists – Older reports (VA05) had limited selection criteria and now you can report on further attributes with no worry about data access. Customer order lists are now possible very fast, answering customer requests becomes easier…

      etc

      etc


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      1. Simha R. Magal

        Even more than use cases that explain what can be done (e.g., improve cash position), it would be great to demonstrate how specific companies have done this and the measurable value to them.  Not sure if one could get companies to reveal this, but for an academic, this type of information would be priceless.

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  5. Leonardo De Araujo Post author

    FYI All, I expanded the section Business Use Cases.

    Here is an extract:

    >> START

    <<EDITED after feedback >>

    I believe it is very important we compile what this all means to businesses. Something in the lines of:

    • Working capital Management They will provide great real time analysis and enable a single business user or department to consume all of the data they require in a single process (via an iPad);
    • MRP Run – This will allow business to rethink their MRP schedule thus running more often and increasing service levels;
    • Backorder Processing – Also similar to otpimizations done to MRP runs, backorder processing is often a lengthy process. Orders today may “miss”  a day until they get rescheduled. Running Backorder Processing more often provides faster delivery times to customers, priority to all businesses.
    • Cash Managementthe insight now available “real-time” via Business Suite on HANA will enable customers to improve their cash position and make a material difference;
    • SD Order Lists – Older reports (VA05) had limited selection criteria and now you can report on further attributes with no worry about data access. Customer order lists are now possible very fast, answering customer requests becomes easier…

    SAP offers SAP HANA Use Cases what could be a very good start. But we need:

    • Business Suite product focus
    • Clear SAP use cases (it may get lost in the middle of so many suggestions)
    • Some sort of priority by subject.

    << This list should only grow and should be compiled somewhere >>

    << END

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    1. Babu Kilari

      Hello Leo,

      Just a comment on the back order processing point that you mentioned above. As there is a continously running ( on need-basis ) EDQA and ROC application are in place, how come running BOP throughout the day will improve the service levels. Agreed that it improves the performance and due to that we do not need to wait till the next day morning. but, EDQA and ROC applications can still reschedule the orders during the course of the day.

      What would be more interesting to hear is :- what is the way forward / idea of SAP about gATP. Will it merge it back to SD ATP component with all the features of SCM APO GATP ?  Looking forward to your comments on this.

      Babu Kilari

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      1. Leonardo De Araujo Post author

        Hi Babu,

        Yes you are right. While some functionality already exist to “shuffle” orders around, it often requires complex tools like SCM (what many customers don’t have in the landscape).

        What I would like to focus my answer on is about your second point. I believe the convergence of the business suite (into one product) will be a major game changer. Imagine, as you’ve described, they day we can configure gATP in ERP…. All using the same source data…. That is when all these crazy savings will materialize.

        For more info on it (or a mention of state of direction) please refer to Hasso’s BLOG on the value of Business SUite on HANA. Here.

        Blog: The Benefits of the Business Suite on HANA | SAP HANA

        Enjoy reading

        😉

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        1. Babu Kilari

          Hi Leonardo – Thanks for your reply. I will go through the link mentioned by you. Is SAP thinking of introducing some new functionalities within ECC after merging the gATP application ? Unless that happens I don’t see anything big that attracts the customers to go for suite. Performance could be a relative topic as against Livecache within SCM APO GATP.

          Babu Kilari

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          1. Leonardo De Araujo Post author

            Hi Babu,

            I just want to clarify one point. I am not talking about any undisclosed functionality (in the works by SAP). I am sure there are some coming, but I have no visibility of it.

            My point about merging of the business suite, may sound secret stuff, but as per HASSO’s blog, it is out there to be read.

            😉

            If you hear anything, let me know.

            Leo

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  6. Luke Marson

    Hi Leo,

    Great blog and good summary of the benefits, plus the optimized transactions. I certainly think there may be challenges in adoption with proving the business value, despite it clearly being there. Once more functionality is introduced across different modules (e.g. HCM) and a few use cases became available then this will change.

    Best regards,

    Luke

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