Transferring data between ERP and APO can be a tricky, error-prone activity, which is why we asked Claudio Gonzalez of SCM Connections to host an online Q&A to address the biggest questions users are facing and tips to optimize CIF performance. Check out the transcript from this Q&A session and see whether your questions were answered.

Claudio will be one of the featured speakers at SAPinsider’s SAP SCM 2014 conference in Las Vegas, April 1-4. For more info on the event visit our website at Logistics & SCM, PLM, Manufacturing, and Procurement 2014 and follow us on Twitter @InsiderSCM


Comment From Pat H.: Is CIF a standard, delivered SAP tool with ERP / APO or a separate add-on?

Claudio Gonzalez: The CIF is a standard delivered interface.  CIF is an integrated part of the ERP system.


Comment From Brad Antalik: If ECC and SCM were both on HANA does this eliminate the need for the CIF? If the CIF is still used how would HANA affect it?

Claudio Gonzalez: Should not affect it as of right now as there is no dependency. CIF is an integration module independent of the underlying database. Now in the future there has been some thinking that 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.


Comment From Ana Parra: Can APO be based on the SAP HANA Platform? Do you have supported evidence of before and after scenarios for SAP HANA performance? Thanks!

Claudio Gonzalez: This one is a bit off the CIF topic, but to answer the question HANA is available on SCM as of version 7.02. Here is a good link with some details on it http://www.saphana.com/docs/DOC-3316


Comment From Guest: Just implemented SAP TM9.0 and SAP EM9.0 with SAP Optimizer 10.0. ECC is EhP6. In past, I was able to use CIF cockpit to monitor CIF data transfer and troubleshoot any issue. What’s the equivalent process/method to monitor and troubleshoot CIF related issue and data transfer in the newer versions?

Claudio Gonzalez: As far as I know the CIF Cockpit should be available as long as you have the SCM Suite. I do recommend to use the following CCR report (/SAPAAPO/CCR) , Queue Manager (/SAPAPO/CQ) and CPP report (/SAPAPO/CPP) in conjunction with the CIF Cockpit to troubleshoot CIF related issues


Comment From Axel Völcker: Our ERP system has to provide two SAP system with material master data. How can we set up the IM’s for the Material Master data?

Claudio Gonzalez: You would create two integration models. Each integration model would have a different logical system. Each logical system is tied to a specific SAP SCM system.


Comment From Pavan Kumar Bhattu: I have two questions:

1) If we CIF Purchase info records with two purchase organization data, then how will It reflect in APO?

2) If we CIF Sub-contracting SNP PDS, then will it create any transportation lane in APO?

Claudio Gonzalez:
1) The info record would CIF to APO and on the external procurement relationship, the different Purch Org would show under the General data tab. I am assuming the different Purch Org will have also a different destination location, which would then create two lanes, this is the most common scenario

2) Yes, when you CIF a Subcontracting PDS to APO, be that SNP or PP/DS the system will create the lanes for the input components from the Manufacturing location to the Subcontracting location. The lanes from the Subcontracting location to the Manufacturing locations for the FG are created by the PIR or Contract.


Comment From AJ: Can you please further elaborate on PDS_MAINT in ECC?

Claudio Gonzalez: PDS_MAINT is a transaction in the ECC side that’s used to update changes to PDS in APO. As of SCM 7.0 EHP1 you could not make changes to the PDS directly in APO. Thus, PDS_MAINT was used to make changes. Changes such as costing, priorities, consumption, bucket offset and so on. In EHP2 there is a functionality to mass maintenance PDS directly in APO but it has its limitations and it seems that if you re-send the PDS from ECC it will overwrite the changes, need to verify this.


Comment From Ayyapann Kaaliidos: Is there no WEEKLY R/3 Consumption mode available in R/3? We are in ECC6 SP10. But we use WEEKLY Consumption mode in APO. We are in SCM 7.01 SP 5.

We had to handle this in user exit only, as we have configured CIF Master data update as Instant and the CIF will overwrite the values in APO if it’s not handled in user exit. Will this functionality be part of any future R/3 versions?

Claudio Gonzalez: I have not heard of any plans to add this functionality in ECC yet. But, before you go about modifying the CIF as to not override the ‘W’ value in APO. Try the following, ECC has a consumption mode ‘4′ (Forward/Backward) which Is not supported by APO. I believe if you set it to this value, it would not override the APO value. It is not pretty but it will save you a custom change.


Comment From Mukesh Lohana: What criterion determines whether inbound queues or outbound queues are faster? We use outbound queues and transfers for the huge planning data from APO to ECC. If we change to work with inbound queues to transfer data from APO to ECC, then in my understanding ECC will be responsible for handling the load the data. Since ECC is an execution system, and a lot of activities are occurring, will the change from outbound to inbound queues slow down the execution system (ECC)? What you suggest?

Claudio Gonzalez: Since this question is more technical than functional, let’s first quickly explain the difference between Outbound and Inbound.

– Communication Method: Outbound Queue – Calling system sends the queues to the receiving system without taking care of the system load of the receiving system. No scheduling of the processes happens in the receiving system. The can lead to overloading of the receiving system, which leads to deterioration of CIF performance with high data volume.

– Communication Method: Inbound Queue – Calling system sends the queues to the ‘entrance’ of the receiving system which allows the receiving system to control the system queue load on its own. Scheduling of the processes happen in the receiving system. Therefore, in theory this will lead to better CIF performance.

Based on the above and if you go through SAP recommendations, it is stated that if you have performance issues in the target system to use Inbound Queues.

At the end of the day, any actual performance degradation on the ECC side won’t be known until change is made and tested.

The following notes deal with how to change the communication from outbound to inbound. 388001, 388528, 388677.

Also, I always recommend to have note 384077 on your favorites, as it deals with how to optimize CIF communication and it is updated regularly.


Comment from Brad: If transactional data goes real time to APO, what is the purpose ofthe batch stock, sales orders, and purchase orders CIF jobs?

Claudio Gonzalez: Regardless if the data goes real time or not, which by the way I recommend real time. You would need PO, Sales Orders and other transactional data to integrate into APO so that your planning system has all the necessary data for accurate planning.

To view the rest of the transcript, click here

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