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Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas

Multi Channel Self Service for Utilities – ASUG Webcast Question & Answer

This was an SAP webcast provided to the ASUG Utilities Special Interest Group covering Key Topic: SAP Multichannel Foundation for Utilities and Public Sector

MCF is Multi Channel Foundation

Question & Answer:

Q: How long has the product been GA?

A: Exit ramp-up from June this year

This release was available from November last year

Q: How many SAP customers use this?

A: 15

Some customers are implementing it or planning to implement

Cannot share customer names without their consent

Q: Any discussion of this at SAP TechEd?

A: No plans to participate at TechEd

Q: Use case for social networks

A: Facebook posting, save $ per year and sign up

Outages are a good use case; when get outage panic, and put information/complaints in social media

Track sentiment and resolve the issues

Sign in with Facebook account to utility

Q: Is there a migration path from UCS?

A: UCS (UCES?) is not easy to extend, MCF is using open standards and can be used across different channels – position MCF is a successor to UCS

Not aware of a migration path or a demand for it

Q: Are these API’s using standard SAP functionality or can they be extended to use SAP custom modules?

A: Design of OData services use standard SAP API’s but have in place a framework where OData can be enhanced

Can use custom API’s if you want to

Q: Where MCF fit if we are implementing SMP 3.0?

A: SMP is alongside MCF

MCF does not require SMP

If you want to have an app which receives notifications – depending on the need – SMP could work as a complementary solution to MCF

SMP is not a must for MCF but can work together if there is a need

Q: Is it correct to assume that PI is needed for these API’s

A: PI is not necessarily needed; OData connects directly to backend systems

PI can be part of your landscape

SAP Gateway is the necessary platform which provisions OData Services to outside world

Q: Does SP3 cover user management on top of UME?

A: User management was there from beginning

SP3 – nothing new in terms of user management

SP3 has new sample mobile app and new OData services

Q: Does MCF require any additional licensing or support costs?

A: If you have SAP ISU or CRM there is an additional cost, based on number of active online users

Based on customers who sign-on self-service determines pricing and licensing

Based on active online users

Q: Is prepay a functionality that is provided?

A: Not in current implementation but it is on the backlog and working on upcoming releases and SAP wants to hear about it.

Q: How do you integrate with a payment processor?

A: Use standard interfaces – API’s for payment, dispatch to standard core of SAP for payments and from there to FI-CA and covered there

Q: Is payment posted in SAP in real time?

A: Yes – as a payment document or payment specification based on configuration

Payment run could be run immediately from credit card

From end user point of view it is done right away and reflected on self-service portal right away

Q: For proper license costs, how would know the users who logs on day one – need cost model

A: typically licensing and auditing happens retroactively

X number of customers

Anticipate X number to do online

Do rough estimate, implement solution

Auditing takes place retroactively in system

Exact pricing tough to determine

On day 1 hard to come up with number – has to be approximation

Q: How is the IVR is integrated?

A: If IVR supports OData protocol it can be integrated

Q: What is the time duration to fully implement out of the box?

A: German partner installed and built custom app – it took less than a week to install and start building UI on OData services

Did an initial prototype

It varies from customer to customer

Q: Can this be done in-house or do you recommend having a partner?

A: Having a partner is always good; worked with SAP Services who knows the solution

Helpful to have a partner on-board if they know solution and experience

It depends – if you are a large company who have technical knowledge

Some customers are implementing without a partner

Main skillsets needed in house – ABAP, OData Protocol, UI – HTML5, SAPUI5

Q: If the user interface and tiles – can they be used out of the box?

A: Yes, the foundation comes with 2 UI’s

Web only UI and a responsive UI that runs on different platforms

Should work out of the box – once you install MCF they should work out of the box

Do branding – on the OData side or UI side enhancements

Q: Can you talk about security protocols?

A: Depend on the Gateway Server and underlying technology

Gateway supports https protocol and encryption and different types of authentication with SAML

Special framework where check for OData requests where user asks – assign BP to user

End users are communications types in Gateway and SAP and assigned to BP – can read this data

See admin guide and application help

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      Author's profile photo Astrid Gambill
      Astrid Gambill

      Thanks for the detailed notes Tammy.