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?
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 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