SAP Australia User Group Annual Summit 2016

5th/6th September 2016, Hilton Hotel, Sydney

Before I start – last time I created a blog on SCN I was able to attach pictures, and have formatting e.g. make sections titles bold, and change the font and so forth, All that has vanished, but in return I can now paste in the contents of a word document. I don’t know if that is better or worse. Anyway, leaving that aside, let us get going:-

We in Australia are lucky to have a large amount of SAP Conferences every year. One of the more important ones is the SAP Australia User Group, a not for profit organisation. SAP has an enormous market share in Australia and a truly staggering amount of organisations are represented at this event.

Naturally I could not go to every talk, and I was presenting myself which slightly limited the amount of presentations I could attend, but I will describe the ones I did go to, and try to avoid any mention of dustbins, or food reviews.

Day 1

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Figure 1: Dustbin

Keynote – Digital Economy – SAP

HANA

UI5

Internet of Things

Big Data

Mobile

Pokémon Go

Uber

Keynote – Clouds R Us – Lenovo

There was a survey about how many people in Australia are happy with their “digital experience” by which I think – hope- they are talking about online transactions. Anyway, the amount of people who are happy is 16%, which means companies have a long way to go.

One thing that was clear to me was that despite every year people saying this cannot go on, Moore’s law is still alive and well. In 2012 Lenovo presented at an SAP event a 200TB HANA database using 17 racks of beef. In 2016 they did a similar presentation, this time they only needed 7 racks.

In the final “Doctor Who” episode with Tom Baker “Logopolis” he went on about “bubble memory” which did not lose its contents when you turned the power off. He then went on to save the entire universe from destruction using this technology when the Master tried to rule the universe with a giant telescope, which, as a side effect, turned the power off.

Anyway, a lot of people are worried about a HANA database having all the data in memory in case the power goes off. Naturally, in HANA world all transactions are actually saved to persistent storage as well as being in memory, but apparently soon we will have “persistent memory” such as that used by the Doctor, and if the power goes off for fifteen seconds, the data in your HANA memory will still be there.

Morning Tea

For morning tea the first day there was a light salad. Half way through the SAP Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing appeared, with an axe, covered in blood, and promised the delegates two things (a) there would be plenty of meat on the menu from this point forward during the conference and (b) the days of silly journalists constantly saying that SAP was being threatened by the likes of Workday, Salesforce, NetSuite, Microsoft and Oracle were over once and for all.

This was washed down with 10 year old cold tea served in a paper bag with “Run Simple” written on the side.

Breaks are a time for delegates to reflect on the content of the keynote speeches. One topic that keeps getting highlighted is the disruptive business of model of some sort of new Taxi firm. It succeeded where others have failed, by the use of the very latest technology, but more importantly changing the business model by deciding to bypass the things boring square traditional taxi drivers have done, like buying permits, paying tax, having insurance, being sober and generally doing all the things they were forced to do by law.

Panaya

I read on the BBC news the other day that due to the recent success at breeding Pandas in captivity, they might be taken off the “endangered” list.

This talk was not about Pandas however, Panaya is a company which has a cloud product which analyses your SAP system and tells you what you need to test, what is likely (or 100% going to) break when you install a support stack or do an upgrade.

As a disclaimer I have used their product twice during an Upgrade, once in Germany, once in Australia, and it gets a thumbs up from me.

Graham Robinson – Gateway Services

Graham was giving a dry run of his presentation for SAP TechEd in two weeks. In fact many of the other presenters were doing the same, and later on that day I was recapping a speech I had made at that event in Las Vegas last year. I just make this point to show that the sort of presentations you get at this event are often exactly the same as you get at mainstream SAP events in the USA.

Graham made the point there is very little material out there on how to best create Gateway Services, this whole subject is still a very new technology albeit one that is just entering the “exploding” stage where lots of companies are doing pilot projects all at once. I myself will be working on this full time for the next few months.

As such, Graham said that whilst he is still learning – as are we all, all the time – he would tell us the “gotchas” he had already encountered so we did not fall into the same traps.

Tips like not putting business logic in the “Data Provider Class” as that prevents re-usable code. Instead you need a “model” class for the sales order (or monster, or whatever) that sits apart from the framework and can be re-used by several different services, or indeed any other  caller from within or outside the SAP system. I know a German gentleman who would have been very angry to hear that.

The other top tip I recall is not to accept the text descriptions auto-generated by the framework, blank out all the values in that column, as if you accept the suggestions text symbols are generated, and if at some point you add a new field in the middle of the structure all the descriptions of the existing fields get messed up – oh dear!

Lunch

For lunch of the first day the centrepiece was “special kebabs” on solid gold skewers. Some delegates were deeply suspicious of the odd taste of the kebabs, and wondered exactly what sort of meat they could be made out of, especially considering the mysterious disappearance of Workday CEO Aneel Bhusri the day before.

This was washed down with 20 year old aged vodka, served in an inverted traffic cone with the phrase “Digital Transformation” written on it five thousand times.

More Graham Robinson

This is the sort of subject that cannot be covered in an hour – or even in a day most likely, but he managed to give us (well I can only speak for myself) a bucket load of information I did not know on this subject a few hours earlier, and I have done quite a lot of experimentation in this area myself.

Me – ABAP Channels

I gave this speech in Las Vegas last year at SAP TechEd, and also have a chapter on the subject in the second edition of my forthcoming SAP Press Book, released on September 19th.

The idea is that a lot of applications are very inefficient due to the need for constant polling – checking the database (or whatever) every second to see if anything has changed.

With the ABAP Channels technology this is replaced by a “publish and subscribe” mechanism where an application at start-up says “I want to know about all updates to Monsters at Laboratory 1000” and then other applications that make changes to Monsters publish the fact and the broker forwards on the changes to all interested applications which then auto update without the user having to do anything like press a refresh button.

This is intended for use where both applications are running in a browser. I am not supposed to say so, but this also works for two SAP GUI applications, which I think is the most wonderful improvement imaginable.  Sadly SAP is quite likely to remove the SAP GUI aspect of this technology in releases subsequent to 7.5, which would be a crying shame in my opinion.

The person who was supposed to MC my session did not turn up, so at the end I presented myself with a bottle of wine and thanked myself very much. I was very appreciative.

Afternoon Tea

For afternoon tea on the first day the centrepiece was “special burgers”. Some delegates were deeply suspicious of the odd taste of the burgers, and wondered what meat they could be made out of, especially considering the mysterious disappearance of Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff the previous day.

This was washed on with 40 year old aged rum, served in an emerald encrusted sold bronze goblet with “HANA Montana” written on the side.

Rawson Homes – Mobile Purchase Orders

The poor old CIO of Rawson Homes also had the person who was supposed to MC his session vanish, but lucky for him I was roped in to do the job instead, so he did not have to present himself with a bottle of wine at the end.

During the housebuilding phase the builders at Rawson Homes had to create a lot of manual purchase orders which was a very paper based horrible process. Moving this to a mobile application worked wonders, which was a great success, as I know first-hand how adverse a lot of people in the building industry are to new technology.

Drinks

Networking is a very important part of conferences. The idea is that due to the large number of delegates present from a variety of different organisations, if you mingle with new people then chances are you will encounter someone who has come across the exact same problem you have currently got, and can you tell how they solved it. Over time you will build up a strong network of contacts who will stay and touch and use their collective brain power to solve problems encountered by any individual in that network.

So of course 99% of people spend the evening drinking and talking with the colleagues they came to the conference with, and when I suggested to one of my colleagues once that we go and find someone we didn’t know, and talk to them, they looked at me like I was Jack the Ripper.

Networking drinking binges are a time for delegates to reflect on the content of the keynote speeches. One topic that keeps getting highlighted is the disruptive business of model of some sort of new rental firm. It succeeded where others have failed, by the use of the very latest technology, but more importantly changing the business model by deciding to bypass the things boring square traditional landlords have done, like paying tax, having insurance, complying with building regulations, not having evil clowns hiding under the bed and generally doing all the things they were forced to do by law.

Day 2

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Figure 2: Myself preparing for my speech

Keynote – Digital Business – Ray Wang

Ray Wang is a fantastic speaker. He jumps up and down and shouts at the audience, makes jokes and keeps us all entertained, which is vital in any sort of public speaking.

He asked the audience how many people had a particular sort of smart phone in 2006, lots of people put their hands up, and he said it was not released till 2007. That makes me laugh, but then I am very childish.

He made lots of points, the main ones that struck home were that in the 1950’s the average company lifespan (from incorporation to going bankrupt or getting acquired) was about 60 years. Nowadays it is about 7 – 12 years. Since 2000 about half of the Fortune 500 companies are no more, and in 2015 half of the surviving ones lost money. So the current business environment is a lot more turbulent than you might think.

Keynote – Digital is Really Good – UXC Oxygen

HANA

UI5

Internet of Things

Big Data

Mobile

Pokémon Go

Uber

Morning Tea

For morning tea on the second day the centrepiece was described as “hot dogs with special sausages”. Some delegates were deeply suspicious of the odd taste of the sausages, and wondered what sort of meat they were made out of, especially considering the mysterious disappearance of NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson the previous day.

This was washed down with 60 year old aged wine, served in a ruby encrusted solid silver goblet with the five thousand names the BW product has had in its history written around the side in a spiral pattern.

Breaks are a time for delegates to reflect on the content of the keynote speeches. One topic that keeps getting highlighted is the disruptive business of model of new start-up DoctorUB. It succeeded where others have failed, by the use of the very latest technology, but more importantly changing the business model by deciding to bypass the things boring square traditional Doctors have done, like going to medical school, paying tax, having a licence to practice medicine, being sober whilst operating and generally doing all the things they were forced to do by law.

UX – SAP – One – Roadmap for Fiori/UI5

When I was writing the second edition of my good old SAP Press book, my editor was really worried that I opened the chapter on UI5 with what appeared to be a really savage attack on SAP’s user interface and how people hated it.

I replied that I was thinking of the past rather than the present/future and quoted the CIO of Nestle who had said that using SAP was like peeling an onion – it has many layers, and it makes you want to cry.

SAP is now actually getting awards for the user interface design of some of its latest applications, which is a gigantic turnaround. This talk was given by an SAP employee so he could not be overtly negative about the past, but to be there seemed to be a tacit admission of how bad the SAP GUI has always been, which is of course not news to anyone.

The arguments for UI5 were that “you did not need a degree to understand the screen” and the monetary benefits were reduced training costs and reduced errors due to people not getting confused by over complex screen designs. The fact that a huge bunch of such benefits – both hard and soft – are claimed for UI5 implies that none of those benefits have ever been there before on SAP screens.

SAP now say they no longer claim that they know what the end user wants more than the end user themselves. I am glad they admit this used to be the case – it was what I always thought they meant by “best practice” i.e. “this is way you should be doing it, you fool”.

Another key strand of the Fiori design is “coherence” which again is the opposite of what went before where the SD, MM and FI modules had screens which looked absolutely nothing like each other.

SAP have now announced “Fiori 2.0” which is for S/4 HANA really by the looks of things, and does look really groovy I have to admit. Some elements are only in S/4 HANA like the “notifications” section of the screen (a sort of workflow inbox on steroids, which comes looking for you rather than you checking it periodically) but most will be available in ABAP version 7.50/7.51.

Since all the screens in S/4 HANA are supposed to come via the web, and there are a lot of such screens, naturally they are not all UI5 as yet. As an interim step SAP are making the remaining transactions – accessed via WDA or the SAP GUI for HTML – look like Fiori applications.

The BUILD tool was mentioned (I talk about that in the new version of my book as well) for rapid prototyping, and automatic code generation based on such a prototype.

Much was made of the Apple/SAP partnership, where you can build Fiori applications that work natively on Apple devices using the iOS.

Next came the SAP version of Siri/Cortana which they called “Co-pilot” this week though that will not be the final name. To me it seemed like the famous Microsoft Paperclip (“It looks like you are trying to kill yourself, shall I order some rope?”) only with artificial intelligence and machine learning. This and the addition of “bots” is aimed at having a “Conversational UX”.

UX – SAP – Two – Fiori Elements

The more things change the more they stay the same and the one thing that stays the same at SAP is renaming every single thing every day. I wonder if the marketing people realise what a laughing stock that makes them?

SAP say that thus far they created 949 UI5 “apps” and that is still only scratching the surface of what is needed, so they need to create them a billion times faster than before, and for that they need to have better tools inside the Web IDE for creating such applications.

The artist formerly known as “Smart Templates” inside the Web IDE are now known as “Fiori Elements” this week. The best name SAP ever came up with for such things was “floorplans” as in “Floorplan Manager” as you can get your head around that – screen designs for similar applications where you can find the same sort of information in the same place each time.

UI5 application started off where you code everything yourself, and lots of people loved that. Then SAP came out with “freestyle templates” which are just like floorplans and the code is generated and then you mess about with it yourself, thus avoiding  writing the boilerplate code but then you can change it however you want.

A “smart template” however is controlled by the backend system (model) i.e. you have the  model view and controller all inside the model, in fact inside the database as this is all controlled from a CDS view with annotations. How do you like that for a separation of concerns, boys and girls?

Instead of generated code on the front end the “elements” are generated at runtime based on what has been defined in the back end – you have so called “smart controls” reacting to annotations inside the CDS view. You can also have an annotation file sitting in the Web IDE as well which over-rides the annotations in the back end.

Let us end with some definitions:-

“card” – area of the screen which contains some sort of control e.g. a list, a table, whatever.

“break out” – this is a user exit, where you add or remove sections of your floorplan screen, or have some pre-processing before a section is rendered and so forth. I am not sure how or where you code these.

“analytical list page” – a better sort of ALV (my description) where you have assorted graphical and clickable filters at the top as well as the sort of filters we are used to

“belize” – a new theme replacing “blue crystal” which is so five minutes ago. The Blue Crystal Theme, when activated, made your SAP screen look like you had just taken a large amount of LSD, so hopefully the new one is a bit calmer.

Lunch

For the second days lunch the centrepiece was what were described as “special pies”. Some delegates were deeply suspicious of the contents of the pies for three reasons (a) the striking resemblance of the pie fillings to the consistency of human brains (b) the sighting of famous chef Hannibal Lecter in the kitchen area of the hotel and (c) the mysterious disappearance of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella the previous day.

This was washed won with 80 year old aged whiskey, served in a pearl encrusted solid gold goblet with “The best digital e-businesses run SAP” written on the side.

Guerrilla UX Design – Simon Kemp

I think this time I am going to summarise Simon’s talk in a series of bullet points, a mixture of what he said and my reaction to it, if any.

On a bus or a train, everyone has their head down, looking at smart devices. Those devices must have an acceptable UI, or people would look out the window instead or – horrifying as it may seem – talk to each other.

Application design used to be about what the business experts thought the end user wanted, plus what IT said was technically possible. The radical new idea is to actually involve the person who will use the application. In my company we picked five people, who did one task all day every day in SAP, and sent them away in different rooms and told them they had fifteen minutes to design a screen they would use all day, every day, for the rest of their time with the company. That focused their minds I can tell you, and one of the resulting designs was a corker.

Traditionally the user acceptance testing was right at the end, one day before go-live and if the users said it was rubbish, the solution was not to change the application but send ten billion dollars on training.

The business experts often have no idea what the business wants, IT even less. Even the end users may not know what they want.

Do not SHOW the end users your prototype. Make them use it.

SAP has had a radical new idea – they have committed recently to trying to understand what the problem is first, before fixing it. I wish some of the people at my company would adopt that attitude.

You test the application before you build it. If that sounds impossible, look up “test driven development” on the internet.

The only way you will ever get this right is to shadow the end users. Watch what they do over their shoulders. Install hidden cameras on their desk when they are not looking. Go through their garbage. Dress up as a vending machine and follow them about. They won’t suspect a thing.

If you want the user’s feedback on something, piggy back off another meeting that has brought a group of end users to the main office. They came in to be trained on something, at the end of the meeting rush in and get them to test your new application before you let them out of the room.

Simon’s mum thinks the “camera” icon on Skype looks like a hot water bottle. Now it looks like one to me as well. The moral is that users do not see things the same way you do.

Simon is getting a t-shirt printed which says “I am not the user” many times in different colours. I am guilty of the crime of thinking I knew what they wanted. I replaced a “classical” SAP GUI table control with an editable ALV grid and thought people would like it. They did not. They said the squares were to small, you could not easily tell where the cursor was, and had to blank out zero values before entering new ones.

Do not use system language, but business terms. Before SAP I really wonder if anyone ever said “Ship-To” instead of “Delivery Address?” I always called suppliers “suppliers” before SAP, now I call them “vendors”.

What do end users want? In an application, for, example, I would like to be able to change my email address and phone number, if I had typed them in incorrectly by accident. In my SCN account details I had typed in my email address slightly wrong by accident. Now I cannot change it – the field is greyed out. I contacted SAP support who said:-

Unfortunately we cannot process your request to change the email to your user account.

By receiving your request we automatically put you on a list of users which will get notified once this new feature is released.

It never occurred to them end users might want this facility, and letting you correct faulty data you have entered will be an exciting new feature released at some point in the far future. Does that sound like having “empathy” with your user base?

Complex Fiori Applications – Chris Rae

I think Chris gave this talk as well at SAPPHIRE in Orlando earlier this year. It was all about lessons learned during a massive UI5 implementation at a Government department here in Australia. There were about 30 UI5 apps developed, and just as a bonus Hybris was involved in the mix as well. As you can tell the government in Australia is a very heavy SAP user and likes to go gangbusters with all the new technology.

The room was quite full, so a lot of Australian organisations represented. Chris asked who had created a Fiori app thus far and do you know, half the room put their hands up.

Anyway the advice was to stick to the original principal – one app does one task – even if some recent SAP training courses say the opposite. This one to one thing was the original purpose of all this, to move away from one screen that did a thousand things, like VA01.

“Deep Linking” is where one app calls another app, so you can still have navigation from one completed task to the next. Doing the flow one app at a time is better than one huge app, as the latter would have a long loading time, which is not good on a mobile device.

He re-iterated a point made by Graham Robinson earlier that you should not have any business logic in the Gateway “data provider class” as that hinders re-usability. Further information on such design can be found on SCN in some blogs by Leigh Mason.

When it comes to record locking UI5 uses the standard HTML5 concept of ETAGS which in Australia we use to pay for road tolls when we go through a motorway. The groovy thing about UI5 is that if you have ten fields on the screen, you change two, and then press SAVE and the update fails because the record is locked and has just been changed by someone else, the new state of the object you are playing with comes back, and the eight fields you have not changed are updated with the new values in the database but not the two you have just changed. This happens by Black Magic without you having to code anything.

In my book I mention SAP’s new concept of saving a record in a “draft” state where you have not yet filled in all the fields, and so in a traditional transaction like VA01 you could not save the record. In 7.5 there were some prototype classes in the BOPF framework to do this, but they did not work that well and an SAP person told they those classes were for the chop. It looks like the draft concept is only going to be implemented in S/4 HANA, another reason to force us to make the jump.

Afternoon Tea

For the last meal of the conference a huge pile of branches was assembled in the middle of the exhibition area and set on fire. On top of this was set a huge pot of water, out of which was served to the delegates something described as “Fillet of Larry Ellison” whilst the entire SAP senior management team, clad only in loincloths, swung through the trees on ropes, and then set about banging the bongos for all they were worth and chanting, to appease the hundred foot tall gorilla which lives on the other side of the island from the conference centre.

This was washed down with 100 year aged port, served in diamond encrusted solid platinum goblets with the mysterious acronym “ESOA” written on the side.

Me – Migrating to SAP HANA

Amazingly, I also talk about this subject in one of the chapters of my forthcoming book.

The ECC R/3 Business Suite reaches end of life in 2025, and those who desire to stay with SAP will have to migrate to S/4 HANA at some point. Naturally this means the entire SAP customer base moving to a HANA database as opposed to Oracle or whatever.

2025 will be here sooner than you think, but you can start preparing your custom code right now for the transition, with SAP provided tools.

SAP have gone out of there way to make this as complicated/confusing as possible, with over seven disparate products all with the name “S/4 HANA” some of which have nothing to do with ERP at all.

In essence, for an ERP system, there are three choices when moving to HANA. All of which you can do right now.

Move to “Suite on HANA” which is in essence a database upgrade, but needs a careful review of your custom code. This option runs out in 2025.

Move to the on-premise version of S/4 HANA, you can keep all your custom code, but it needs a radical review

Move to the cloud version of S/4 HANA. The entire custom code base needs to be rewritten in simplified ABAP or Java/JavaScript.

You may have heard buzzwords like “columnar storage” and the like. What does this mean in practical terms?

Cluster tables like BSEG become “real” tables, and are thus much easier to access

You no longer need 99.9% of secondary indexes on database tables – every column acts like it has an index on it

You no longer need redundant storage i.e. same field in more than one table with the same value e.g. master data values in transaction data tables, or index tables of any sort e.g. LIS

The order the fields come back in from a database read will most likely no longer be in primary key order

An enormous amount of tables are removed with the move to S/4 HANA.

This starts off with index tables like BSIK/BSAK which are just subsets of the data in BSEG, and in both finance and materials management 75%+ of the tables vanish. There is no more mixing of master data with transaction data.

The tables (such as BSIK) look like they are still there, but in reality they are now just views. This means a custom SQL read will carry on working just as before, but if you have custom Z fields in such a table they will need to find a new home.

Much more ominous, in S/4 HANA whole chunks of functionality have been removed – usually when there are multiple solutions for the same problem, SAP has whittled this down to one. For example, SD based Credit Management goes out the window, as does the traditional way of creating and maintaining vendors and customers (LFA1 and KNA1 tables) – you have to use “business partners” now.

If you go for the S/4 HANA on-premise model you can carry on more or less as before with your vast swathes of custom code, subject to the changes already mentioned.

In the cloud however the code base is shared, and is updated by SAP every quarter. Since the idea is that such updates cannot possibly break the existing standard SAP code (of course not) the amount of user exits and Z programs you can use is heavily restricted.

User exits will be in the form of BADIS with a restricted set of ABAP commands e.g. no dynamic programming, cannot use “unreleased” API’s to access standard SAP functions e.g. unreleased function modules and the like.

Large bespoke developments are supposed to be done using “side by side” extensibility where you write such applications in the SAP Web IDE and they communicate with the core ERP system. Moreover, you can use any programming language you want – as long as it is not ABAP.

SAP have created a range of new code inspector checks, so that when you do an analysis of your custom programs using the code inspector (which you do all the time I hope) potential problems that could occur when moving to a HANA database are highlighted.

This generally relates to presumptions as to which order records will be returned in from a database read, or attempts to access the underlying database table behind a cluster table, which will no longer work on a HANA database.

It is worth noting that many problems the code inspector highlights at the moment will result in even bigger problems in a HANA database – like the old chestnut where you only need two columns from a really wide table and do a SELECT * to bring every single column back. That caused big problems before, it will cause death in the new world.

In recent SAP releases the amount of dynamic check tools have increased dramatically.

What I mean by this is the ability to track every single thing that happens in production, by means of “Usage Procedure Logging” (UPL) for the whole year so you can take account of year end, and see how often custom code is executed right down to the subroutine level.

You will perhaps be surprised to find that 75%+ of your custom code is never used at all, as it was created to address problems that no longer exist. The tendency is to just add more and more Z code each year and never remove any, even after the need for it has gone.

Knowing what is not used is very important, that way you can concentrate on not breaking the custom code that IS used.

There are also tools to import the productive data into the development system where you can analyse custom code for expensive SQL statements which could benefit from HANA specific features like having more logic run inside the database. Such “code push down” is a task for after the migration generally, though you can create so called CDS views on an Oracle (or whatever) database if you are on 7.4 or above, ready for the migration. Such views would not run any faster on an Oracle database though,

As the changes associated with S/4 HANA are quite dramatic SAP have provided a tool to help you work out what will break.

You will need an SAP system that is on ABAP 7.50, either create a sandbox system for yourself or use the SAP “Cloud Appliance Library” to create a temporary system just for this purpose.

Then you install an extractor program on your current real ERP development system, and extract data about all your custom objects into a file. This involves getting the “where used list” up to date, which can take a week or more.

You then run a job whereby the 7.5 system goes and looks on the web where SAP has the most current information about the changes in S/4 HANA.

This is the “simplification database” and the latest information is stored on your 7.5 system.

Lastly you upload the file containing the information about your current custom code to the 7.5 system, it compares that information to the “simplification database” information and comes back with a big list of what is probably going to break.

When you see the list of what is going to break you will most likely have a heart attack and drop dead on the spot.

If you survive, you will come to realise what is being reported is just the same few warnings many hundreds of times, rather like the error log you get from Java programs.

For each such warning you are pointed to an OSS note which details the potential problem and what to do about it. The good news is that these OSS notes are generally rather better written than what you may have become accustomed to.

For example you are told when your custom programs are writing to Z fields in tables that no longer exist, or doing a “call transaction” to a TCODE which is simply not there in S/4 HANA.

Marble Bar

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Figure 3: Marble Bar

The Marble Bar sits underneath the Sydney Hilton Hotel and is well worth a visit. Down a short staircase from the busy George Street, which is currently a huge construction site, rebuilding the trams that were ripped out many years ago, is another bygone world of elegance. My American mates would be happy is there is table service, which is far from a given in Australian drinking places.

After conference drinks in a venue that looks like it is several hundred years old is a time for delegates to reflect on the content of the keynote speeches. One topic that keeps getting highlighted is the disruptive business of model of GetCashQuickUB. It succeeded where others have failed, by the use of the very latest technology, but more importantly changing the business model by deciding to bypass the things boring square money lenders have done. This new business model involves going into a bank with a sawn off shotgun, shooting all the staff and bystanders, blowing up the safe with dynamite, and then swanning off to the South of France with the loot. Even better, there is no pesky financial institution wanting the money you have borrowed back, and no interest to pay. It’s obvious why all commentators in the technological space keep on about how successful new businesses like this have been, and how we should all follow their lead.

Conclusion

This was one of the better SAUG conferences in recent years; I think all the “pre-TechEd” speeches gave it the edge, so it is no surprise that next year’s event is going to be at the same time.

The even better news is that the Sydney Darling Harbour Exhibition Centre is finally going to re-open after having been knocked down several years back. The SAUG conference will be there next year, and in fact I imagine a lot of SAP conferences will be returning to Sydney, which is bad news for Melbourne.

The quality of the dustbins was also very high this year, and the unusual food served gave the whole event a certain “je ne sais quoi”. I can’t wait till next years!

Cheersy Cheers

Paul

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4 Comments

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  1. Jelena Perfiljeva

    Half way through the SAP Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing appeared, with an axe, covered in blood, and promised the delegates two things

    Oh man, those Australian conferences always have the best stuff! 🙂 Now I’ll be very suspicious of any meat at TechEd…

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  2. Jānis B

    I’m curious… are the KNA1 and LFA1 gone for good or turned into views on “business partner” perhaps? Because both of those sound like monumental tasks. Or does that mean merely that the maintenance must be done via BP now, and KNA1 and LFA1 are filled via CVI “monster” behind the scenes so to speak.

    cheers,

    Janis

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    1. Paul Hardy Post author

      From what I have heard on the SCN, in official SAP documentation you will be told LFA1 and KNA1 are gone, if you actually look inside an S/4 HANA system they are still there.

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      1. Jānis B

        Ok, this suggests – CVI monster it is. Oh dear... 🙂

        In other news, finding a Note via Support Launchpad (even when you know it’s there and what it’s talking about) is now a “monumental task” as well.

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