In the recent past, SAP utilized a system called S&D to deal with sales and distribution processing, but in S/4 Hana, the system that oversees this entire subsection of processing is called Line of Business (LoB). S/4 Hana LoB is a solution for many companies simply looking to develop, catalogue and analyze their sales and distribution system through SAP’s extremely detailed analysis tools. While many users would be familiar with S&D from SAP installs in the past, LoB offers a unique look at data as well as providing a complete overhaul on how the data is kept and managed. Every change made to the LoB is done so with the understanding that it will benefit business either immediately or in the long term. Let’s look at how the changes between S&D and LoB can affect our data and processing.
Migration to S/4 Hana
Moving from S&D to LoB requires a bit of forethought. The new master system (called Business Partner, BP) will replace the old customer/vendor master and provides a much more user-friendly interface. Phased approaches are a feasible alternative for systems that operate on ECC6EHP1. In this phased approach, the company may consider migrating their S/4 Hana Finance first, and then slowly change over the rest of the integrated systems on an as-needed basis.
The migration process can be broken down into a four-step system, viz.:
- Preparation – The data is pre-checked before being loaded and any errors can be cleaned up prior to syncing up the data with the new system
- Synchronization – Data load via a cockpit is commenced, which will generate a report and allow us to isolate and repair any data errors in migration
- Conversion – This process will use the Hana Conversion Guide as its basis
- Post-processing – Post processing needs are per-company and can be accessed in the guide under customer/vendor post-processing
Financial Function Differences
There is a wide range of functionality changes that will affect a new Hana install running BP as opposed to the old S&D system. Among these are:
- System for Credit: The S&D system of credit management will eventually be replaced by FSCM credit management which allows for much more in-depth processing and has higher functionality.
- Revamping the Rebate System: Settlement Management replaces Rebate Management in Hana in order to allow for a better appreciation for complex settlements and the development of custom rebate functions.
- Availability Check: Advanced ATP is the replacement module for ATP Checks, and it replaces the VBBS holding aggregates. The optimized code makes this system more efficient as well as providing a more interactive system for scheduling and delivery.
- International Contracts: The foreign trade system (SD-FT) which currently exists as an option will be phased out and replaced with the other option, Global Trade Services (GTS). GTS covers a lot more bases when it comes to customs charges and fulfilling local requirements for goods than SD-FT, making for a much more well-rounded international export application.
- Earnings Management: SD-Revenue Recognition is completely removed from the S/4 Hana system and is replaced instead by the built-in functionality of the accounting and reporting systems included in SAP. This removes unnecessary processing that required accounts to be migrated into SAP from SD-Revenue Recognition.
- Analytical Tracking of Sales Numbers: The system is much simplified, cutting out the fluff and limiting the initial view to the basic functions that a user may require. ODATA and Open CDS via ABAP will allow for display and analysis of the data as necessary. This new system is far more flexible, scalable, and adaptable than S&D.
- Computer-Aided Sales (CAS) Functionality: SD-CAS has been removed from the Hana system. The replacement is the SAP CRM application, which gives a lot more leverage in managing customer data and purchases information than its predecessor.
Table and Data changes in the System Model
There has been an almost complete revamp of the table system in Hana as compared to S&D. Document flow tables have been simplified and document index tables (VRKPA, VRPMA, VAPMA, VLKPA, VLPMA, and VAKPA) have been superseded by CDS views that do not impact system performance. Status tables for VBUK/UP have been distributed around a handful of other tables (VBRK/VBRP for billing, LIKP/LIPS for delivery, and VBAK/VBAP for sales orders). The rebate index table system has been removed completely and the NAST table system is being phased out although current ERP installs will still post to NAST. Field length for VBTYP has been increased to four characters and a handful of fields are being extended as the persistence of Change of Pricing is addressed through the new table PRCD_ELEMENTS.
Massive Overall Performance Improvement
The benefits of simplifying a complex system like S&D is that you make a more efficient system. Data movement is faster, redundant data and processing are removed and the system overall is sped up through more economical use of processing resources. That’s why S/4 Hana should replace the old S&D system. Having a more efficient system can enhance a company’s abilities to spot insights through their data analysis that might lead to a better overall performance in the short and long term.