I was all excited to learn that SAP has been revamping the age old output management. The conventional output management is all we knew in the past years that needed to be setup differently for different documents. While the idea of all the outputs converging into one place excited me, it was a roller coaster ride throughout the process. In this blog series I would like to share our experience and what it took to practically implement the new output management.
I will use the ECC output management for Sales and purchasing to support the comparison. Condition technique is used differently in both the approaches. Here are some of the salient points that I have observed in both the approaches
|NAST Output management||S4HANA output management|
|Leverages condition tables and communication structures||Leverages BRF+ rules|
|Ability to create a number of custom condition tables and access sequences||Supports building conditions using BRF+ using the fields supported by the application object|
|Flexibility to add ABAP code in output requirements for more fine-tuned control||The application object is supported by one CDS view|
|Ability to extend communication structures and literally populate any value in the communication structure using the user exits.||CDS view can be extended with CDS extensions but in a limited fashion|
|Requires Print programs and forms. Limited support to Legacy output forms||Not a whole lot of possibilities to add custom code to handle complex logic|
|One output type can only trigger one output per document||Requires Print programs and Adobe forms. Limited support to Legacy output forms|
|Supports multiple output mediums – Print, Fax, Telex, external send, EDI, Special functions, ALE etc.||One output type can trigger any number of outputs|
|Archive link is optional. But not very integrated with output management. You cannot view old outputs from archive link from output screen||Supports multiple channels Print, Email, XML, IDOC. Documentation and SAP notes say Fax is not supported but can be made to work|
|Works for all of Sales and purchasing documents||Does not support special functions explicitly but the same can be accomplished by adding code to any print program/channel|
|Configuration and approach is different for finance, WM, Production||Supports multi tenancy and works with cloud solutions|
|Archive link is standard|
|Retains a copy of original output, very helpful to keep track of different versions sent to the customer|
|SAP’s direction seems to be converging all the outputs into BRF+ approach. Underlying technology for BRF+ lends itself to be used with any document|
|Much cleaner email templates that can leverage a lot of context sensitive data that can be leveraged|
Is S4HANA output management ready for the prime time?
In my personal opinion the new output management has still a long way to go to realize it’s true potential. However I have found that it has adequate features that are working that can be leveraged on the limited set of documents that it currently supports. Since SAP’s future strategy seems to be in the new output management direction, I think we will be doing better service to our clients by directing them towards the new output management.
In the next blog, I will explain step by step instructions on how to setup a new print output