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SD Sales and Billing 2019: “Alternative product description in sales order item” improvement implementation

SAP Customer Connection

SAP Customer Connection is a great program run by SAP that allows to incrementally improve on-premise product. The rules of engagement are simple:

  1. SAP opens a project to gather improvement proposals. You can find all campaigns here: SAP Customer Influence – All Opportunities
  2. Customers and partners are able to provide their improvement proposals for open campaigns. Another one SD Sales and Billing 2020 will start on September 24th, 2019.
  3. The proposals are voted. Once a proposal gets enough votes (typically 5) it’s going to be considered by SAP for implementation. Here is the list of all my improvement proposal submitted for SD Sales and Billing 2019
  4. Up-voted proposal are reviewed by SAP and if approved they are delivered, mostly with support notes.

Alternative product description in sales order item

One of my improvement proposals, to display alternative product description in sales order item was delivered on May 16th, 2019 with support note 2753355 – Display material description from material master:

If customer material info record is used in sales order processing, the product description in sales order item is derived from the info record. Thus the product description in sales order item corresponds to customer requirements. That’s great from their perspective. That is however confusing to sales personel of the supplier who are used to their own descriptions of the products. Notice that the product description of a customer and a supplier may be utterly different.

The request is to provide additional field in sales order item and provide visibility of both product descriptions – material master short text and the description from the customer material info record.

That would make sales teams work more efficient and less error prone.

Only recently I’ve had a chance to actually implement it and check what SAP delivered. The implementation process has been surprisingly smooth with only a couple of manual activities. No problem whatsoever.

After the implementation, there is additional field in sales order overview screen that provides material description as maintained in material master data. This description is available long with standard sales order item description derived from customer-material info record:

  1. Column “description” shows standard sales order item material description as maintained in customer-material info record.
  2. Column “material description” shows material description as maintained in material master data.

The improvement implementation adds the new column as the last field. Therefore you need to position it according to your needs with table control settings.

Improvement general availability

The improvement is shipped with the following patches:

Therefore sooner or later it will get into your system. You can get it right now with the above mentioned support note.

What is quite nice, is that SAP has decided to include the improvement in S/4HANA Cloud edition version 1908.

Final remarks

I’d encourage you to browse through all already delivered improvements before launching any custom development initiatives. There are already close to 9000 improvements delivered!

Look out to current and upcoming campaigns. SAP Customer Connection is a great opportunity to share pain points or improvement ideas and have them delivered as standard.

7 Comments
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  • When I try to open the influence page it asks be to upgrade my account and I can’t change the country from US / Canada.

    What the hell? How come providing ideas to SAP is US / Canada only? What legal nonsense is behind this absurd restriction?

    • Hi Joao, frankly I can tell if there is any legal red tape or not. I’ve always been using my S-user to logon to SAP Customer Connection and it worked fine for me. I’m from Poland.

      Are you using S-user to logon?

      BR

      Dominik Tylczyński

    • Hi Joao! As Dominik noted, you must use SID for this. I remember I had to “upgrade” mine too (which is rather silly, like what am I “upgrading” exactly?) but don’t think this is limited to any country. There were definitely lots of customers from Germany in all the recent SD projects.

      Note: I use different browsers to make sure my SID and PID do not cross. It’s virtually impossible to use the same browser to manage both PID (=SCN) and SID (=official business) activities.

      Good luck!

  • Thank for sharing, Dominik! Very timely post. I’m not sure why the SAP managers don’t announce these projects themselves. As you noted, these are very useful. And the improvements are delivered through SAP notes available to any customer!

    In these projects only one vote per company counts, so we really need more customers to make sure the requests get enough votes to be considered.

    • Hi Jelena, I could not agree more – SAP Customer Connection projects should be advocated as much as possible. Also the improvements delivered within those projects can save a lot of time & cost for SAP customers.

      Just a side note – I wonder how we can additionally push SAP into actually delivering improvements with enough votes. Proposals as the following have been up voted but rejected:

      1. BAPI to maintain pricing conditions
      2. Flexible customer material info record determination with condition technique
      3. Flexible customer defined fields in pricing conditions maintenance VK12 / VK13 – BADI_COND_INFO

      I’m also curious if we could have any influence on how the proposals are implemented. There is at least couple improvements to hide obsolete organizational units:

      1. Hiding obsolete SD org. structures e.g. sales org., distribution channel etc. in F4 search helps
      2. Deactivate company code

      These are very similar requirements. Yet SAP delivers them independently. It would be nice to have a one generic solution to hide what you don’t want to see from F4 search help results, would it be? Actually I’m thinking about developing such a generic solution as an open source. I’ll publish a blog on that if I ever get to do that.

      Best regards

      Dominik Tylczyński

      • These programs could use a bit more transparency when it comes to determining what exactly gets implemented. As you’ve noted correctly, even the most voted requests end up not being implemented. I understand that the SAP team has limited resources and perhaps for their KPIs it looks better if they implement, say, 10 small improvements instead of 2 big ones. Would like to have more information on that.

        Some items like no BAPI for pricing have been major pain-points for years almost for every SAP customer. It was very disappointing that the request was denied. I understand the complexity of such task but even if BAPI had limited functionality (e.g. no scales) it’d still be a big improvement compared to current option of nothing.

        Hiding obsolete SD structures is actually not a minor change because there is no actual programmed search help that is used everywhere. The data element VKORG has a domain that’s assigned TVKO as a value table. This creates an implicit search help with that table. I.e. when you call up F4 on Sales Org, most of the time it just reads values from TVKO. There are some screens that have designated search help but very many don’t. But this type of explanation could be given to the customers then instead of “ain’t gonna happen”.

        With this in mind, I would also encourage the ABAP developers to participate in these programs. They are not just for SD folks.

        • Hi Jelena, a new SAP Customer Influence project is just about to start: SD Sales and Billing 2020

          I can’t see any reason why we couldn’t resubmit a proposal to open to customers BAPI to maintain pricing conditions. I hope that with enough votes we can get it finally implemented or at least get from SAP a decent explanation why not.

          BR

          Dominik Tylczyński