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SAP S/4 HANA for Dummies <Series Part 1>

With the proliferation of digital transformation and all of its associated  technologies such as RPA, cloud, AI etc. software vendors are swiftly adapting their current product offerings to meet the new wave of business demands. SAP, the behemoth in the ERP space is no exemption.   SAP’s core ERP product has always been ECC but over the years the software giant has invested in developing an intelligent ERP system. This new system is not an upgrade to its core ECC but a complete new business suite with a simplified core, an in-memory database designed by SAP, a grade-A role based user experience called Fiori, and additional flexibility to integrate and extend intelligent solutions in the cloud with SAP S/4HANA cloud platform. It is called S/4 HANA. Each new version has a simplification list. Simply type **** (product version e.g. 1909) SAP S4HANA SIMPLIFICATION LIST online to get the information. The most updated is 1909. See here

Below I take you through a quick snippet of everything you need to know

Benefits of SAP HANA database for S/4 HANA

  • In-memory database that improves speed and flexibility
  • Random access
  • Data stores in rows and now columns
  • Parallel processing is possible
  • Overall system improvement up to factor of 10-20
  • Data footprint reduced up to the factor of 40
  • Migrate to HANA DB in one step: Update and migrate in one step to reduce downtime and guarantee a seamless migration
  • OLTP and OLAP in the same SAP system: No latency, no aggregation, single source of truth
Question: What about SAP BW for OLAP
Answer: SAP BW is not dead but it is SAP core data warehousing tool. S/4 HANA embedded analytics is mainly for real time analytics and is accessed from the fiori launchpad

Methodology

SAP’s core ECC product leveraged the ASAP methodology for project execution

ASAP Methodology 8X:

The phases include: Project planning and preparation, blueprint, realization (baseline config and tune up config), final preparation, go live, post go live support
With SAP S/4 HANA it is the activate methodology

ACTIVATE Methodology:

As opposed to ASAP, the ACTIVATE methodology is not just a methodology but a complete FRAMEWORK. This consist of
  1. SAP best practices – ACTIVATE best practice based on scope, saves time from blue-printing activity
  2. Guided config – Rapid Deployment Solution(RDS) ,  self-service configuration
  3. Methodology- Consistent quality delivery, prescriptive and accelerate product delivery
The ACTIVATE methodology is agile centric which helps customers – Start Fast, Build Smart, Run Simple. See details below.

Agile Projects

  • Agile project have small teams of 7+/- 2 with sprints to deliver between 2-4 weeks
  • Team includes:  functional resource, technical resource, test resource, product owner, security resource, business resource
  • Solution manager, Mira and IBM Jest used to for ticketing system and change request
  • To enhance design thinking SAP utilizes IRISE and SAP BUILD for interactive prototype

SAP S/4 HANA Migration and Deployment Options

Migration options

  1. Greenfield: From non-SAP/SAP  to S/4HANA
  • Install SAP S/4HANA using the Software Provision Manager
  • Initial data load from source system using Migration  cockpit / Data-Services / Advanced Data Management by Syniti
  1. System conversion (Brown Field):  No guided configuration
  • Use software update manager (SUM)
  • The source system does not have to be on an HANA DB
  • ECC must be Unicode- SAP ECC6 EHP 7
  1. Landscape transformation
From ECC, CRM etc. into S4HANA. Consolidate to one instance

Deployment Options

  1. On-Premise
  2. Cloud: The following cloud options exist
  • SAP S/4HANA cloud: SAAS model, updates are quarterly, and no room for customization
  • SAP S/4HANA cloud, Single tenant edition: SAAS model, updates twice a year, and ability to customize
  • SAP S/4HANA Managed by SAP Enterprise Cloud: IAAS model, annual updates, extensive customization (not recommended) permitted.

The role of SAP Solution Manager (SOLMAN) 7.2 in S/4 HANA

Solution manager 7.2 facilitates change towards outcome based delivery. Use solution manager 7.2 with best practice to deploy SAP S/4 HANA.  It acts as the ERP for SAP projects. It helps with fit to standard analysis, document scope requirement, project management etc.

Benefits of solution Manger for SAP S/4 HANA

  • All methodology, accelerators and tools to customer in one area
  • Modern Fiori interface- track the  build process, build cycles etc.
  • Tools for best practice (test scripts, process diagrams, config documents etc.)
  • SOLMAN helps to keep track of changes. It is a single source of truth for the project
  • Reporting:  In project SOLMAN has a solution readiness dashboard to track team member activities

S/4 HANA FIORI UX

To see a list of all the apps and the associated installation, please visit Fiori Apps Library.
Even if you do not know where to start, SAP can provide you apps recommendation by simply providing one month’s worth of transaction codes used through ST03N. See here for more information. SAP fiori works with apps and it is built based on UI5 – JAVA, CSS. Use fiori front end server for each backend system- DEV- QAS- PROD. It helps with scaling and business logic

Details on ACTIVATE Methodology Phases:

Discover:

Determine licenses and use the trial versions in Cloud Appliance Library (CAL) – (30 days). Explore SAP Model Company for new implementation

Prepare:

This includes readiness steps, custom code management (what custom code do we need? How do we adopt to fit new data model?), project preparation and planning, organizational governance, team organization, sprint consideration.  For system sizing, consider the system size from source. You can consider archiving. Use SAP DVM-Data volume management in solution manager
At this stage the following system planner and pre-checks tools are utilized:
  1. Readiness Check  2.0 (tool)

The tool’s main focus is on the functional assessment that evaluates all available SAP S/4HANA simplification items and identifies the ones that are relevant for your system. This assessment provides a basis for the functional system redesign that is necessary upon conversion. The technical assessment includes system sizing and data volume management, assertion of the software prerequisites for conversion, inspection of SAP Business Warehouse (BW) extractors, and a first-pass estimate of the impact on the custom code. The software prerequisites cover OS and database versions of the ERP system, as well as the installed industry solutions, add-ons, and activated business functions.
The readiness tool can:
  • Can be executed on SOLMAN or not
  • Displays simplification items that pertain to your solution
  • Verify all system requirement
  1. Pre-Checks

  • System sizing: HANA Sizing estimate- Use SAP Quick sizer in marketplace to get the correct sizing. Corrects CPU, DISK etc.
  • Custom Code Worklist: By readiness assessment or through ABAP Test Cockpit
  • Data Volume Management-DVM
  • Fiori -apps recommendation based on current transaction landscape. See S/4 HANA FIORI UX section above
  • Simplication item check – Notes to be implemented e.g.  Business Partner (BP)conversion
To start the simplification list, use transaction  /SDF/RC_START_CHECK. It checks system consistency during conversion/upgrade. Resolve error message (mostly notes) and re-execute. Consumed by Software Update Manager (SUM). Example of pre- check simplification item will be the Business partner conversion
  1. Maintenance planner (MP tool)

Formerly called maintenance optimizer. Maintenance Planner in solution manager checks the system with regards to business functions, industry function and adds-on. It is a prerequisite for SAP ECC to S/4 HANA conversion.
  • It checks add-ons, business functions, industry solutions
  • Generates XML stack
  • Stops upgrade, implementation or conversion if no path exist

Explore:

  • Fit-Gap analysis: Organize value identification workshop to determine the key business scenarios and define the roadmap to SAP S/4HANA
  • Process extension: Document and modify best practice graphics and see the configuration areas.
  • Testing: Identify test cases (all types of test), supports a great testing environment and test suite
  • Config (New implementation): Guided config and implementation cockpit, solution designed template, requirement capture and gap, process re-engineering, best-practice workshop

Realize:

  • Configure in sprints based on requirements identified in EXPLORE phase (new implementation)
  • Utilize transaction SPDD, SPAU like in typical upgrade projects etc. for conversion migration object to ensure data elements and dictionary, reports, programs, FM and screens are in sync. SAP will identify changes and provide recommendations on how to proceed (conversion).
  • Data migration (for ECC there is pre-designed mapping for non-sap there is a canonical format). Migration cockpit (LTMC), data services, SAP SLT are tools that can be leveraged. LSMW is not recommended.
  • Data conversion: Data migration and conversion happens in downtime, system update can happen in the uptime
  • Custom Code Adaptation- Find issues using ABAP Test Cockpit
  • Software Update Manager (SUM) – Uses the XML stack generated by MP tool. This is the actual migration stage
  • Utilize a distributed system

Figure 1. The use of distributed system for SAP S/4 HANA conversion

The following applies only to conversion projects:
  • Run conversion in this step (the Software Update Manager -SUM)
  • Output control: Using background RFC connection – BRFplus, Adobe Document Services
  • PFCG backend role adaptation and integration to fiori catalogs for front -end
  • Application specific follow-on activities
  • Cross application follow-on activities
Figure 2. Key phases in a conversion project

Deploy:

Go live – move to production system, more testing, training- on-boarding was changed with features and documents.

Run:

Post deployment supports and enhancement

Other tools for implementation

Best Practice Explorer:

Based on the entire SAP software portfolio, SAP Best Practices are developed to help companies of all sizes benefit from proven business best practices for a wide range of processes and topics which can be leveraged to rapidly ensure a quick return on investment. Access Here

Roadmap Viewer:

Project teams that are planning or implementing their SAP solutions should use the SAP roadmap viewer, that offers detailed methodology roadmaps and project accelerators (like templates, examples, white papers and how-to guides). The roadmap viewer is a cloud environment that gives you access to general and solution specific methodologies. Access Here. Highly recommended for project management

SAP Transformation Navigator:

This is a web-based and free self-service road-mapping tool. It uses the information about your SAP system landscape that is stored in your instance of SAP solution manager to create a recommendation for a new SAP S/4HANA-centric landscape with the latest SAP solutions. See Here

SAP Innovation and Optimization Pathfinder; Business Scenario Recommendation report:

It analyzes the functional system usage of your SAP ERP application and computes the key process performance indicators (PPIs) for the relevant process areas, such as degree of automation, process failures, and on-time execution. Next, it highlights the new or improved functionality of SAP S/4HANA, SAP Leonardo technologies, and other SAP innovations that can help improve the performance and efficiency of the respective business processes. See Here
SAP Innovation Discovery-Find innovations and features that you can turn into tangible value for your business

Others:

Simplification examples in Logistics

  1. MRP- Fast real time MRP run
  2. Inventory management – simplified data model
  3. Order mgt – end to end monitoring
  4. FICO – use of universal journal entry as opposed to FI and CO document separately
  5. Simplification item BP for all core modules
  6. Table – BUT00 stores data for BP and distribute to all old vendor and customer master table as various roles are extended.

Steps to Configure BP

  1. Define BP role
  2. Configure number grouping which is similar to account group ECC
  3. Configure number range
  4. Configure BP Category
  5. New functionality- status mgt for BP
  6. Map A/C group- Z001 with Role- FLCU00
For details. See Post

Material Master

  • 40 character length
  • No foreign trade data
  • SERV material type
  • MRP Fields

Credit Mgt

  • Moved from SD to FSCM ( Financial supply chain Mgt)
  • Credit control area is replaced with segments and global segments
  • External credit rating through external feed

Output Determination

No longer uses condition technique but BRF+ (Business Rules Framework). The functional consultant can use the predetermined rules.
  1. Open tcode BRF+
  2. Check note 2248229
  3. Make sure BRF+ is in EXPERT mode. Go to tools and choose XML Export.
  4. Functional consultant uses transaction OPD- To maintain condition records

Pricing

  • KONV replaced with PRCD _ELEMENTS
  • Limit to condition table has increased from 99 to 999
  • customer and document pricing procedure now has two digit as opposed to  0-9 or a-z
  • PRC_MIG_POST_PROCESSING (SE38) – a program that should be run after ECC to HANA conversion.

Rebate-VBOX (index table changed)

Moved to a module called “settlement management”- good for retro-active rebate processing

ATP and TOR

  • No more cumulative requirement table – VBBS. S/4 now uses only VBBE
  • As a migratory step, in OVZ2 -Availability requirement check make sure you change from B-Cumulative to A.

Inventory Management

  • MKPF (Header) and (MSEG) item is condensed in MATDOC
  • Material ledger becomes mandatory in S/4HANA to help valuate in multiple currency and also sync costing between Balance sheet and P&L.
There is no doubt SAP has devoted significant resource to the development of the S/4HANA product line as every year new simplification items are introduced, migration tools are developed and project accelerators are introduced to assist customers get on the transformation journey.
Please watch out for my next dummy series on SAP central finance
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