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SAP Commissions: Understanding and Using Variables, Part 2

In Part 1 of this series on understanding Variables in SAP Commissions, I started with the Why of using Variables. Hopefully you’re pretty comfortable with the concept, because now we’re going to look at the How.

As I mentioned in Part 1, here are the steps to using Variables:

  1. Create, or import, your actual compensation elements. In our example, that means we would create a Territory for each of our three Sales Reps, but it might also mean Fixed Values, Rate Tables, and Lookup Tables.
  2. Create a Variable that will act as a placeholder for each Compensation Element
  3. When building the rules, insert the Variable in place of the Compensation Element
  4. Assign the Variable to the appropriate Compensation Element for each payee.

Going back to the example in Part 1, we had three great Sales Reps: Terry, who covers all sales in the Eastern United States, Joyce, who covers the Central region, and Gene, who covers the Western region. Since each Sales Rep has his or her own sales territory, we’d start by creating a Territory for each one. Let’s call the Territories T_US_East, T_US_West, and T_US_Central.

At this point you may be thinking, “Okay, I created three Territories. That wasn’t hard to do…but what if I have thousands of Territories?” Most of the time, Territories are imported, or created in another product like SAP Territory and Quota. You won’t have to create them manually.

Once you have your Compensation Elements created, the next step would be to create a Variable that will act as a placeholder in your plan. In our scenario we’re using Territory Variables, but there are actually four different types: Territory, Fixed Value, Rate Table, and Lookup Table. When you’re creating your Variable, don’t forget to select the correct type, because once the Variable has been created, you won’t be able to change it!

Now, when you’re ready to start creating your compensation rules, you are ready to use the Variables. Just insert the Variable wherever you would have put the original Compensation Element. In our example of the three US sales territories, we would insert the Territory Variable in the Territory field in the Credit Rule.

Finally, we’re ready to assign the Variables. Why do we need to do this? Simple. At this point, the system has no idea which Sales Rep holds which sales territory. It just has a list of Positions, and a list of Territories. So, before we can run a calculation, we need to tell the system that Terry Callahan is assigned to T_US_East, Joyce is assigned to T_US_Central, and Gene is assigned to T_US_West. This can be done on the Position record itself. If you look on the Assignments tab, you’ll see a place where you can tell the system that for any given Position, whenever it sees a particular Variable, it is pointed to a real Territory. This is important! If you skip this step, when you run the calculation, you’ll get an error and nobody will get compensated.

A bit about assigning Variables

In Step 4, we used the example of assigning the Variable to Territories for each Position. But what if all of the Positions use the same Variable?

For example, let’s say we have a plan for payees with two titles: Associate Sales Reps and Senior Sales Reps. Both of them are compensated using the same structure, so they both have the same compensation plan, but Associates get a commission rate of 2% while Seniors get a rate of 4%. In this case, we don’t have to assign the Variable to each individual Position; instead, we can assign the Variable only twice: once for the Associates, and once for the Seniors. We do this by assigning the Variable on the Title level instead of on the Position level.

There are four levels on which you can assign Variables, and you can assign different values to the same Variable using these levels. Variable assignments by Position always have the highest priority, followed by Title, Plan, and finally, Default.

Now, let’s continue on to Part 3.

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