With the latest cloud release for SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2008, a first version of our new Project Billing solution was delivered. Although being one of the biggest changes in the professional services scenario since its existence, there is no immediate impact on existing customers for now. The following article shall provide further details on motivation, included functionalities and future planning.
Why new solution?
Our current resource-related billing in SAP S/4HANA Cloud has been in place for several years now, so we wanted to address not only feedback from our customers and partners, but also holistically solve fundamental requirements. To give an example, the underlying source selection and material determination is not open to customers for customizing due to several reasons. This limits the number of activity types and sales materials that can be used in the professional services scenario to the existing, pre-delivered ones T001-T020, U001-U010 and E001-E040.
To overcome this and other restrictions, a completely new architecture for the billing preparation process was built. The key benefits of the new Project Billing solution are the following:
- Increased usability due to the usage of latest SAP Fiori elements.
- Prior preparation of billing data using a push principle. When a posting in ACDOCA/Universal Journal is billing relevant, it’s getting directly pushed to the new billing tables which also has an added advantage of performance improvement.
- Addition of several new features as compared to the earlier solution. This does not only include the possibility to add further activity types respective sales materials through a flexible material determination configuration, but also a generic access to Project Billing based on authorizations and an extended reporting on billing data.
The delivery of our new Project Billing functionality is enabled through the new scope item 4E9 “Project Billing – Project-Based Services”. This scope item is enabled for the baseline DE/US first and is planned to be localized for standard countries afterwards. Further information can be found on the SAP Best Practices Explorer.
Scope item 4E9 is delivered as non-standard scope item, which means that it is excluded from default activation and customers need to request for its activation specifically. By implication the existing billing solution is still the default solution for the billing preparation process in the professional services scenario. As of now this will stay the same in the upcoming releases. As these two solutions can exist in your system in parallel without impacting your existing billing process, customers can decide to have an “early” look on our new Project Billing solution if they are interested – having also the chance to give early feedback. A first release includes a smaller scope compared to the existing solution and will be extended over time.
Features in SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2008
This chapter should give a short overview and some background information on the 2008 functionalities of our new Project Billing. For further details please also see the documentation on the SAP Help Portal.
The main application of our new Project Billing is the successor of the Release Billing Proposals app called Manage Project Billing. This app gives an overview on different billing data and provides as central place for billing preparation before the SD billing process itself starts. With the first release in 2008, the contract types “Fixed Price” as well as “Time and Expenses” including on account can be processed. Other item usages or contract types are not yet supported and therefore according billing elements are not displayed.
When billing for a “Time and Expense” billing element is prepared, one or more postings can be fully written off or postponed to the next billing cycle. Technically, these actions are saved in an own object called “Project Billing Request”. Compared to the existing billing solution, this allows the introduction of certain functionalities in the future (e.g. integration to the central approval framework).
Once the Project Billing Request is submitted, a Billing Document Request is created. This is a difference to the existing solution, in which a Debit Memo Request is created. As a result, the Billing Request Editor cannot be used anymore. As an alternative the features and functions in the Preliminary Billing Document can be leveraged. On top of that, we are aiming to introduce certain of these functions also in our new Project Billing in the future.
As mentioned above, a central capability of our new Project Billing is the possibility to configure a flexible material determination. The new Self Service Configuration User Interface (SSCUI) includes a configuration step for making settings related to maintaining the project billing profile in the “Manage Your Solution” app. Thus, a Configuration Expert can define which sales materials are determined for incoming costs or quantities on certain activity types or materials.
To give an example, the below table shows how activity type T001 (Junior Consultant) is mapped to sales material T001 (Junior Consultant) in a Time and Expense scenario. The Project Billing profile CMPRJBL001 as well as the cost element group YBPS_BILL are fixed. The first line covers the scenario in which the activity type is available from the posting. The second one relates to the contingent worker scenario, for which only the material is given.
|PB Profile||Line||Mat. dir.||Qty/Costs||Material||Field Name||Set Name||Value|
|CMPRJBL001||1||Transfer Costs and Quantity||T001||GLACCOUNT||YBPS_T000|
|CMPRJBL001||2||Transfer Costs and Quantity||T001||GLACCOUNT||YBPS_T000|
The second application that is delivered besides the “Manage Project Billing” app is the application job “Schedule Repricing for Projects”. Due to the architectural change explained above (push instead of pull) and the fact that repricing is not run each time the “Manage Project Billing” app is used, the billing data needs to be updated when there is a change of the sales rate or material configuration. Compared to the existing DIP run, this application job can be scheduled at the customer’s own discretion.
Access and usage of the new Project Billing
The activation of scope item 4E9 does not only enable the new business role template “Billing Specialist – Projects” and the business catalog “Project Systems – Project Billing”, but also a switch on the Information tab of the Plan Customer Projects app. The default setting of this flag is set to No, which means that the existing billing solution is used. The flag can be set to Yes for specific projects only, as long as the project is in planning stage. Once the project stage is set to Contract Preparation, this decision can no longer be changed. Additionally, the flag can be removed from the UI using the key user functionality for adapting UIs.
There are in principle two ways how billing elements in the “Manage Project Billing” app are shown. The first one is based on the authorizations maintained on the business role, which means that for example a central billing team can be allowed access to all billing elements in one or more specific service organizations. The second one is similar to the existing access to Billing Proposals in the “Release Billing Proposal” app, which means it is based on assignments in the project. This access is even enhanced to the billing item level: If a user is assigned in any partner function on sales order item level, the single billing element would be shown. If the assignment is on sales order header or accordingly project level, all billing elements for that project would be accessible. The filter for both logics in the “Manage Project Billing” app is My Billing Elements.
Conclusion and features beyond SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2008
Our new Project Billing shall reach feature parity compared to the existing solution as soon as possible. Our rough planning targets next year without giving any commitment. The following features are currently planned as part of our roadmap. This list is not intended to be exhaustive, please see also SAP Road Maps.
- Selection of multiple Billing Elements in the Manage Project Billing screen. This allows a combined preparation for various Billing Elements within one project and a creation of one Billing Document for a single project.
- Enablement of In-App Extensibility through new Business Contexts and Business Scenarios, which allows to automatically forward Extensibility fields from the Sales Order to the Billing Document Request and subsequent documents.
- Possibility to write-off and postpone partial quantities or costs for time and expense postings. To give an example, the project billing specialist or billing team member would be able to postpone only 1 hour from a 2 hours’ time recording to the next billing cycle.
- Handling of Notes across the process in project billing. A project billing specialist or billing team member would be able to view and change the note field that is added by a consultant during time recording or added in the Note field of a Billing Plan item in the Fixed Price scenario.
- Possibility of mass creation of Billing Document Requests through an application job to define automated creation of Billing Document Request for different billing methods. The process definition can be narrowed based on different criteria.
- Bringing back formerly written off items, which means a restoration of written-off items that were part of Billing Document Requests created earlier. Here, a specific selection and decision of time and expense items could be made.
- Enablement of down payment scenario and contract types Usage-Based Billing and Periodic Service.
For more information on our new Project Billing SAP S/4HANA Cloud, check out the following links: