Message-Based Situation Handling in Finance Contract Accounting (FI-CA) and Convergent Invoicing (CI)
We’ve come a long way baby: From log messages to situations assigned to and solved by the users responsible
Contributors: Knut Manske, Michael Seitz, Abdullah Karatas
The vast majority of business processes run without problems – but the exceptional cases, the ones with issues, mean a lot of extra effort. Situation Handling helps business users to resolve issues requiring attention (known as “situations”) by recognizing issues early before they become a problem, by identifying the users responsible, and by supporting these users in resolving the situation.
In various applications, information messages, warnings and errors are traditionally written as log messages into an application log. An administrator would analyze these logs, identify problems, create tasks to resolve the underlying issues, assign experts, and track the progress – often using standard office tools like e-mail and spreadsheets.
The applications Contract Accounting (FI-CA) and Convergent Invoicing (CI) are especially designed for contract-based or subscription-based, high volume, B2C business. These applications are already highly automated to handle the volume of business partners and documents. FI-CA and CI mass activities split large volumes into several technical jobs and process them in parallel. FI-CA and CI have more than 200 mass activities already available (approximately 40 in SAP S/4HANA Cloud). Errors, warnings, and information messages are written to the application log – and the application log can be very large and unclear, the more severe errors don’t stand out, and no follow-up actions are triggered.
FI-CA and CI are the first application areas in SAP S/4HANA (on-premise) and SAP S/4HANA Cloud to use ‘Message-based’ Situation Handling to transform information, warnings and error messages into Situations, directly inform the users responsible, and propose actions to resolve the issues.
From message in log…
…To a situation assigned to user responsible:
To get an idea about typical use cases, with SAP S/4HANA Cloud templates are delivered for the following business-critical issues in application jobs:
- Customizing errors
- Master data errors
- SEPA errors
Each is defined for various run types in one template.
- Significantly simplifies and accelerates issue recognition and issue handling in FI-CA and CI processes
- Relieves administrators from tedious, repetitive, and error-prone tasks
- Involves experts responsible directly with contextual information and action proposals
- Makes it easier to monitor critical situations and stay on top of things
which could result in
- Significantly less effort, less time to resolve issues
- Improved DSO (day sales outstanding)
- Fewer uncollectable debts
Example Use Case
Let’s take a look at a concrete use case: business critical locks in application jobs. Such locks can create issues in various run types. The predelivered template covers 17 different run types and defines a set of messages for each run type that indicates this kind of problem.
Situation type based on the predelivered situation template for business-critical locks in application jobs, first 10 run types.
Five messages are preselected for the automatic clearing run type in this template.
These three messages have been preselected for the run type submission run to collection agency.
Whenever an issue that leads to these kinds of messages occurs in an application job, that issue is transformed into a situation and sent directly to the users responsible.
The resolution of the business-critical lock issues may vary for the different run types. The following action proposals are predefined for the automatic clearing run type:
These three action proposals predefined for the submission run to collection agency run type:
My Situations, Message-Based – resolving issues
The user responsible received the situations in their My Situations, Message-based app. They receive a list of situations with the messages, handling status, processors, mass run information, and master data fields.
Selecting one situation from the list takes them to the situation page – focused information for the issue with situation information, related information, and solution proposals/action proposals.
The user can now evaluate the available information and use the action proposals to resolve the issue.
‘Message-based’ Situation Handling is highly configurable. SAP delivers predefined templates for common problem patterns in FI-CA, which can easily be adapted and used by customers. For more specific problem patterns – including those across run types – Customers can create their own templates, choose the messages characterizing the problem, filter based on the main attributes, and differentiate between different run types – used for mass data processing. Based on attribute values and the team configuration in Responsibility Management, the users responsible are derived and situations are assigned to them for processing. Customers can choose which actions will be proposed to resolve which problems.
FI-CA and CI use “message-based” Situation Handling to transform information, warnings, and error messages into situations, directly inform the users responsible, and propose actions to resolve the issues – instead of writing them into an application log.
The benefit of this is significantly less effort and less time needed to resolve issues, an improved DSO, and fewer uncollectable debts.
Interested in learning more?
If you want to learn more about Situation Handling in general, check out our introductory series of blog posts starting with
For more information about Contract Accounting (FI-CA) and Convergent Invoicing (CI) refer to: