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Author's profile photo Christian Vogler

Sales in SAP S/4HANA 2021 – Part 1

Sales in SAP S/4HANA refers to the functions of sales order and contract management. The process can start with inquiries and ends with billing and returns. At the center is the capture and fulfillment of sales orders. Overall, sales is part of an overarching E2E process called lead-to-cash, which starts in the SAP Customer Experience portfolio and finds its end in finance, specifically, in receivables management.

In the following blog, I will give you an engineering expert view of some selected highlights of our SAP S/4HANA 2021 for Sales.

The blog is built as a series of 3 parts and present the key highlights for:

  • Part 1: Low Touch Sales Order Processing
  • Part 2: Sales Billing and Sales Pricing; Claims, Returns, and Refund Management
  • Part 3: Master Data Management; Sales Contract Management; Sales Monitoring and Analytics

To name just a few highlights that we have in store for Low-Touch Sales Order Processing:

  • Creating and editing sales orders with the SAP Fiori app “Process Sales Orders”
  • Automatic creation of sales orders from unstructured data
  • Create sales orders through spreadsheet upload
  • Triggering mass changes of sales documents
  • Monitor approval workflows for sales orders
  • … and more.

Remark

  • All these Innovations will also be available for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition
  • You will find in this blog demos related to SAP S/4HANA Cloud, but the functionalities described in these demos also correspond to SAP S/4HANA 2021.

 

Introduction

Industry 4.0 and the pandemic have disrupted deeply our way of working and accelerated, at the same time, the higher expectations of the buyer side. This greatly influences the innovations that we bring to each SAP S/4HANA Cloud release and our shift to low-touch sales order processes.

In this blog for the SAP S/4HANA 2021 release, I will describe our journey to this low-touch sales order by automating as many steps possible in the sales order processing without impacting the flexibility or speed of the process.

Background

A perfect sales order is one that is delivered:

  • Exactly as expected by customers (100% on-time delivery)
  • With the right amount (100% file rate)
  • In the correct condition and packaging (100% correct quality)
  • With the correct corresponding documentation.

To meet these challenges, the low-touch sales order process concept brings several advantages:

  • It leaves more room for spending time on “high-value” tasks by employees, instead of repetitive tasks with little added value
  • It reduces or eliminates the need for input moments in the system, reducing or eliminating human error
  • At the bottom line, a no-touch order can reduce human labor hours and streamline the tasks of those employees.

 

Creating and editing sales orders with the SAP Fiori app “Process Sales Orders”

The sales function is at the heart and soul of any business, and SAP S/4HANA Cloud covers the needed sales and distribution lifecycle, from pre-sales activities, sales order processing, to shipping and billing. It provides an organization with greater visibility of real-time data (customer orders, pending delivery, delivery block, and so on) across multiple locations.

There are different ways you can process sales orders in the SAP system, depending on your specific needs.

Professional users are confronted with complex scenarios, and for this SAP recommends using the Create Sales Orders SAP Fiori app (Transaction VA01!). This app is an SAP GUI for HTML transactions offering an HTML Graphical User Interface with a broad offering of features and functions of a sales order. These transactions are available in the SAP Fiori theme to support a seamless user experience across the SAP Fiori launchpad.

And now with the SAP S/4HANA 2021 release, we deliver the first version of the new SAP Fiori app “Create Sales Orders”. Please note that this app is not a true successor of the Create Sales Orders app (VA01), as it does not contain all the fields that the original app contains, and this application is offering now an SAP Fiori User Interface with a limited offering of features and functions compared to the HTML GUI application. It simplifies the daily work of sales employees and presents all important information on a single screen – including easy navigation and optimized visualization and allows people to do what they do best: be innovative and creative.

Video 1: Increase sales force speed and efficiency with the new SAP Fiori app (including audio)

The new Fiori app is fully integrated with other customer-facing apps and enables straightforward navigation to related apps such as credit risk, sales volume analysis, and sales orders.

The clear, intuitive user interface significantly minimizes training requirements for users and ensures higher throughput in sales, as the functionalities offer high transparency and a good overview. Keyboard navigation allows sales orders to be processed more quickly and efficiently. The header area and the items have a clear structure. This means that a lot of relevant data is visible at a glance. Customer KPIs can be added or removed as needed. Relevant data such as credit limit and net sales can objectively support decisions in the sales process.

As known from the document chain, the process flow is displayed graphically and with semantic colors. Users recognize critical situations immediately and can take countermeasures.

Keyboard navigation

To help professional power users work more efficiently with mouse-free interactions, keyboard navigation has been introduced. Now, processes in the item table can be scrolled through by pressing the arrow keys and selecting the appropriate product. By pressing the Tab key he gets to the next field to insert the quantity. There is, of course, also the option to add a new row/item simply by using the keyboard.

Default User Values

If you have maintained default values for the sales order type, the sales organization, the distribution channel, or the division, these values are automatically used when you create a sales order. Note that if you have saved any additional values for these fields, they are not considered in this app.

More Information

My SAP colleagues have put together a great blog series for you, introducing the SAP Fiori app usability, User-Interface (UI) adaptation, and extensibility.

The following table here compares the features offered by various apps that you can use for creating, changing, and displaying single sales orders. The column headings contain links to the app documentation and the app’s entry in the SAP Fiori apps reference library.

To learn more about “Process Sales Orders” see Product Assistance

 

Automatic creation of sales orders from unstructured data

Artificial Intelligence technologies to automate routine tasks and identify opportunities for innovation, allows you to create synergy, and here I like to show you one example to illustrate how SAP S/4HANA 2021 is delivering value with intelligent innovations and how intelligent technologies helps the Quote-to-Cash Processes.

Business example

A significant amount of sales orders are captured from unstructured formats like PDF documents. To generate the sales order, an internal sales representative needs to check purchasing details in these files, identify sales data based on the purchasing data (for example, identify the sold-to party based on the purchaser’s name and address), and enter the sales data manually in the structured format as required to be processed into SAP S/4HANA 2021.

Video 2: Click here to watch the video and see how the sales create sales orders automatically.

Short description on the new and as the additional process for sales orders creation

  1. When a new purchase order comes in, this order file in PDF format is uploaded in the new SAP Fiori app “Create Sales Orders – Automatic Creation”,
  2. The system automatically extracts data from the file and determines master data (for example, the sold-to party) from the extracted data. Here we will leverage the Intelligent Innovations to decrease manual efforts by automatically extracting additional information about sales orders from unstructured information.
  3. This data is saved in a sales order request, which you can later convert into a sales order. A sales order request (SOR) is basically a sales order draft that serves the purpose of preparing a sales order. It represents a preceding document of the sales order but is not part of the document flow from the business perspective, and a sales order request is created for each uploaded file.
  4. Check data completeness of your sales order request. A complete sales order request must comprise mandatory fields (Sold-to party, Sales organization/distribution channel/division, Product, Requested quantity, Unit of measure (UoM), Sales order type (OR)) which are either automatically extracted or determined, or manually specified.
  5. If request data is complete, you can create a sales order from the list page or object page

 

Prerequisites

Before using the Create Sales Orders – Automatic Extraction app, the following two prerequisites must have been fulfilled:

  • The scope item 4X9 (Create Sales Orders from Unstructured Data) has been activated for SAP S/4HANA.
  • The scope item 4X9 has been set up to enable communication between SAP S/4HANA and Document Information Extraction. (For setup instructions, see scope item 4X9 in the SAP Best Practices Explorer.)
  • (Optional) If you want to automate the creation of sales order requests from email attachments, you can enable a bot in SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Factory (for more information, see scope item 5LT Information published in the SAP Intelligent RPA Store).

Picture 1: An iRPA bot will be released on SAP Cloud Platform the bot will automatically monitor the email inbox, once receiving a purchase order email, it will download the attached PDF file and upload it to the Fiori app.

NOTE: The data extraction function in this app is provided by the Document Information Extraction service.

References

 

Ability to create sales orders through spreadsheet upload

With the SAP S/4HANA 2021 release, we deliver the first version of the new SAP Fiori app “Create Sales Orders” (see prior chapter). Also with the SAP S/4HANA 2021 release, we improve and increase sales force efficiency with a new option to create sales orders by uploading spreadsheets with the required data. You can use this process when creating sales orders as a result of mass upload capabilities.

Business background

You regularly receive orders maintained in XLSX files. As sales orders are fundamental to any inventory and order management system, sales orders should be entered into your system as soon as possible. You have now to create sales orders based on the data maintained in these XLSX files, and you need to manually enter the order data and create them one by one in the Create Sales Orders app.

Short description on the new and as additional process for sales orders creation

With the new SAP Fiori app “Import Sales Orders”, you can batch-create sales orders directly from XLSX spreadsheet files. After an order data file is uploaded, the system automatically creates sales orders, thereby reducing manual workload and enhancing work efficiency for internal sales reps.

Note 1: The sales order fields provided in this app do not suffice for creating sales orders with billing plans or for one-time customers. If you have created these sales orders using the app, you must make order data complete later in the “Change Sales Orders – VA02” app.

Note2: Technically, the import of sales orders requires field names that uniquely identify sales order fields. Currently, only a limited number of order fields are available for import.

Video 3: Click here to watch the video and see the improved efficiency in creating sales orders, as a result of mass upload capabilities.

Key process:

1: Fill in Order Data in a Template-based File

We recommend that you download the standard template before importing sales orders. This template provides a list of sales order fields that are either required or optional for importing sales orders. You can add optional fields as needed in the order datasheet of the template. For details, refer to the instructions in the template.

Picture 2: Import Sales Orders app – Download Template

This sheet provides a list of sales order fields that are either required (marked with an asterisk) or optional. You can add optional fields to the “Order Data” sheet as needed.

Note: If you want to use your own XLSX file, instead of the template, to import sales orders, you have to adapt your own XLSX File with the technical names (the basis for sales order import) provided in the standard template.

2: Preview Order Data

After filling in order data and uploading your file, you can preview the order data, including header and item details.

If your file contains missing or invalid information, a preview is not possible. Revise your file by referring to the message displayed before attempting to reupload. Generally, you need to pay attention to missing or invalid information at three levels: Column level, Row-level, and Cell level.

3: Import Order Data

After you have verified the data integrity and validity of the file, you can import sales orders from your preview page. It may take some time before order creation is completed. You can navigate to the import history to query the order creation status.

Picture 3: Import Sales Orders app – Create sales orders from your file

 

4: Track Order Data import history

You can track the history of sales order imports in the system, including order creation time, order creation status, the application log, and other information about each import

Constraints

The app supports a limited number of sales order types:

  • Order types must belong to document category C (Order).
  • Sales orders do not have to be created with reference to a preceding document.
  • Key users can query whether a reference document is mandatory for order creation by checking the configuration of a sales order type. To do so, open the Customizing activity Define Sales Document Types under Sales and Distribution > Sales > Sales Documents.

The sales order fields provided in this app do not suffice for creating sales orders with billing plans or for one-time customers. If you have created these sales orders using the app, you must make order data complete later in the Change Sales Orders – VA02 app.

 

Triggering mass changes of sales documents

The last innovation concerning the low touch sales order process is about mass changes in sales documents. Typically, updating sales orders in SAP S/4HANA requires the user to manually open and make changes to the correspondent Sales Orders Header Data or Sales Orders Items Data, one after the other. Maybe this is a possible process for a very small list of orders, but it becomes time-consuming for larger ones.

Now with the new 2021 release, we have a new SAP Fiori app to manage mass changes of sales documents. We support the mass changes for:

  • Sales orders
  • Sales quotations
  • Sales contracts
  • Customer returns
  • Sales scheduling agreements
  • Sales orders without charge
  • Credit memo requests
  • Debit memo requests

Video 4: The new SAP Fiori app enables you to trigger mass changes of sales documents and to manage and make changes to multiple documents at a time.

Key process:

Trigger a mass change of a Sales Document

On launching the Mass Change of Sales Document SAP Fiori app, you will land at a landing page that allows you to create change jobs for the respective sales documents as well as allows you to monitor previously created mass change jobs.

Below the Sales Documents, you will see 3 tabs that show previously created jobs that have either “Failed”, and those which are “In Process” and those that are “Completed” successfully

On clicking on the individual sales document, the new SAP Fiori app will launch the respective mass change object app.

For example, if you click on Sales Orders, the mass change of Sales Orders app launches, which then allows you to search for sales orders that you want to execute a mass change and allows you to create a background job for the changes.

Monitor Mass Change Jobs: Option 1

Below the Sales Documents, you will see 3 tabs that show previously created jobs that have either “Failed”, and those which are “In Process” and those that are “Completed” successfully.

On clicking on individual sales documents, the app will launch the respective mass change object app.

Failed Jobs:

You can select one or more jobs under the failed jobs tab and “Set to completed”, this will then appear under the completed Jobs tab with the field Manually Completed set to “Yes”

On clicking on the job, you will be finding more information on the job status, the fields that were submitted for changes, Failed Documents, and Completed Documents.

You can also re-run the entire job by choosing “Schedule New Job” or you can also rerun the activity for a failed document by choosing “Repeat Activity”.

Monitor Mass Change Jobs: Option 2

Monitor Mass Changes of Sale Documents can be either accessed from the landing page under the 3 tabs “Failed”, “In Process” or “Completed” – or by directly accessing the new SAP Fiori app “Monitor Mass Changes of Sales Documents”.

Monitor Mass Changes of Sale Documents can be either accessed from the landing page under the 3 tabs “Failed”, “In Process” or “Completed” – or by directly accessing the Monitor Mass Changes of Sales Documents tile.

Situation Handling: Mass Change of Sales Docs

Situation Handling brings business issues to the attention of specific user groups. It helps the user to recognize, understand and resolve the situation and we are also shipping a new situation in Sales for Mass Change of Sales Documents.

Here, mass changes can be triggered as a background job, and automatically send a completion notification on the SAP Fiori launchpad. You can review the processing log and trigger follow-up actions if necessary.

Picture 4: End users are informed about the situations they’re responsible for by notifications.

References

  • To learn more about the Mass Changes of Sales Documents see SAP Help Portal
  • To learn more about Situation Template: Mass Change of Sales Docs: Jobs Complete see Product Assistance

 

Thanks for reading this blog post. Stay tuned!

If you want to learn more and actively engage with SAP subject matter experts on SAP S/4HANA Cloud, join our SAP S/4HANA Cloud Customer Community. This platform which is available to SAP S/4HANA Cloud customers and partners has a clear mission: deliver an interactive community to engage with one another about best practices and product solutions.

For more information on SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP S/4HANA 2021, check out the following links: 

  • SAP S/4HANA release info: sap.com/s4hana
  • SAP S/4HANA Community here
  • SAP S/4HANA Release Highlights community call here
  • The Link Collection for Sales here
  • SAP S/4HANA PSCC Digital Enablement Wheel here
  • Inside SAP S/4HANA Podcast here
  • Join the SAP S/4HANA Movement
  • Best practices for SAP S/4HANA here
  • Help Portal Product Page here
  • Feature Scope Description here
  • What’s New here

Follow us via @SAP and #S4HANA, or myself via @VoglerChrist and LinkedIn

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