Learnings from the Implementation of SAP S/4HANA BRIM Subscription Solution
I am sharing my experience of implementation of SAP S/4HANA BRIM (Billing and Revenue Innovation Management) solution through 2 blog series.
Blog 1 offers the information on why Subscription services are gaining increased traction in the market and what are the key characteristic of the Subscription business so that a successful subscription business model and SAP BRIM system design can be created.
Blog 2 offers the information on Subscription business processes and how these are enabled in different SAP S/4HANA BRIM solution components. I also share the key learnings from the Implementation of SAP S/4HANA BRIM subscription solution for a leading Auto OEM company.
Blog 2: Learnings from the Implementation of SAP S/4HANA BRIM Subscription Solution
- It is important to understand the Subscription Processes and how SAP S/4HANA BRIM Solution components are organized to form Subscription Management Solution
- The schematic representation of Subscription Management solution using SAP S/4HANA BRIM is shown below. It covers the Business Process and the underlying technical solution components of SAP BRIM.
- The Subscription Processes and the execution of the process steps in SAP BRIM solution is summarized as below:
|Key Process Area||Key Sub processes||SAP BRIM Solution Component||Remarks|
|Master Data||Subscription Master Data
Finance Master Data
Subscription Price Master Data
For Subscription & Finance Master Data
For Subscription Pricing Master Data
|Manage Subscription Contracts||
(The Subscription Order Management solution component is within S/4HANA)
|Subscription Contracts are distributed to SAP Convergent Charging and SAP Convergent Invoicing using Order Distribution Infrastructure (ODI)|
• Usage data capturing, monitoring and tracking
• Perform data validation, normalization, enrichment, aggregation
• Process usage data (massages, consolidates, applies business rules etc.)
• Transfer finalize usage data to SAP Convergent Charging and SAP S/4HANA
(Non-S/4HANA Application. It is a mediation tool by Digital Route. It is part of BRIM Solution component)
|SAP Convergent Mediation application picks the usage data from multiple metering/billing systems of different technologies that organization may have, and it passes the data to SAP Convergent Charging and SAP S/4HANA. The integration connectivity of SAP CC system with S/4HANA is via Webservices.|
|Rating & Charging||
• Define Prices and Charge Plans
• Performing rating and charging of Usage Records (recurring, usage based, one-time charges)
(Non-SAP S/4HANA Application. It is offered by SAP as part of BRIM solution component)
|Subscription Contract terms are referred by SAP CC system to perform rating and charging. The output called billable items (BITs) records are sent to SAP S/4HANA Convergent Invoicing (CI).|
|Billing & Invoicing||
• Process Billable Items
• Generate Billing Documents
• Perform Taxation
• Generate Invoices
(The SAP Convergent Invoicing solution component is within S/4HANA)
|Multiple billable items (BITs) for different services can be combined into one single invoice for a given customer. Invoice can also be grouped by different grouping factors. Invoices finance postings are at a subledger level and are finally transferred to General Ledger in a separate step|
|Contract Account Receivables and Payables||
• Perform Customer Payment receipt processing
• Manage Collections
• Manage Disputes
• Manage Credit/Debit memo processing
• Manage Account Payables
• SAP S/4HANA
(The SAP Finance and Contract Accounting FICA component is within S/4HANA)
|BRIM Uses SAP FICA (Finance and Contract Account) for subledger postings.|
|Manage General Ledger||
• Manage General Ledger
• Manage Closing
(This solution component is within S/4HANA)
|Subledger and GL closing|
- SAP S/4HANA BRIM implementation requires separate skilled resources for each of solution component of SAP BRIM e.g., SAP Subscription Order Management SOM, SAP Convergent Charging CC, SAP Convergent Invoicing CI & Finance and Contract Accounting FICA are required. These should be planned in advance. It is uncommon that a single BRIM consultant can manage all the four different solution components of SAP BRIM.
- Reduce Subscription Product/Service Master proliferation by using Advance variant configuration to define Product characteristics:
- It is possible to reduce creation of multiple Product masters using characteristics to define subscription product/service master for a similar subscription offering. Define all the variations of subscription offering by defining a single product master and using characteristics to define variations of the same subscription product rather than to define separate product master for each variation.
- Using separate Contract Account (extension of Business Partner MKK) for a given Business Partner if you have a need for separate financial terms and/or need for segregation of different set of services that are consumed by a given customer. Business Partner to Contract Account is 1: N relationship.
- Define Charge Plan and Price Plan in a way so as to leverage individual pricing components in SAP Convergent Charging (CC) i.e., you do not define them each time for every plan.
- Custom field specifications should be consistent across – Usage data, SAP Convergent Charging CC, SAP Convergent Invoicing CI and SAP Convergent Mediation (CM) applications. It creates issues otherwise if the same field is having different meta data definition e.g., char or num, decimals etc. in SAP CC or SAP CI, Usage data systems.
- Usage data metering and monitoring systems may be on different technologies and thus some custom work may be required to get the usage data into S/4HANA BRIM. Evaluate the use of SAP Convergent Mediation application to manage usage data capturing, enrichment, aggregation etc. and seamlessly sending the same to SAP S/4HANA system. Organization may also have the option of using their legacy usage data systems.
- Think of Automation of end-to-end process – from design to testing phase. It helps to incorporate elements of parallelism for faster data processing capabilities.
- Data Migration is a big challenge and is typically consists of high data volume:
- Use Interfaces where it may be applicable for initial data load e.g., for Business Partner initial load migration from the upstream ecommerce or mobile apps system
- Business Processes are constantly evolving and thus achieving standardization may be a challenge. This Manage Change Process should be robust so as not to have moving targets during project execution.
- Performance load testing is very important and should not be missed for BRIM Implementations to check for bottlenecks for high volume processing of usage data
- Integration for usage data system (legacy or SAP Convergent Mediation) to SAP S/4HANA BRIM should be able to deal with high volume data with capability to simulate and then post to avoid reconciliation errors and efforts
- Handling Errors in end-to-end subscription cycle processing:
- Have in your design the ability to catch errors upfront in Usage data processing, Rating and Charging, Billing & Invoicing processes. One of the ways to do is before any set of usage record is processed, line by line it is simulated till invoicing to find and correct errors upfront before actual processing is performed. This will eliminate the error during actual processing run.
- Customer Service should deliver personal and prompt resolution to customer’s feedback to make it a personalized experience.
Conclusion: This blog will help to understand how subscription process steps are enabled via different solution component of SAP S/4HANA BRIM solution. The key learnings from the implementation experience of SAP BRIM will help to avoid some of the pitfalls for your projects. I encourage you to share your feedback or thoughts in a comment for this post.
For more information on SAP BRIM, please follow SAP Billing and Revenue Innovation Management environment Topic page (https://community.sap.com/topics/billing-revenue-innovation-management), post and answer questions here, and read other posts on the topic here.