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Author's profile photo Dominik Tylczynski

Integration issues in S/4HANA – sales planning

Introduction

This series on integration paint points in S/4HANA has been prompted by the openSAP course on Insights into Selected Logistics Innovations in SAP S/4HANA, in particular by the Unit 3: SAP S/4HANA Sales – Managing sales plans

Understand me right – I am a huge admirer of S/4HANA and I do appreciate:

  • the underlying HANA technology,
  • user friendliness of Fiori applications,
  • availability of embedded advanced solutions like TM Transportation Management or EWM Extended Warehouse Management,
  • various simplifications that makes life easier of both customers and consultants.

Being SAP consultant all my professional life, I am deeply concerned that in pursuit of novelty, SAP sometimes looses focus on integration and is ditching proven, efficient functionalities. There is also a tint of selfishness here – if SAP products thrive, my career thrives. Thus, treat that as a call to improve S/4HANA which is already a tremendous product, so it is even better yet.

Each article describes an integration or functional issue along with a proposed solution. Let’s start with sales planning in S/4HANA.

S/4HANA Sales – Managing sales plans

As per note 2267348 – S4TWL – Simplification in SD Analytics Logistic Information System based sales analytics is part of the compatibility scope:

SD Analytics based on Logistics Information System (LIS) is part of the SAP S/4HANA compatibility scope, which comes with limited usage rights. For more details on the compatibility scope and it’s expiry date and links to further information please refer to SAP note 2269324. In the compatibility matrix attached to SAP note 2269324, SD Analytics based on LIS can be found under the ID 481.

This means that you need to migrate from LIS/SIS to its designated alternative functionality SAP S/4HANA Sales Analytics before expiry of the compatibility pack license.

In the lay terms, it means that sooner or later S/4HANA customers will not be able to use Sales Information System.

The same note advises to use S/4HANA embedded analytics instead of SIS:

Simplification in SD Analytics follows the overall analytics strategy in SAP S/4HANA: Instead of prebuilt aggregates and/or redundant data for analytical purposes, the SAP S/4HANA Analytics approach is based on ODATA and Open CDS (also known as ABAP-managed Core Data Services (CDS)), which sit directly on top of the original database tables. Corresponding analytics content will be provided within SAP S/4HANA. This content will grow over time.

The problem is that Sales Information System provides not only actual sales figure analytics but also extensive planning capabilities, known as flexible planning – see SAP Help Sales & Operations Planning (LO-LIS-PLN) Sales & Operations Planning is one of the implementations of LIS flexible planning. Flexible planning is available across all the components of Logistics Information System e.g. sales, purchasing, inventory control, production etc.

That must have been noticed as S/4HANA 2022 brings Manage Sales Plans Fiori application (application ID F2512).

Source%3A%20Fiori%20apps%20library

Source: Fiori apps library

Manage Sales Plans is a nice looking Fiori app, unfortunately with a very limited functionality and next to no integration:

  • No aggregation or disaggregation functions up and down the planning hierarchy when planning across multiple dimensions like sales regions, customer groups or product types.
  • No macro capabilities to automate planning.
  • No mass changes to sales plans.
  • Plans are limited to sales quantity or value only; other key figures e.g. production volumes cannot be planned.
  • The only integration is with Excel. Manage Sales Plans app cannot read CO-PA data to start planning with strategic budget. It does not integrate with demand management either.
  • No forecasting functions.

All the above are standard features of LIS flexible planning.

The limitations have been confirmed by the openSAP team – Managing sales plans vs Sales Information System flexible planning?

Thank you for your question. Indeed, you don’t have those capabilites in the “Manage Sales Plans” application. Flexible planning is a part of SOP which is not considered as strategic in SAP S/4HANA and should be replaced with SAP IBP. SAP Note 2268064.

“Manage Sales Plans” is not positioned as a full-scale planning tool, but rather a simple application for customers who don’t need all capabilities of SAP IBP or SAC (SAP Analytics Cloud) planning. At the moment, there are no integration capabilities coming out of the box.

“Manage Sales Plans” is a part of “Sales Monitoring and Analytics” capability in SAP S/4HANA. Currently there are no future improvements planned in the roadmap: https://roadmaps.sap.com/board?PRODUCT=73554900100800000266&range=2016Q4-LAST&BC=6EAE8B27FCC11ED892E91DA86A9800CC#Q1%202021 .

The suggestion is to use SAP IBP instead. But SAP IBP is a cloud based solution with additional licensing costs – SAP Integrated Business Planning for Supply Chain – Starter Edition

The bottom line is that in the long run S/4HANA customers are left without any decent, integrated sales planning tool, without the tool that has been available in ERP/ECC since decades.

Solution Proposal

I would suggest to get SIS analytics and planning off the compatibility pack until Managing Sales Plans app matures and delivers functionalities at least comparable to LIS Sales Information System. This way the customers would have a choice to either use the old fashioned but proven, fully functional and integrated planning tools or to invest in the modern, state-of-the-art IBP product.

Stay tuned for next articles on long term planning, inventory analysis and TM integration – all with solution proposals.

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