How does SAP Build support the SAP S/4HANA journey? Some practical examples and resources
When it comes to extending their core ERP, SAP customers have several options.
Creating tightly coupled extensions directly in SAP S/4HANA implies to create specific business entities and/or business logic. For this, the preferred options are ABAP in core ERP for pro-developers and Key User extensibility for business users. For creating extensions on BTP, meaning extensions that do not need specific business entities or complex business logic, best options are
- For professional developers, SAP Business Application Studio + SAP BTP services and/or SAP BTP ABAP environment (also known as “Steampunk”)
- For business users, SAP Build, low-code tooling
For more details on S/4HANA extensibility and the concept of clean core, read “Get your organization in shape: Keep a Clean Core with SAP Business Technology Platform”.
In this blog post, I will focus on what SAP Build brings to S/4HANA customers to create extensions on BTP.
Let me show you with an example how you can leverage SAP Build to extend your S/4HANA ERP.
Leveraging SAP Build for creating SAP S/4HANA extensions
This example has been shown as a demo during SAP TechEd 3 months ago. The use case is from Velotics, a fictious e-bike manufacturer, and involves 3 personas:
- Isabella, a dealer manager, is facing a decreasing dealer satisfaction level. She needs to figure out what happens and improve dealers’ satisfaction.
- Laura, a purchasing manager at Summit Bikes, an important Velotics dealer, is worried as inflation is raising costs and negatively impacting sales and margins. She would like to manage costs to protect margins and meet sales targets for her business.
- Steven, a finance manager at Summit Bikes, is feeling pressure on cash flow. He wants to make sure that cash flow and margins targets are satisfied.
With SAP Build Work Zone, Isabella has built a Dealer Engagement Dashboard showing business KPIs coming from Velotics S/4HANA ERP. She sees that cash flow and margins are going down as dealer satisfaction is declining because of rising prices impeding dealer sales.
She spins up the idea’s forum and the most voted suggestion, from Finance, is to offer discounts to dealers in exchange for accelerated payment terms.
With SAP Build Apps, Isabella creates a new application, embedded in the dealer’s portal, to help them select what discount they’re eligible for. Without any knowledge on APIs, Isabela pulls the invoice data from the S/4HANA system. And she creates the logic for calculating the discount rules with Visual Cloud Functions in SAP Build Apps.
Finally, Isabella creates with SAP Build Process Automation a business workflow so that Steven can approve any accelerated spend that the purchasing manager makes. The workflow is triggered by the application, which sends the sales order and vendor information. Spends below $500 are automatically approved but spends above $500 are routed to the proper finance manager.
Laura from Summit Biles loves the Velotics dealer portal where she finds everything she needs about her business with Velotics, including her order history and status. She notices the new “Win with Velotics” program allowing to increase margins and cash flow without increasing prices and signs up do be part of it.
A few months later, Isabella sees that the orders are trending up, cash flow projections are good and dealer satisfaction is high. When she notices that the average processing time for dealer orders is increasing, she uses SAP Signavio Process Insights to identify where orders are getting backlogged. And she gets recommendations on how to remediate the situation.
Here is the architecture for this project:
Another example: leveraging SAP Build for Maintenance Orders in S/4HANA
The following use case demonstrate that using ABAP and SAP Build together enables fruitful collaboration between citizen developers and professional developers creating what we call “Fusion teams”.
1. Creating a new UI for an application
This first step illustrates the creation of new UI for an application around “Maintenance Orders.
The new UI is created on BTP using SAP Business Application Studio and is based on SAP Fiori elements.
It involves the OData service from customer ABAP RESTful Application Programming Model (also referred to as “RAP”) business object “Maintenance Order”, which leverages the standard RAP business object “Purchase Requisition”. This is done with SAP S/4HANA Cloud ABAP Environment on S/4HANA Cloud using ABAP Development Tools aka ADT.
2. Creating a mobile application
This second step illustrates the creation of a mobile app for “Maintenance Order”.
It is created on BTP using SAP Build Apps. It allows rapid visual mobile app UI composition by citizen developers based on a drag & drop editor, with ability to reuse existing widgets from the in-product marketplace. SAP Build Apps has built-in OData/REST connectivity for utilizing RAP services.
This mobile app uses the Custom UI service from RAP for the “Maintenance Order” business object we have seen in the first step.
3. Creating a business process with a workflow and automated tasks
The third step illustrates the creation of a business process including the Maintenance Order mobile app we have seen in the previous step.
The business process is created with SAP Build Process Automation, which allows to automate business processes for mundane repetitive tasks with robotic process automation bots and business workflows across different applications and LoBs.
This process starts with the mobile app which creates a Maintenance Order. It follows with two tasks:
- The creation of a Maintenance Order in the mobile app triggers an approval task, where the Maintenance Order is presented to an employee in Finance for validation.
- Upon validation, an automatic action based on the RAP business object “Maintenance Order” enters a purchase order requisition is SAP S/4HANA Cloud.
SAP Build is part of “RISE with SAP” offering
To help customers jump-start their low-code programs and drive meaningful collaboration between business experts and IT users, we’ve included a new starter pack of SAP Build in our “RISE with SAP offering”, at no additional cost.
The Starter Pack for SAP Build Apps, available in Premium edition only, provides 1 base package including 25 users who can create applications.
The Starter Pack for SAP Build Process Automation, available in Standard and Premium editions, includes:
- 2 advanced users, who can create workflows and build automations
- 20 standard users, who can initiate and participate in workflows created by the advanced user
- 1 unattended automation that can be triggered without human intervention
Learn more on this opportunity in this article from Angela Harvey, Vice President of Marketing and Solution Management for SAP Build Process Automation and Jonathan Rhodes, Vice President of Solution Management for SAP Cloud ERP.
How to get started with SAP Build for S/4HANA?
Pre-built automation packages and Hands-on Missions on the SAP Discovery Center
SAP Build Process Automation brings 120 pre-built content packages to easily extend business processes with automations for S/4HANA. For more information on the latest pre-built content available with S/4HANA Cloud, Public Edition, February 2023 release, read this blog post from the S/4HANA product team.
And we also have Missions on the SAP Discovery Center to guide your team through their SAP Build experience:
This mission explains how to create a custom accessible application that provide your employees with details on business partners directly from your SAP S/4HANA Cloud or SAP S/4HANA on-premise system in a secured manner, even without having VPN access. You will learn how quickly a new UI application can be developed with the no-code capabilities of SAP Build Apps. You will also find out what is the process to setup and develop a productive extension application.
This mission explains guides you to create an SAP Build Apps application that lets users enter sales order details, and then trigger an SAP Build Process Automation approval process for that sales order. The mission shows how to integrate SAP Build Apps so it can communicate via API with SAP Build Process Automation.
The automation package ‘Purchase Requisition Creation from Excel (48M)‘ aims to automate the manual step needed by procurement employees to manually create purchase requisitions in the SAP S/4HANA system. To help reduce the number of purchase requisitions that may be created with incomplete data, another layer will be added for managers to approve incoming requisitions first, before they will be created in SAP S/4HANA by the automation package. With SAP Build Process Automation, you can create a simple approval layer for stakeholders and managers, to quickly extend a predefined automation package using the low-code approach of the SAP Build Process Automation studio. This helps the procurement department to not just automate single tasks, but also allows procurement managers to automate even full business and decision approval processes.
And it is easy to put your hands on SAP Build for free, as we have specific offers for that:
For trying SAP Build Process Automation and SAP Build Work Zone, you can start via the SAP Business Technology Platform | Free Tier & Trial Models.
For SAP Build Apps, we’ve made a “sandbox” instance available for you. With the SAP Build Apps Sandbox, you can explore and try SAP Build Apps for a 30 day period without the need to create and configure a BTP account.
Partners, take advantage of our Enablement Events and Activities
If you’re an SAP Partner, with SAP Build you have the right low-code solution for rapid application development and automation at hand.
On February 14, this webinar outlines how to leverage SAP Build to optimize SAP S/4HANA for better finance and procurement processes. Feel free to register!
To learn about Low-Code/No-Code Applications and Automations and get certified for it, our Partner Certification Academy is coming up soon! Gain an overview of key features and tools of the SAP Build portfolio and make use of these in future projects on SAP BTP.
Register for your region:
- Americas – February 21, 23 and March 7
- Europe – February 28, March 2 and 15
- Asia – March 7, 9 and 21
And, last but not least, the SAP Co-Innovation Lab also supports the Partner innovation journey to build solutions leveraging SAP Business Technology Platform. To go deeper and put your hands on SAP Build, they offer Hack2Build events: a unique opportunity for SAP Partners to address current business challenges by building a solution prototype with the support of SAP. You are invited to join our Hack2Build initiative on SAP Build and unleash the numerous possibilities to deliver solutions, with simplicity, using our new low-code/no-code portfolio. As part of this event, you will use features and capabilities of SAP Build Apps, SAP Build Process Automation and SAP Build Work Zone to develop processes and applications for any industry use case of your choice and deliver the proof-of-concept in 7 days.
To take part, simply submit your solution idea to us! A team of SAP experts will then evaluate the technical feasibility and economic viability of your proposal. Once qualified you will be invited to register your team of business and technical experts.
During the event, SAP experts will assist your team with technical support to build a prototype on the idea. On the final day, your team will present the working prototype, together with business plan and solution architecture to a senior panel of judges. Next, we encourage and support you towards developing the full solution and publishing it to SAP Store. SAP Co-innovation Lab will facilitate the Build phase, help you with technical support and provide you with access to the relevant go-to-market teams at SAP.
Take the next opportunity near you:
Create, Automate, and Design with drag-and-drop simplicity in SAP Build
- EMEA South and MEE – February 16 – 23, 2023
- Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) – February 16 – 24, 2023
- Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) – February 28 – March 7, 2023
Build and Extend Processes using SAP Build (Low Code / No Code app)”
- North America – February 20 – 24, 2023
SAP Build low-code app development and automation for SAP SuccessFactors HXM Suite
- May 15 – 24, 2023, all regions – Registrations opening soon
With that, up to you to leverage SAP Build and further improve your experience with SAP S/4HANA!