SAP Role Separation

Yes, yes, I know I should be talking about SAP, being an SAP blog an all, but I just can't resist to tell you about the recent movie that I went to: Harry Porter and the Goblet of Fire. All I can say is, "Wow!". This is more like it. Much darker and more gloomy in nature. My kind of movie. Feels like the "doom" you feel in the "Lord of the Rings". To all, yes, I do recommend watching this movie. I'll give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Now back to our usual program.

One thing I realize about SAP, is that the way they structure things, there's a clearly separation between technical roles, and the so-called "functional roles". Functional roles is divided into the respective modules. A typical functional roles looks something like the following:
  • SD/MM Consultant
  • FI/CO Consultant
  • PM/PS Consultant
  • HR Consultant

etc etc. Basically, functional people are the "domain expert" of the module. They are the ones who'll be facing directly with the users, gathering requirements, and configuring the modules to suite the clients business process.

The technical roles is the supporting the roles. They're the ones who will customize, fine-tune, install, etc etc to support the functional team. A typical technical team looks like this:

  • BASIS consultant
  • ABAPers
  • BW consultant

Clear separation between these roles means greater benefit attain from specialization. But the drawbacks: it's harder to find someone who can look at the "bigger picture", the overall perspective of the SAP system.

In other words, no one person can claim that they know everything there's is to know about SAP. To claim such a thing would be an outright blatant lie!

SAP Pro Blog

While surfing the web to find SAP resources, I've encountered this interesting site:SAP Blog.

If my site describes how an SAP Newbie view the SAP world, his site gives a SAP Pro view, ones who've been in the industry for quite sometime.
Quite an interesting resources. He describes his experience of becoming an SAP consultant, how he joined the SAP world, the hardship, the rewards etc.

I hope, with more SAPians joining the blog community, the mystery and misinformation that's been surrounding SAP will be finally dispelled. Yes, yes, I know you guys are busy, being a consultant and all, but it's good to share with the world what SAP is.

SAP Bag of Tricks

Have you ever wondered, how some company managed to implement SAP ERP in less than say 3 months? Sounds like a load of crap right? Actually it's possible pending the following conditions:
  • No customization. All ERP processes follows the SAP processes.
  • Business content are used

You see, SAP consultants have one trick out of their sleeves. That is using pre-delivered SAP Business Content. What the hell is this "Business Content" thingy? The short answer is, after extensive research done by SAP AG, the've created a sort of "template" as a basis for consultants to use in implementing SAP. This so-called template can have further categorization according to industry, such as "Retail","Oil & Gas" etc etc.

Using this "business content", consultants can shorten the implementation of SAP. Instead of having to create everything from scratch, they just need to configure a few stuff, and walla, we have an "SAP out of the Box"!!

But again, depends on customer, sometimes on top of the "business content", they still want to customized something to suit their existing business processes.

Lucky are the consultants who could find such miracle-customers who want to follow the SAP business process 100%, and are willing to use the pre-defined Business Content delivered by SAP! Amen.

More than one SAP-BW Query

A normal Profit and Loss statement usually contain some Revenue portion, and some Cost portion, and most of the time, there's a section where you deduct the cost to get the net profit yada yada yada.

But to do that in SAP Business Explorer proves quite a challenge especially if the row is in some sort of hierarchy format. The work around this is, yes, you got it, to combine 2 or more query into one worksheet, to create the "illusion" of having it all in one statement.

So how do you combine more than one query into BEX? Simple. Follow this step:
  1. Click on "Tools" icon.
  2. Select "Insert Query..."

and Walla! You got more than one query into your workbook. Don't forget to save the workbook for later use.

See, nifty trick eh? But a better solution would be a way to have a calculated row that computes from the revenue portion, and the cost portion. Any SAP Guru out there willing to give some tips on how to achieve this? Oh well. For now I guess I have to be contented with this sort of "hack" :)

SAP BW Customer Enhancement (CMOD)

When I started to 'play' around with SAP Business Warehouse (BW aka BI), I thought that I would forever leave the role as a "programmer" behind. I thought, finally, I can concentrate more on "configuration" and "designing".

Well today proves that inevitably, it all boils down to good ol' hacks. You see, I want to create this report which includes a Quarter-to-date (QTD) columns. But, instead of creating a variable where the user enters which quarter the month resides in, I want to be able to use the existing 0FISCPER variable already created previously. So, what I need to do is create a customer Exit variable which will take the value of 0FISCPER variable, and find the appropriate QTD range.

Unfortunately, this customer Exit, can only be created using ABAP codes, and not just a simple Formula thingy. So here's what I did:

  • Went into SAP enhancement screen (T-code: CMOD) and create a new project.
  • Add the following enhancement assignment: RSR00001 (Enhancements for global variables in reporting)
  • Adopt the existing include sample functions and start changing the include file 'ZXRSRU01'.

Here's some descriptive info on what you need to do in the function:

I_VNAM: The variable name.
i_t_var_range: contains all the information about the other query variables available in BW.
l_s_range_low: Is the low limit value of the variable. For non-interval variable, this is the value.
l_s_range_high: Is the high limit value of the variable. Make sense only for interval type variables.
l_s_range-sign: denotes whether it's 'I' inclusive, or 'E' exclusive. Again, make sense for interval type only.
l_s_range-opt: what type of variable, either 'EQ' equal-type, or 'BT' between-type (interval).

Another lesson that I learn in ABAP is that:

some_variable = A + B

not equal to:

concatenate A B into some_variable

In other words, string not the same as add operation. I assumed it's like Java fixed string, which is not.

All in all, it's a good experience :)

SAP-BW Update Rules not working as expected

I'm stuck. I have this customized Key Figure i've created based on an existing InfoObject. When I tried creating update rules for this key figure, it does not propose update rules for this customized key figure. My question is, how do I add the customized key figure into the update rules? Any SAP-BW Guru out there willing to help? TQ.

On another note, I think i've ran out things to say about SAP in general. Why? Well I guess the bulk of the itty gritty stuff is coming to an end. See, the most headache part of any implementation is during user requirements gathering. Or in SAP terms, the "Blueprint Phase". Now it's nearly coming to an end, I've no juicy stories to tell :)

But I guess my post after this would be more technical in nature as I want to document stuff that I've discover during "Realization Stage".

Updated (22/11/2005): Actually I did a mistake. When creating the "Key Figure" instead of entering the existing InfoObject into "template", I accidentally put it in the "reference" box. That's why it's not appearing in the proposed template.