Tag Archives: Basic Information

Implementing SAP

Implementing a package can be a traumatic affair for both the customer and the vendor. Get it wrong and the vendor may get paid late or have to resort to lawyers to get paid and tarnish their reputation. For the company the new package may not work the way they expected, be late or cost a more than budgeted for and take management will take their eye off running their business.Recently a client asked me what I would consider to be the five most important things one should consider before embarking on an implementation. This isn’t a simple question, although there are many factors to think about after some consideration for me the top five are way ahead of the others.

My top five factors to consider would be:

1. Set up a Project Board,
2. Secure the resources,
3. Complete the GAP Analysis,
4. Have detailed Cut Over Plans,
5. Train the users.

Taking each one in turn:

The Project Board
The correct set up and operation of the Project Board in my view is major factor in the success failure of the project. The Project Board will consist of the stakeholders, key users and the vendor. The Project Board is part of the governance of the project. The Project Board will meet regularly to ensure that the project plans are created and being executed as planned, moves from stage to stage with all the deliverables being signed off is resourced properly.

The Resources
Three types of resources are absolutely necessary — end users, change team and technicians.

Early involvement by the end users is absolutely necessary, as they will be the ones living with the system for hopefully many years to come. They will want to feel involved in its implementation. Buy in from the end users of the system is absolutely essential if the system is to have a long and stable life in any organisation.

The Change Team will identify the gaps between the package and the business requirements, re-engineer some of the businesses process to cope with the package, train the users to ensure implementations is smooth as possible into the business.

The Technical Team will prepare the systems environment for the package, apply any software fixes from the vendor, implement the software in the best way possible for the organisation set up and tune the software for the particular technical environment.

GAP Analysis
A through gap analysis will identify the gaps between how the business operates ad its needs against what the package can can’t do. For each gap there will be one of three outcomes which must be recorded and actioned, GAP must be closed and customised software can be developed close the gap, GAP must be closed but software cannot be written therefore a workaround is required, GAP does not need to be closed.

In simple terms: Gap means small cracks. In SAP world. In information technology, gap analysis is the study of the differences between two different information systems or applications( ex; existing system or legacy system with Client and new is SAP), often for the purpose of determining how to get from one state to a new state. A gap is sometimes spoken of as “the space between where we are and where we want to be.” Gap analysis is undertaken as a means of bridging that space.
Actual gap analysis is time consuming and it plays vital role in blue print stage.

Cut Over Plans
Detailed plans need to be developed for cutting over from the old system(s) to the new. Parallel runs of what will happen over the conversion period using test data, convert and watch for a period after wards to ensure nothing unexpected happens.

Train Users
Well trained users will support and defend the system on site. Unsupportive users will continually undermine the system and eventually it will be replaced. Therefore the more effort you put into helping the users master the system early the better.

Explain Cutover Activities/Strategies in SAP FI.

Cutover Activities or Master Data Uploading Strategies Depending upon the when we are going live. As per that, you have to give the information to your core team. If you goling live at the middle you have to upload the all P&L Account items and B/S Items. If you going live at the financial year start, you have to only Upload the B/S Items. Activities for Golive:

1. G/L Master Upload Thru BDC or LSMW (TC-Fs00 and extended one co code to another company code Fs01)
2. Vendor Master Upload Thru BDC Or LSMW (Will be Taken Care By MM)
3. Customer Master Upload Thru BDC or LSMW (Will be Taken Care By SD)
4. Asset Master Upload(Thru As90)
5. Cost Element Master Upload
6. Cost Center Master Upload
7. Profit Center Master Upload
8. G/L Balances Thru F-02
10. Vendor Balances thru F-43
11. Customer Balances thru F-22
12. Customer Advances thru f-29
13. Vendor Advances thryu F-48

Before uploading Vendor Balances you have to take care of WHT(TDS) Information.

Difference between the User Exit & Gap analysis.

Both are quiet a different and has a small relation.

User exits are standard gate ways provided by SAP to exit the standard code and we can write our own code with the help of ABAP workbench. its not new functionality which we are trying to build in sap but its slight enhancement within the same code.

Gap analysis is start point of Realization and once blue print is finished we have to find the realization of sap system for client requirment and there will be certain gaps when compared to system fit. Those gaps can be closed either by re-engineering of business process to fit with SAP or we have to use USER exits in case of small deviations or complete enhancements with the help of ABAP to fit with the SAP system.

What is roll out of SAP Project?

As per dictionary, Rollout means “Inauguration or initial exhibition of a new product”.

As per SAP specific definition, rollout is the strategy for international SAP implementation. Rollout strategy normally include the following
– Whether to implement SAP simultaneously (also known as big-bang) in all the countries, or
– Go live in sequence of phased manner
– Or to go for the combination of both (phased manner implementation for some of the countries and big-bang for others).

Rollout strategy is the most important decision that a client can make during SAP implementation. Normally, steering committee decides the rollout strategy.

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SAP Landscape

Landscape is like a server system or like a layout of the servers or some may even call it the architecture of the servers viz. SAP is divided into three different lanscape DEV, QAS and PROD.-  DEV would have multiple clients for ex: 190- Sandbox, 100- Golden, 180- Unit Test.
–  QAS may again have mutiple clients for ex: 300- Integration Test, 700 to 710 Training.
–  PROD may have something like a 200 Production.

These names and numbers are the implementer’s discreet on how they want it or they have been using in their previous implementations or how is the client’s business scenario.

Now whatever you do in the Sandbox doesn’t affect the other servers or clients. Whenever you think you are satisfied with your configuration and you think you can use it moving forward, you RE-DO it in the golden client (remember, this is a very neat and clean client and you cannot use it for rough usage). As you re-do everything that you had thought was important and usable, you get a transport request pop up upon saving everytime. You save it under a transport request and give your description to it. Thus the configuration is transported to the Unit Test client (180 in this example).

You don’t run any transaction or even use the SAP Easy Access screen on the 100 (golden) client. This is a configuration only client. Now upon a successful tranport by the Basis guy, you have all the configuration in the Testing client, just as it is in the Golden client. The configuration remains in sync between these two clients.

But in the Testing client you can not even access SPRO  (Display IMG) screen. It’s a transaction only client where you perform the unit test. Upon a satisfactory unit test, you move the good configuration to the next SERVER (DEV). The incorrect or unsatisfactory configuration is corrected in Golden (may again as well be practised in the sandbox prior to Golden) and accordingly transported back to 180 (Unit Test) until the unit test affected by that particular config is satisfactory.

The Golden client remains the ‘database’ (if you wanna call it that) or you may rather call it the ‘ultimate’ reference client for all the good, complete and final configuration that is being used in the implementation.

In summary:
Landscape : is the arrangement for the servers

IDES : is purely for education purpose and is NOT INCLUDED in the landscape.

DEVELOPMENT —> QUALITY —-> PRODUCTION

DEVELOPMENT : is where the the consultants do the customization as per the company’s requirement.

QUALITY : is where the core team members and other members test the customization.

PRODUCTION : is where the live data of the company is recorded.

A request will flow from Dev->Qual->Prod and not backwards.

1. Sandbox server: In the initial stages of any implementation project, You are given a sandbox server where you do all the configuration/customization as per the companies business process.

2. Development Server: – Once the BBP gets signed off, the configuration is done is development server and saved in workbench requests, to be transported to Production server.

3. Production Server: This is the last/ most refined client where the user will work after project GO LIVE. Any changes/ new develpoment is done is development client and the request is transported to production.

These three are landscape of any Company. They organised their office in these three way. Developer develop their program in Development server and then transport it to test server. In testing server tester check/test the program and then transport it to Production Server. Later it will deploy to client from production server.

Presentaion Server- Where SAP GUI have.
Application Server – Where SAP Installed.
Database Server – Where Database installed.

What is the meaning of “R” in R/3 systems?

R/3 stands for realtime three tier architecture. This is the kind of architrecture SAP R/3 system has.

R/3 means three layers are installed in Different system/server and they are connected with each other.

1) Presentation
2) Application
3) Database

What is the Purpose of R/3?

The sole purpose of an R/3 system is to provide a suite of tightly integrated, large-scale business applications.The standard set of applications delivered with each R/3 system are the following:

  • PP (Production Planning)
  • MM (Materials Management)
  • SD (Sales and Distribution)
  • FI (Financial Accounting)
  • CO (Controlling)
  • AM (Fixed Assets Management)
  • PS (Project System)
  • WF (Workflow)
  • IS (Industry Solutions)
  • HR (Human Resources)
  • PM (Plant Maintenance)
  • QM (Quality Management)
  • CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

These applications are called the functional areas, or application areas, or at times the functional modules of R/3. All of these terms are synonymous with each other.Traditionally, businesses assemble a suite of data processing applications by evaluating individual products and buying these separate products from multiple software vendors. Interfaces are then needed between them. For example, the materials management system will need links to the sales and distribution and to the financial systems, and the workflow system will need a feed from the HR system. A significant amount of IS time and money is spent in the implementation and maintenance of these interfaces.

R/3 comes prepackaged with the core business applications needed by most large corporations. These applications coexist in one homogenous environment. They are designed from the ground up to run using a single database and one (very large) set of tables. Current production database sizes range from 12 gigabytes to near 3 terabytes. Around 8,000 database tables are shipped with the standard delivery R/3 product.

An Introduction to SAP

SAP was founded in 1972 in Walldorf, Germany. It stands for Systems, Applications and Products in Data Processing. Over the years, it has grown and evolved to become the world premier provider of client/server business solutions for which it is so well known today. The SAP R/3 enterprise application suite for open client/server systems has established a new standards for providing business information management solutions.SAP product are consider excellent but not perfect.  The main problems with software product is that it can never be perfect.

The main advantage of using SAP as your company ERP system is that SAP have a very high level of integration among its individual applications which guarantee consistency of data throughout the system and the company itself.

In a standard SAP project system, it is divided into three environments, Development, Quality Assurance and Production.

The development system is where most of the implementation work takes place. The quality assurance system is where all the final testing is conducted before moving the transports to the production environment.  The production system is where all the daily business activities occur.  It is also the client that all the end users use to perform their daily job functions.

To all company, the production system should only contains transport that have passed all the tests.

SAP is a table drive customization software.  It allows businesses to make rapid changes in their business requirements with a common set of programs.  User-exits are provided for business to add in additional source code.  Tools such as screen variants are provided to let you set fields attributes whether to hide, display and make them mandatory fields.

This is what makes ERP system and SAP in particular so flexible.  The table driven customization are driving the program functionality instead of those old fashioned hard-coded programs.  Therefore, new and changed business requirements can be quickly implemented and tested in the system.

Many other business application software have seen this table driven customization advantage and are now changing their application software based on this table customizing concept.

In order to minimized your upgrading costs, the standard programs and tables should not be changed as far as possible.  The main purpose of using a standard business application software like SAP is to reduced the amount of time and money spend on developing and testing all the programs.  Therefore, most companies will try to utilized the available tools provided by SAP.

What is Client? What is the difference between Customization and Configuration?

The difference between cutomizing and configuration is:
– CONFIGURATION: we will configure the system to meet the needs of your business by using the existing data.
– CUSTOMIZING: we will customise or adapt the system to your business requirements, which is the process of mapping SAP to your business process.
– CLIENT: A client is a unique one in organizational structure, can have one or more company codes. Each company code is its own legal entity in finance.

Configuration  vs. Customization
When considering enterprise software of any type, it is important to understand the difference between configuration and customization.The crux of the difference is complexity. Configuration uses the inherent flexibility of the enterprise software to add fields, change field names,modify drop-down lists, or add buttons. Configurations are made using powerful built-in tool sets. Customization involves code changes to create functionality that is not available through configuration. Customization can be costly and can complicate future upgrades to the software because the code changes may not easily migrate to the new version.Wherever possible, governments should avoid customization by using configuration to meet their goals.Governments also should understand their vendor’s particular terminology with regard to this issue since words like “modifications” or “extensions” often mean different things to different vendors.        *– Sivaprasad, Sonali Sardesai

What is SAP R3?
We know that SAP R/3 is software, it particular it is client-server software. This means that the groups/layers
that make up a R/3 System are designed to run simultaneously across several separate computer systems.

When you install Microsoft Excel on your PC, each component of Excel (printing components, graphing components, word processing components, and etc.) is stored, managed, and processed via the hardware of your PC.   When a company installs SAP’s software each component (or “layer” in R/3’s case) is stored, managed, and processed via the hardware of separate and specialized computer systems. Each of the various layers is capable of calling upon the specialty of any of the other installed layers in order to complete a given task.

Those components/layers that are requesting services are called “clients”, those components/layers that are providing services are called “servers”.  Thus the term – “client/server”.