Sunday, November 19

SAP HANA and Background (SAP S/4HANA)

As you may know, SAP HANA has been gaining a lot of attention from SAP communities lately.
The purpose of this short article is primarily to introduce the brief terminology, and hopefully to bring the clear meaning of HANA and its origin. 

SAP HANA, which is a modern platform for real-time analytics and applications, enables business operations with large volume in real time without delays. 

The word HANA has originated from “High-speed Analytical Appliance”.  HANA is currently getting a lot of attention from many major corporations across the world because of its promise of fast and real-time process mode. 

SAP HANA research has in fact begun in 2006 by SAP co-founder Hasso Plattner while he was a computer science professor at the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany. The goal was to develop a database that could operate with a near-zero response time for transactional and analytical data processing.

The key difference of HANA from traditional database system is the HANA's in-memory computing database infrastructure.  Traditional database systems were designed to perform well on computer systems with limited RAM (Random Access Memory) which also has slow disk I/O with focus on optimizing disk access.  Computer architecture has since changed in recent years and it now have multiple Core CPUs (multiple CPUs on one chip or in one package). This is becoming a standard now with faster communication between processor cores enabling parallel processing.  In this architecture, main memory is no longer limited resources, and modern servers can have 1 TB of system memory which would allow entire database to reside in RAM.  This will definitely improve performance bottleneck from disk I/O to the data transfer between CPU cache and Main Memory.

 HANA’s columnar-based data store is another unique difference from row-based data store of traditional data base system.  SAP HANA stores data in memory in a columnar format. The columnar format enables the product to deliver real-time or near-real-time transactions and analytics. The columnar format offers better access to data and processing of data compared to traditional, row-based memory.

 SAP S/4HNA is a new HANA product from SAP.  SAP S/4HANA is short for SAP Business Suite 4 SAP HANA, meaning that it is the SAP Business Suite 4th version, but designed to run only on SAP HANA. Moving to SAP S/4HANA would be very similar to the transition from the previous ERP versions, SAP R/2 to SAP R/3. 

 The current trend of HANA is progressing relatively fast, and many companies will soon face the situation to make decision of transition to future HANA environment and investment on HANA.  You will see many conferences and announcements of product releases of HANA from SAP.   

Please refer to SAP.COM site or site for more information about SAP HANA.

Saturday, July 25

Master Data Distribution in SAP Landscapes

Dear SAP pros:
Author has been leading the Master Data maintenance and distribution for several years.  Master Data is so much integrated with other components that accuracy and sync of MD are very critical for successful SAP Implementations.

Please see Process Diagram presented here, and I hope this will give you a simple and clear understandings for SAP professionals.


1.      ERP to SCM, EWM
CIF (Core Interface) distributes major Master Data objects such as Materials, Plant, Customers (location Master in SCM), Vendors (location Master in SCM), Scheduling Agreement (External Procurement Relationship), MRP areas.  Depending on the situation of company, CIF can run in either Batch mode or Immediate mode.  Multiple CIF jobs can be set up to send to many destinations as described in diagram.  Generation of CIF (CFM1 for instance) and Activation of CIF (CFM2) are major steps in CIF processing.

2.      ERP to CRM
Materials are distributed from ERP to CRM via BDOC. 

3.      CRM to ERP, SCM, EWM
BP Master Data (Customers and Vendors) are distributed from CRM to ERP via BDPC.  At the same time, these BP master data are sent to SCM and EWM via IDOC.  Distribution is taking place immediately.  Transaction SMW01 is available to monitor queue record in CRM.

4.      SCM to EWM
Pack Specs are created in SCM and these are also distributed to EWM via RFC queue.  Queue records are monitored by SMQ1 and SMQ2 command.

5.      XI
XI primarily governs all external inputs from Legacy or External systems. Each record can be monitored XI command SXMB_MONI, and the records can be reprocessed when error happens.


Monday, November 12

High Level & Fundamental understandings of SAP System Architecture

It is an undeniable fact that SAP gains more and more customers such as big US and global Corporations and government.

SAP’s greatest opportunity probably lies beyond Microsoft or IBM or Oracle. SAP AG is a global software company headquartered in Walldorf, Germany.  SAP simply stands for Systems Applications and Products in Data Processing.   It will be highly worthwhile to go over the essential components of SAP System as more and more companies are moving toward using ERP package such as SAP rather than relying on traditional in-house development of Corporate Application Systems.

First, there is R/3 or ERD or ECC.  The name of this component has been evolved, but the essential function of system component has not changed much.  ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning Software product SAP AG.
 This component has its own several sub-modules such as MM (Material Management), SD (Sales Distributions), FI/CO (Financial and Costing and Billing), PM (Plant Maintenance/Production Planning), WM (Warehouse Management) and HR (Human Resource Management).   It has Workbench environment where staff can develop customized program using ABAP programming and database tables to support companies’ own internal business processing.  Each sub modules support many screens/transactions and reporting transactions to easily keep track of inventory, orders, movement of goods.  Either Business customers or traditional IT staff can relatively merge together to design and develop various business processes.  ECC (Enterprise Central Component)  is recent name for R/3 or ERD.  Even huge company can be sufficiently supported by this one component.

Second component is called APO (Advanced Planning & Optimization).  This component is all about planning using demand data and the power of forecasting.  Forecasting is one of core sub-modules, and Planning is based on sophisticated planned data which is forecast data.  The name SCM (Supply Chain Management) is also used interchangeably to refer APO component.  However, please remember that SCM itself is a generic term and discipline that is taught at major university or institution.  DP (Demand Planning, i.e. Forecasting) and SNP (Supply Network Planning) are major sub-modules of APO/SCM.  It is interesting to note that as the SAP gains more popularity among companies, SAP is currently adding Industry-unique modules called SPP (Service Part Planning) with cooperation of major US Auto Industry (Ford) and CAT-Logistics.

Third piece is CRM (Customer Relation Management).  This component is most likely corresponding to Traditional Customer Order Processing System.  Customers can place orders, and orders are processed by CRM.  Customer data and Order data and material data are keys to manage this component.

There are also many layers/tools that are interfaced with above three components.  For instance, ICH (Inventory Collaboration Hub), EWM (Extended Warehouse Management under SCM), XI (Exchange Infrastructure), BI (Business Intelligence) and EP (Enterprise Portal) could be those.  SAP connects above three components using CIF (Core InterFace between ECC and SCM) and CRM Middleware (between ECC and CRM) to enhance data integrity and connectivity.

Author attended several SAP classes in MM, SCM and Customizations provided by SAP AG.  There are still strong demands for SAP system and classes, and it is hoped that more affordable training classes and materials will be available by other training agencies very soon.  It is noted that there are also hands-on training site which provides CBT and self study.

Please note that EWM (Extended Warehouse Management) component of SAP landscape is getting popular, and please do not miss looking at this component if you have a project to improve Warehouse Management.
Thank you!

For more training course information, please visit: 

SAP BW training

UltimateSAP Online Training

SAP Book Review

Understand essential aspects of SAP system development

This article describes the essential aspects of SAP system development.

The resources and materials will be abundant like a sea, but the sole purpose of this writing is to give bullet points of major development using SAP or other ERP packages in a major huge corporation.
First, analysis of current business process should be done in a very detail level. This is so called AS-IS analysis.

Next, current process should be mapped into SAP versions of process and run environment. SAP is great and very expensive system. There are virtually hundreds of Online screens (such as Material creation, Order creation, Delivery note generations, Inventory movement, Good issue or receipts, Forecasting, Inventory Planning, and much more) in SAP. Any kind of process or business scenario can be mapped and executed using one of the existing SAP screens or tools, manually. I mean ‘Manually’.

For instance, you can lay out new processes using SAP screens or objects to perform the current AS-IS functions and processes. However, volume of business of major corporation will be huge, and huge volume of transactions (especially repetitive operations) can not be done by human manual processing. This is where the challenges will come, which will require the automation of repetitive processing.

SAP is transaction driven systems, and it will be a major dominant System in US and globally.
Already it is now.
For more information, please visit below sites:
SAP Beginner - UltimateSAP Online Training
SAP Book Review

Friday, January 22

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