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Integration is the heart and soul of modern businesses, especially in enterprises where diverse systems, departments, and geographies need to work cohesively, typical SAP Customers. SAP, as a leading enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, underscores this by enabling seamless intercompany sales processes across different installations. In situations where one SAP system is undergoing an transformation program (SAP S/4HANA, consolidation, carveout, etc.) and the other is scarcely accessible due to resource constraints, simulating the integration, which is in most cases IDOCs (Intermediate Documents) becomes pivotal.

Intercompany Sales process integration - why simulate to transform?

Figure below shows a typical intercompany sales process integration.

Figure 1 - typical intercompany sales process

Imagine when the Selling system is undergoing a transformation program: SAP S/4HANA, system consolidation, carveout or any other major improvement program. The main business process of the selling system/plan is fully integrated so retesting that becomes crucial for any kind of change, not to mention for a large transformation program. There's a catch however: what if external parties (customers and supplying plants) are not easily available, don't have time or cannot be used for any other reason? Why not simulate (using service virtualization) those parties to isolate the SAP transformation program like shown in Figure below:

Figure 2 - simulating customers and supplying system/plants during the intercompany sales process transformation

This way the complete intercompany sales process transformation program can be easily managed using the resource of the selling company/plant only. The project can be fully isolated from external dependencies so it can be run more quickly while doing more testing at the same time.

Intercompany Sales process simulation benefits

What are the main benefits of this approach:

Minimizing Business Disruption: Intercompany sales processes, like any other vital business process, should experience minimal downtime. When one SAP installation is upgraded, it's crucial to ensure that the sales process doesn't come to a screeching halt. By simulating integration, businesses can anticipate and mitigate potential disruptions before they affect the bottom line.

Ensuring Data Integrity: Data integrity is paramount, especially in sales where order details, customer information, and pricing are involved. IDOC integrations serve as carriers of this data between systems. Simulating the integration ensures that data isn't lost or corrupted during transmission, especially after a big transformation program like SAP S/4HANA.

Resource Efficiency: In many organizations, accessing certain systems for testing is a challenge, often due to geographical constraints, firewall restrictions, or simply the lack of personnel to facilitate it. Simulation allows for rigorous testing in a controlled environment without overburdening already scarce resources.

Cost Savings: The cost of a failed integration can be colossal, not just in monetary terms but also in lost time and reduced customer trust. Running simulations can help identify potential issues early on, allowing for rectifications at a fraction of the cost compared to post-implementation fixes.

Agility in Deployment: Enterprises today need to be agile. Upgrades, migrations, and changes in one system shouldn't immobilize the whole business operation. By simulating IDOCs integration, enterprises can confidently upgrade parts of their IT infrastructure knowing that essential processes like intercompany sales will remain unaffected.

Boosting Stakeholder Confidence: Shareholders, partners, and even employees are more at ease when they know that a change in one system won't adversely affect another. Simulation showcases a company's commitment to thoroughness and risk management, reinforcing trust.

Where I can learn more about this topic of Simulations/Service Virtualization for SAP transformation programs?

There’s a 3h course on openSAP just on this topic called “Avoid SAP S/4HANA Project Delays with Third-Party Systems Service Virtualization” – In this course we help you understand why SAP-tailored service virtualization is a hidden gem of SAP S/4HANA projects, who can use it and when to use it, and most importantly, how to benefit from it. In addition, you’ll learn how service virtualization can make your projects more sustainable by significantly minimizing their carbon footprint.

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