Industry 4.0 and the pandemic have disrupted deeply our way of working and accelerated, at the same time, the higher expectations of the buyer side. This greatly influences the innovations that we bring to each SAP S/4HANA Cloud release and our shift to low-touch sales order processes.
In this blog for the SAP S/4HANA 2108 release, I will describe our journey to this low touch sales order by automating as many as steps possible in the sales order processing without impacting the flexibility or speed of the process.
To name just a few highlights:
Automatic removal of billing block in down-payments
Enhancement: Ability to create sales orders through spreadsheet upload
Enhancement: Triggering of mass changes to sales documents
Enhancement: Automatic sales-order creation from unstructured data
… and more.
In case you do not need all the information below and just briefly want to get an overview of the release highlights, please watch this video with the top 3 key innovations:
Release video: SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2108 for Sales: Top 3 key innovations.
Automatic Billing Block Removal after Posting of Down-payment in FI-CA
The modus operandi of the low-touch sales order is automation. It leaves more room for spending time on “high-value” tasks by employees, instead of repetitive tasks with little added value. It reduces or eliminates the need to make manual entries into SAP S/4HANA Cloud, reducing or eliminating human errors.
Let's take an example to illustrate this new feature:
An internal sales representative creates a sales order with a down-payment-related billing plan item.
Previously, when the down-payment was fully posted in Contract Accounts Receivable and Payable (FI-CA), the customer needed to manually remove the billing block of closing invoice in the billing plan of sales orders.
With this new release, when the down-payment is fully posted in FI-CA, a new application job can be scheduled to automatically remove the billing block of closing invoice in the billing plan of sales orders.
SAP releases new functionality on a quarterly basis. In most cases, the configuration needs to be completed using the SSCUIs.
The configuration expert can use the configuration step 'Define Billing Plan Types for Milestone Billing' to configure the billing plan type in the ‘Manage Your Solution’ app.
In this view, the configuration expert can mark the 'Relevant for Down Payments' for the billing plan type, so that automatic delivery block removal can be applied to the billing plan type.
Note: The User will require the BR_BPC_EXPERT business role to view the Manage Your Solution app and access the configuration application.
When the checkbox 'Relevant for Down Payments' is marked in the billing plan type configuration and the billing plan type is assigned to the item category, the down payment status will be shown in the item and header of the sales order.
If all down payment-related billing plan items are fully paid in FI-CA, after the Fiori App ‘Schedule Update of Down Payment Status - Sales Orders’ is processed, the billing block of closing invoice in the billing plan will be automatically removed. (The billing block was previously assigned in configuration 'Define Date Categories for Billing Plan Type'.)
Demo 1: The new SAP Fiori app enables you to schedule the update of down payment status in sales orders (including audio).
Ability to create sales orders through spreadsheet upload
With the SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2005 release, we improved the process with a new option to create sales orders by uploading spreadsheets with the required data. You can use this process when creating sales orders as a result of mass upload capabilities.
You regularly receive orders maintained in Microsoft Excel files. You have now to create sales orders based on the data maintained in these Microsoft Excel files, and you need to manually enter THE order data and create them - one by one - in the Create Sales Orders app.
With the SAP Fiori app Import Sales Orders, you can batch-create sales orders directly from Microsoft Excel spreadsheet files. After an order data file is uploaded, the system automatically creates sales orders, so reducing manual workload.
For more info about this innovation see my blog for SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2005.
Now with the SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2108 release, we extend this feature and you can now import pricing element data, texts, and custom fields using the Import Sales Orders app.
Prior to an import, we recommend downloading the standard template directly from SAP S/4HANA Cloud. This template provides the list of sales order fields that are either required or optional for importing sales orders.
Demo 2: Improved efficiency in creating sales orders, as a result of mass upload capabilities (including audio).
New fields available for import
Pricing element and text fields (see below) are available for import. To know more about these fields, please download the template and refer to the remarks in the field list sheet.
Condition Amount or Ratio
Unit of Measure
Condition Amount or Ratio
Unit of Measure
Note: You can also import custom fields. The template contains the custom fields that key users have enabled for the usage of Import Sales Orders and business contexts Sales: Sales Document and Sales: Sales Document Item in the Custom Fields app.
Triggering of mass changes to sales documents
Typically, updating sales orders in SAP S/4HANA Cloud requires the user to manually open and make changes to the correspondent Sales Orders Header Data or Sales Orders Items Data, one after the other.
Maybe this is a possible process for a very small list of orders, but it becomes time-consuming for larger ones.
With SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2105 release, we introduced the new SAP Fiori app to manage mass changes of sales documents. It leaves more room for spending time on “high-value” tasks by employees, instead of repetitive tasks with little added value.
Demo 3: The new SAP Fiori app enables you to trigger mass changes of sales documents and to manage and make changes to multiple documents at a time (including audio).
New fields available for Mass Change
Profit Center field Changes at the Item level
Under the Basic Data tab, you will find the Profit Center field which you can now change as part of the Mass Change
This file is available for change at the item level across all mass change apps
WBS Element field Changes at the Item level
Under the Basic Data tab, you will find the WBS Element field which you can now change as part of the Mass Change
This file is available for change at the item level in Sales Order, Sales Order without Charge, Customer Returns, Credit Memo Requests, and Debit Memo Requests
To learn more about the Mass Changes of Sales Documents see SAP Help Portal
To learn more about Situation Template: Mass Change of Sales Docs: Jobs Complete see Product Assistance
Automatic sales-order creation from unstructured data
A perfect sales order is one that is delivered:
Exactly as expected by customers (100% on-time delivery)
With the right amount (100% file rate)
In the correct condition and pricing (100% correct quality)
Automatic sales-order creation from unstructured data is the last innovation for this 2108 release about our enhancements concerning the low-touch sales order management and fulfill perfectly the above three requirements concerning the perfect sales order.
A significant amount of sales orders are captured from unstructured formats like PDF documents. To generate the sales order, an internal sales representative needs to check purchasing details in these files, identify sales data based on the purchasing data (for example, identify the sold-to party based on the purchaser’s name and address), and enter the sales data manually in the structured format as required to be processed into SAP S/4HANA Cloud.
The first delivery for this feature was in the 2011 release for SAP S/4HANA Cloud. For more info about this innovation see my blog.
The app now supports the following:
View and change the requested delivery date in sales order request items. Here on the screen
Control whether the ship-to-party is required for creating sales orders in the configuration activity Adapt Settings by Company Code.
Demo 4: The new SAP Fiori app enables you to automatically create sales orders from unstructured data (including audio).
Customer hierarchy in sales analytics
With customer hierarchies you can create flexible hierarchies to reflect the structure of customer organizations, this means that you are able to create a structure that represents how customers are related to each other. A customer hierarchy consists of individual hierarchy nodes which are allocated hierarchically to each other on different levels to produce lower-level and higher-level nodes. The structure of the customer hierarchy can be kept flexible and adapt to change at any time by means of the option to move hierarchy nodes dynamically.
Now with the SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2108 release, we introduce the customer hierarchy in sales analytics. In several analytical apps, you can now analyze aggregated values and quantities according to customer hierarchy levels. You can do this by drilling down by customer and then selecting a relevant customer hierarchy.
Demo 5: Integration of customer hierarchies in sales analytics to enable reporting along with the hierarchical levels (including audio).
You can analyze by customer hierarchy in the following analytical apps:
Incoming Sales Orders - Flexible Analysis
Sales Volume - Flexible Analysis
Sales Quotations - Flexible Analysis
Customer Returns - Flexible Analysis
Note: The customer hierarchy that you use in these apps must have been created (for the hierarchy type Customer Hierarchy - Analytics) and activated in the Manage Customer Hierarchies app. For more details, see Manage Customer Hierarchy.
Flexible determination of a business partner in an inbound SOAP service
When integrated with an external buyer system, your system receives inbound messages that contain sales order data and determines the internal business partner for sales order creation or update. Previously, you must map the external and internal partner numbers. With this feature, you can define rules for the system to flexibly determine the internal partner number based on specific fields in the inbound message.
The configuration expert can use the configuration step Define Formulas for Internal Partner to configure the formula in the Manage Your Solution app.
The configuration expert can create a new formula and mark the Active checkbox of the formula so that the flexible partner determination can be applied to the inbound processing of the sales order SOAP service.
The setting in the configuration step Convert External to Internal Partner Numbers will be bypassed if the formula is activated
When the new feature is activated, the setting in the configuration step Convert External to Internal Partner Numbers will be bypassed.
When the inbound message of the sales order SOAP service matches the setting in the decision table of the configuration step Define Formulas for Internal Partner, the internal partner number will be determined and applied when a sales order is created.
When the inbound message of the sales order SOAP service doesn’t match the setting in the decision table of the configuration step Define Formulas for Internal Partner for partner function sold-to party, there will be an error message.
Picture 1: Provide flexibility in defining rules for business partner determination
Note: The interface Sales Order/Customer Return - Create, Update, Cancel (B2B) is available on the SAP API Business Hub (http://https:api.sap.com/ Information published on SAP site)
SAP Fiori 3 update: further evolution with SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2108
With the SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2108 release, we introduce also updates in SAP Fiori 3 providing a great user experience, guiding first-time users with an SAP Fiori launchpad quick tour, providing a standard My Home space for users to personalize, and we made performance improvements.
Read this blog post from Thomas Reiss to show that we are keeping the momentum going with our evolution of SAP Fiori and the SAP user experience.
Thanks for reading this blog post. Stay tuned!
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