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How the SAP Social Service Management Industry Solution was developed

A Long Tradition of Building Industry Solutions

The development of industry solutions is a fundamental component of SAP’s global corporate go-to-market strategy. Starting with Retail in the late 1990’s SAP today provides 25 Industry Solutions, all based on a common platform. This common platform strategy enables us to address the reality that, while business processes are largely industry-specific, these processes are usually underpinned by industry-agnostic platform requirements (HR, finance, technology, etc). Gartner observed, “The approach SAP employs generally provides higher investment returns to clients, because it reduces the risks of integrating multiple platforms to achieve industry functionality” (2011 Gartner Research G00210646). SAP’s common platform approach also enables our System Integration partners to transition easily between different industry solutions. Their experience, skills and qualifications are not locked into a single industry, but can be brought to bear in new markets, leveraging learnings from other industries.

In the early 2000’s, SAP recognised that several major Social Protection organisations around the world were beginning to examine Commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) software, in line with the general industry trend towards adopting COTS beyond the traditional ERP and CRM domains. The Social Protection industry had lagged this trend, as custom-build was generally considered the only viable approach for core business applications, due to the complexity of social policy and legislation which was specific to individual countries.

The industry only started to move towards COTS once it was realised that technology options were available to abstract and maintain social policy and legislative rulesets independently of core business processes. The rate of COTS adoption has since accelerated in response to the significant social, economic and business challenges facing governments (demographic change, increasing citizen expectations, funding challenges, employee generation shift, digital disruption, etc.).

SAP recognised there was a significant market opportunity emerging for a Social Service Management offering (part of the SAP for Social Protection industry solution). This offering would combine customer engagement and servicing capabilities from the private sector with industry-specific capabilities for implementing and maintaining social policy and legislative rulesets.

The Approach

In building new industry solutions, SAP follows an established pattern, which includes engaging with industry-leading organisations.

Stage 1 – Development of Foundational Capabilities

The first stage involves building a foundational capability addressing core industry processes in collaboration with a pilot customer. Pilot customers are selected on the basis of their industry profile and capability within the context of the global market. Pilot customers will typically be existing users of SAP software (SAP currently has over 400 customers in the Social Protection industry using SAP software to support their business operations) that have made a decision to expand the usage of SAP software to support their core business.

In the collaboration, the pilot customer has the role of providing industry insights, experience, requirements and future strategies as inputs to the solution definition. These are discussed in workshop format, after which SAP genericises the inputs to identify the product-relevant requirements, solution alternatives and implementation approaches. Following alignment of the solution outline and early architecture, SAP produces a vision and scope, and a product backlog to develop the software. This process involves the pilot customer in regular sprint demonstrations, requirements clarification and solution design workshops. Towards the end of a development cycle, the customer plays an important role in testing of the software, ensuring that they have an in-depth understanding of the solution prior to release.

Stage 2 – Capability Enhancements based on Operational Experience

The second stage takes the foundational solution and enhances it by adding capabilities identified during pilot implementation and operationalising the solution that was initially provided. This approach ensures that the solution has practical utility and usability, addresses the core business needs and caters for the unique requirements of the industry.

SAP provides an open software platform (SAP ships source code for products), and actively encourage System Integrators to provide additional capabilities (often targeted to local market requirements). Where enhancements are identified as being product relevant and of value to the market, they may become candidates for inclusion in a future release of the industry solution.

Stage 3 – Market Maturation and Knowledge Transfer

The third stage takes the industry solution to a wider market, beyond the pilot customer. The industry solution is of course still at an early stage, but it has a level of completeness that makes it viable to support core business processes. In this stage, SAP makes continuous improvements based on experiences and requests from customers using the solution. As a consequence, SAP also increases its understanding of the industry and acquires a detailed understanding of the material similarities and differences in the various industry sub-verticals.

At the third stage SAP has a particular focus on knowledge transfer to SAP consultants, System Integrators and customers. Providing a functionally rich software offering is only one part of delivering a successful industry solution; ensuring that the individuals who will implement the solution are appropriately skilled and trained is equally important.

Stage 4 – Capability Enrichment and Continual Platform Evolution

The fourth stage involves taking the existing solution to the “next level” through enrichment of the industry solution capabilities with other industry-leading organisations. From an approach perspective, Stage 4 repeats Stages 1 to 3, but now starting from the base of the existing industry solution and the experiences of early adopters.

In parallel with the evolution of the industry solution, SAP innovates at the technology layer. SAP invests significantly in research and development and frequently brings new and enhanced technology capabilities to market (e.g. HANA), or through acquisition (e.g. hybris). The common application layer continually evolves, partially as a result of enhancements requested by other industries and customers. As a result, SAP industry solution customers are a part of a continually evolving ecosystem of SAP users, and can take advantage of technology and application innovations by SAP, Systems Integrators and other customers.

SAP for Social Protection Releases

As illustrated below, the first SAP Social Service Management capabilities were introduced on top of the Platform in 2007, noting that PSCD, covering broader public sector customer ledger requirements, was first introduced in 1998. SAP Social Service Management capabilities were delivered as enhancements to the SAP CRM component which provided capabilities for managing Cases and Activities, Parties (customers, providers, third parties and employees), Products (used to implement programme specific benefits/entitlements) and Call Centre Management (including 360° customer management), as well as application infrastructure such as User Management and Authorisations. In 2010 the solution was integrated to Payment Accounting and Execution capabilities provided in SAP ERP.

Figure: Summary of SAP for Social Protection evolution.

Legend: SSM capabilities are coloured black; PSCD capabilities are coloured blue.

Key milestones in the evolution of the SAP industry solution are detailed below:


In this first release of Social Protection specific capabilities, the focus was to establish the foundation for a Benefit Management process. Two business objects (Social Application and Social Service Plan) were introduced to manage the processes of Data Collection and Benefit Decisions, providing:

  • Online web form capabilities to collect data;
  • Rule engine driven determination of benefits/entitlements;
  • Assignment to Case object; and
  • Approval process.

In addition, event-driven capabilities to configure the type of Benefit Decision to be made based on a Data Collection Type were provided, as well as extractors to the SAP Data Warehouse.

From a cross-industry CRM capability perspective, 50+ new and enhanced functions were introduced for managing Parties (e.g. maintain an internet user for a party), Work lists (e.g. authorisation check on field level), Case Management (e.g. automatic case notes), Call Centre Management (e.g. intent-driven interaction guidance) and the CRM web-based user interface (e.g. a new central search function).

2008In 2008 the focus was on enhancement of Call Centre Management capabilities, with 20 new or enhanced functions (e.g. pushing work assignments to Business Transactions through SAP Business Communication Management software to distribute/assign them to agents using the telephony routing capability) and UI enhancements (e.g. displaying a list as a chart).

This release introduced new and enhanced Social Protection specific capabilities. Benefit Decisions now contained an out-of-the-box capability to determine over- and underpayments based on a comparison of historic decisions with the new decision. A Deduction Decision was introduced to manage the recovery of overpayments from future benefit payments. The Net Calculation Document was introduced to group Benefit (payment) Decisions with Deduction Decisions and produce a net result. The net result was then integrated to the existing PSCD capabilities provided in SAP ERP. In parallel, 70+ new and enhanced functions were introduced in various areas, predominantly UI enhancements and Call Centre Management.


In 2011 the focus was on rounding out the major new capabilities introduced the year before. 20+ Social Protection specific new or enhanced functions were introduced (a consolidated view of the first Benefit Decision and subsequent amendments; a dedicated function for Eligibility Determination; etc.).

From a cross-industry CRM capability perspective, 50+ new and enhanced functions were introduced, including usability enhancements in Call Centre Management and Duplicate Checking of Parties.

2012In 2012 the SAP HANA in-memory database was added as a deployment option for the SAP CRM and ERP components.

This release introduced a new Social Protection specific capability to implement a Benefit Programme specific Circumstance Data Model. This was achieved by configuration and an enhancement to the Benefit Decision to allow multiple “Decision Units” (a Party acting in a specific role, e.g. a Dependent Child in Child Support) to be incorporated in a single Benefit Decision.

From a cross-industry CRM capability perspective, 20+ new and enhanced functions were introduced, including Social Media Integration to Parties; and in the Call Centre, Duplicate Checking using HANA optimised functionality and a simple search function for Parties and Products.

2014In 2014 Reductions functionality was introduced via a Support Package. Reductions enable Social Services agencies to reduce benefit payments to customers who do not meet their obligations (e.g. participating in job search activities).
2015In 2015 Payment on Request functionality was introduced via a Support Package. Payment on Request enables entitlements to be determined, but payment withheld until such point as a payment request is received (e.g. the payment is stimulated).

Details of Enhancements

Details of significant enhancements added to SAP’s industry solution in the last 5 years. Please note that details of the enhancements can be found within the appropriate release public communication documents, being SAP CRM and ERP Release Notes:


SAP Component

Enhancements Added


SAP Social Service Management

Payment on Request

Expiring Currencies;

Performance Optimisation

Destruction of Personal Data in Social Services

SAP Public Sector Collection & Disbursement

Debt Management Enhancements

Side Panel for Contract Accounts Receivable and Payable (also relevant for PS-CD)


SAP Social Service Management


Performance Optimisation


SAP Social Service Management

Decision Basis;

Composite Gross Entitlement Calculation;

Customer Message Handling enhancements;

Replication Monitor for Decision Basis Modeling;

Entitlement Calculation Exit enhancements;

Decision Basis Data Archiving;

Extension of Business Partner Identification

SAP Public Sector Collection & Disbursement

Collections Management enhancements


SAP Social Service Management

Financial Customer Care Integration;

Overviews for Planned Payments;

Adapter for Accounting Systems;

Item Proposal Strategy enhancements;

Eligibility Determination;

Social Service Plan enhancements;

Decision Flow;

Successor Processing Customer Exit enhancements;

New Partner Fields in IPS Customer Exits

SAP Public Sector Collection & Disbursement

Collections Management enhancements

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