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As a Functional Consultant surely we had to write / modify at least one Functional Specification. And its never easy - totally confused with the technical stuff. I mean if you have not explored or had an ABAP friend then you have no clue why a BAPI and a BADI is completely different or what really is meant by the extension of FRICE / RICEF other than Forms, Reports, Interface, Conversions and Enhancements.

Well thanks to SDN one can explore ABAP to whatever depth required (maybe other than coding). But that does not relate the functional requirements to the technical objects. The functional requirement would be something like ok we do not like the standard SAP Report (I dare say that 🙂 for Order and Resource Reporting in APO. We need to see this this and this .... so the functional consultants run off to write a FS to turn it to the Application Development (read ABAP) team to do the actual coding of a custom report. All this is fine but if they work in silos (most often than not) then the developed report goes back to the business user who just dismisses it because it shows some order elements which he did not want to see or wanted to restrict by. This is just one example but this is reality. Now the question is not whether the standard SAP report meets the requirement of the business user or not. The issue is once a custom report is to be developed unless the functional and technical consultant sit together and talk in a common language the development goes nowhere. But what is the common lingo. Let's take a scenario.

Functional Analyst: We have a business requirement to develop a customised report which will display planned and production orders only and no other receipt elements for a given date range. For the planned and production orders we need to display the order end date and time, the output product(s) as well as the main component products. It should be possible for the users to download the report into Excel blah blah blah

Technical Analyst: What is the selection criteria. Do you need to have an initial selection screen - what should be the selection criteria. How do I get the Planned and Production Order data. How do I know what is a Planned and Production Order and NOT other receipt elements. Oh for the output report you need ALV format only.

Now the outcome of the discussion both are equally confused. So its vital either side (or maybe the functional consultant) needs to explore the other half a little bit more. This is just a starter - I mean developing a report. Things turn to bad when standard transactions need to be enhanced. Like we need the Parent / Header Product to be displayed against Dependent Demands/Order Reservations in Requirements View and Product View transaction in APO. This is when the quirky BADI thing creeps in. Surely you will have a smart ABAPer or a well-paid TechnoFunctional consultant has a gleam in his face and announces "Ah! we can do a BADI impementation called in the transaction". Phew only if you know what he meant and then write the functional specification around it.

Well it had been a long struggle being a functional consultant to slowly get into the thick of these technical things. Having got a reasonable grip on this subject the throught came why not Wiki it. So this Wiki page in SCM area came into being. More SCM specific technical stuff is here. In fact I use the Wiki to keep my notes while switching between client system and company sandbox system.

So what's next. The plan is to have a BoF session at Community Day Bangalore. Why don't you join in there and share your experiences. Meanwhile the saga continues in SDN Blogs.

From Functional to Technical - Part 2              From Functional to Technical - Part 3            From Functional to Technical - Part 4

DISCLAIMER: BoF session at Community Day Bangalore subject to approval from SCN Team and availability of SAP system 🙂

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