Technology Blogs by SAP
Learn how to extend and personalize SAP applications. Follow the SAP technology blog for insights into SAP BTP, ABAP, SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP HANA, and more.
cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Markus_Berg
Advisor
Advisor

Storing and managing documents is an essential part of our customers business. When looking at SAP S/4HANA, mainly two main sources exist for documents. The SAP Document Management, handling attachments, and the output management, represented by the different output solutions.

From a customer/partner perspective these documents usually belong together (for example attachments of an invoice and the invoice document itself, created during the output process). Hence, they seek information on how to handle these documents properly, especially when using third party storage solutions.

With this blog I would like to provide more details on how output documents are handled by the output solutions NAST-based output control and SAP S/4HANA Output Control.

After reading this blog you should understand the common parts and the current differences on how output documents are handled by these two output solutions and how it’s impacting you.

Note: This blog only applies for the following editions: SAP S/4HANA and SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition.

 

Storing Documents with NAST Output Control


In my example for NAST-based output control (short: NAST) I assume the output documents shall finally be stored in an external system, for example using a third party solution. This is configured accordingly using the KPRO configuration and the possibility of assigning one or more storage categories via Archive Link. I further assume that all required setup in the NAST is made to use Archive Link to handle the output documents on SAP side. How these things can be setup is not part of this blog.

Based on this setup the overall process for storing output documents looks like this:

NAST_1.png

 Storing Output Documents with NAST


It starts with the business application triggering the output via NAST. Based on the application type and the corresponding Archive Link configuration, the system will store the metadata of the output document and its object relations in the Archive Link tables (TOA*).

The content and some basic information (file name, mime type, document reference) are transferred by the KPRO runtime via HTTP to the external system. This means the external system does not get all the available information about the output document in the first place. So typically, the full access to the output document information is only possible via the SAP applications.

It also means, any additional information required by the external system would need to be retrieved in a second step. This is shown here:

NAST_2.png

 Retrieving additional information (NAST)


Via a callback to the SAP S/4HANA system additional information can be retrieved, for example via a non-SAP web service call. As Archive Link is used in the example, the first query can retrieve the information from the corresponding TOA* tables. When using the object relations, a further navigation to the corresponding business document, e.g. a Purchase Order, is possible and a broad range of information can be retrieved.

 

Storing Documents with SAP S/4HANA Output Control


In my example for SAP S/4HANA Output Control (short: Output Control) I assume the output documents shall also finally be stored in an external system, for example a third party solution. This is configured accordingly using the KPRO configuration. By default, only one storage category can be used (SOMU).

For this setup the overall process to store output documents looks like this:

OC_1.png

 Storing Output Documents with Output Control


 

It starts with the business application triggering the output via the Output Control. The system will store the metadata of the output document and its object relations in the tables of Output Control (APOC).

The content and some basic information (file name, mime type, document reference) are transferred by the KPRO runtime via HTTP to the external system. This means the external system does not get all the available information about the output document in the first place. So typically, the full access to the output document information is only possible via the SAP applications.

It also means, any additional information required by the external system, would need to be retrieved in a second step. This is shown here:

OC_2.png

 Retrieving additional information (Output Control)


Via a callback to the SAP S/4HANA system additional information can be retrieved, for example via a non-SAP web service call. As Output Control is used in the example, the first queries can retrieve the information from the corresponding APOC* tables. When using the object relations, also a further navigation to the corresponding business document, e.g. a Purchase Order, is possible and a broad range of information can be retrieved.

 

Comparing NAST and Output Control


Let’s put the information into a more compact form:

 NAST SAP S/4HANA Output Control
Using multiple storage categoriesYesNo
Using Archive LinkYesNo
Using KPROYesYes
Providing basic information via KPRO to external systemYesYes
Need Non-SAP callback to SAP S/4HANA system for additional information?Yes (Custom development)Yes (Custom development)
Starting point for external callArchive Link tables (TOA*)Output Control tables (APOC*)


 

Conclusion


When looking at this comparison you will notice that the differences are not that big. When using SAP S/4HANA Output Control you are currently limited to one storage category, and you need to look at different tables when you need to retrieve additional information.

 

 

6 Comments