9 must-knows before implementing SAP Simple Finance (sFin)

When talking to the VP of Enterprise Architecture in a Swiss-based manufacturer, he told me he was quite confused with all the recent SAP marketing around S4/HANA, SAP Simple Finance, HANA Enterprise Cloud and the user interfaces that come along with all this like Fiori. He was looking for the big picture, the real no-nonsense one. So…shutterstock_112746598

So I explained that in essence S4/HANA is ‘just’ a new name for the same good old ERP functionality – the difference however is in that the Financials functionality has been optimized to work with an in-memory database called HANA (status as per 1Q15). Okay – and you can source S4/HANA from the cloud and you have more alternatives when it comes to the graphical user interface – one of them being Fiori.

So if S4/HANA is ‘just’ ERP Financials on a HANA database at the moment, how does this relate to SAP Simple Finance (sFin)? Well, I can’t see the difference for now – albeit this will change in the near future when Logistics is HANA-optimized. SAP Simple Finance is an add-on to ERP, a standard product developed to work on top of SAP ERP. The official name is ‘SAP Simple Finance add-on 2.0 for SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA’ aka sFin 2.0 and the product name is SAP SFINANCIALS.

sFin 2.0 is general available since end of March 2015, and includes SAP Accounting powered by SAP HANA (sFin), SAP Cash Management and SAP Integrated Business Planning (IP and BPC and embedded BW) for Finance and additional innovations in the areas of Treasury and Financial Risk Management, Collaborative Finance Operations and more. The FI and CO tables are now combined in the Universal Journal, a single line item table.

Before you jump into a sFin 2.0 implementation however, there’s a few things you and your team must know*.

 9 must-knows before starting your sFin 2.0 implementation:

  1. The finance add-on replaces the classic Financials applications in your SAP ERP system. In contrast to accounting in SAP enhancement package 7 for SAP ERP 6.0, the SAP Simple Finance add-on for SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA comes with a simplified data model. Totals tables and application index tables have been removed and replaced with HANA views with the same technical names. A full list can be found at the bottom of this article. This means the impact needs to be assessed on your interfaces, your data warehouse, your authorization profiles, and potentially your monitoring tooling;
  2. Some industry solutions and SAP ERP add-ons are not fully compatible with the sFin add-on, like Asset Accounting (FI-AA). Carefully assess sFin compatibility with other components in your landscape;
  3. The user experience is likely to change. Assess the impact on the required skill-set in your teams and the potential need to rewrite documentation and/or training materials;
  4. Handle the required SP levels for SAP ERP 6.0 EHP7 and for SAP NetWeaver 7.40 with the utmost caution and as described in the administrator’s guide;
  5. Before you install the finance add-on, you must prepare the migration of application data. These steps require specific financials application knowledge;
  6. Install the finance add-on using the Software Update Manager (SUM). Ensure that you have downloaded the latest version of it from the SAP Service Marketplace. In addition, you must install two SAP HANA Live packages using the HANA Lifecycle Manager (HLM);
  7. To run the financials applications, you must migrate the application data first. For SPS 02, SPS 03, and SP04, some additional configuration is required. For more information, see Installation of and Migration to the SAP Simple Finance Add-On for SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA;
  8. Read the Release Information SAP Simple Finance add-on for SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA 1.0 (note 1925902), and;
  9. To conclude, make sure your team reads the Release Scope Information (note 1968568).

The following tables were replaced by SAP HANA views with the same names:

  • The line item, totals tables and application index tables of General Ledger Accounting (GLT0, BSIS, BSAS and FAGLFLEXA, FAGLFLEXT, FAGLBSIS, FAGLBSAS)

  • The totals tables and application index tables of Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable (KNC1, KNC3, LFC1, LFC3, BSID, BSIK, BSAD, BSAK)

  • The line item and totals tables of Controlling (COEP for certain value types, COSP and COSS)

  • The material ledger tables for parallel valuations (MLIT, MLPP, MLPPF, MLCR, MLCD, CKMI1, BSIM)

  • The Asset Accounting tables (ANEK, ANEP, ANEA, ANLP, ANLC)

MENDEL KOERTS is the founder of ENSEAD Advisory and Associate Director with Gartner Consulting. As an Enterprise Architect he has specialized in IT Strategy, Architecture, and Governance, predominantly SAP related. Opinions expressed in this article are strictly his own.

* Based on the Administrator’s Guide SAP Simple Finance Add-On for SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA, document version 1.0 – 2015-01-29

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