The Big Question: Why adjust SAP Standard?
“Hey, First tell me why should I change SAP standard in the first place? Isn’t it fit to use the way we got it?”. Surely, this question would be ringing in your mind since you would have started this tutorial. Unlike other softwares which you would have come across, SAP is not a ready to use software. SAP caters to a variety of businesses and each business though having common business processes on a broad level, have lots of differences from each other. Not even two companies in the same business or industry segment do business in exactly same way. SAP does research on its end to collect the most generic needs of all the industries and puts them in its cross-industry flavor of business solutions. It even dives into specific industry segments to find what’s different there and puts the solutions in its industry-specific flavors of business solutions. But still, when SAP continues to put its effort to increase the ease of implementing SAP for customers, there is still a need remaining for customers to do something on their end. This need arises not only due to deficiencies in the delivery from SAP, sometimes also because of various choices given to customers by SAP.
Okay I got it. What are the different levels of changes / adjustments?
Having known why customers need to adjust SAP to fine tune it for themselves, we need to know what are the options or levels of adjustments available? The entire list of available options are broadly classified into following change levels:
- Personalization: It deals with tweaking of user interface of different SAP applications either on a user group level or on globally to meet the business needs of company on the whole or specific user group or specific user at the lowest level. Some personalization possibilities are for example, setting up defaults for specific screen fields, transaction variants, language/date/time/decimal/printer settings, role based menus, shortcuts, favorites etc.
- Customizing: You need to setup the SAP applications as per your specific business process e.g. which company codes do you need, what are the different GL accounts in your company’s chart of accounts. Basically, its setting up the SAP application with your company’s process information. SAP already knows the need of such flexibilities in business process and provides options to set them up without making any code changes. Such kind of adjustment or adaptation of SAP application is known as customizing. All the customizing options of all SAP business applications can be accessed via transaction SPRO.
- Enhancement: Apart from the providing customizing options which do not need code changes, SAP anticipates certain areas in the SAP standard programs where customer may wish to plugin his code. These situations may arise mainly in two circumstances. First, SAP may not be in position to decide any specific logic for such areas as they are highly dependent on customer’s needs. Second, SAP may decide a specific logic backed by needs of majority of its customers, but still SAP knows that there would be few customers who would like a different logic. In all such situations, SAP provides options for enhancements using various techniques. Enhancements made by customer are in form of customer developed repository objects (e.g. programs, classes etc. ) which are referred by SAP standard repository objects (e.g. programs, classes etc. ). So, enhancements get plugged into SAP standard repository objects.
- Customer Development: These are customer developed repository objects which act independently along with SAP standard delivery. These may refer to SAP delivered repository objects. Such customer developments are needed either to fill a gap in the SAP standard delivery or SAP standard delivery follows a different logic than customer’s needs and at the same time leaves no option for customizing or enhancing the logic.
- Modification: You may across some situations, where SAP follows a completely different logic in its standard programs in comparison to what your customer needs. On top of this, you see that there’s no possibility provided by SAP to adjust the logic also. In these situations, you have two options. First, you can perform a customer development with SAP standard program as template and incorporate your changes. Second, if the first option is not possible or effort is too high, you resort to the last option of performing a modification of the SAP standard program. This is never a preferred option, since the maintenance of such modifications during SAP version upgrades is quite painful.
Hmm. When do we adopt which level of change?
Follow the following decision making flow chart to analyze your situation and adopt the advised level of change.
I need to know more about these change level. Any pointers?
Sure, just follow this post series or Go to ‘Changing SAP Standard’ Course Cockpit.