Welcome to the third blog in our series covering the 10 most important things you should know before implementing S/4HANA Cloud Essentials Edition. In this series you will learn about important practical considerations which should be evaluated prior to purchasing or implementing S/4HANA Cloud. If you have not read our first 2 blogs in the series you can find them here: Part 1, Part 2.
Also included in our first blog is a description of S/4HANA Cloud Essential Edition and an explanation of the different terms used to describe the S/4 HANA Cloud Multi-Tenant edition. For those of you that do not want to go back to the first blog, I will briefly summarize here. S/4 HANA Cloud Essential Edition is a version of S/4HANA in which customers share both the database and the codebase of an S/4HANA instance. This puts severe restrictions on not only the ability to customize the system, but also the implementation methodology. This blog series will explain some of the more impactful restrictions.
The items in this blog series have been compiled through real work experience and interviews with customer, consultants, and end users of S/4HANA Cloud Essential Edition. If you plan on purchasing or implementing S/4HANA Cloud ES, this is what you need to know.
Item #1 – Say Goodbye To Your Traditional 3 Tier Landscape
We wrote a whole article about the new 2 tier landscape and what you should about how it works. Read more about it here.
Item #2 – Country Scope Items: Don’t Assume Everything Is Available In All Countries
Are you implementing in multiple countries? There will be impacts to your project timeline and project scope. Find out more here.
Item #3 – Where’s My Data? How can I access the Universal Journal?
Anyone who has read anything about S/4 HANA, been to Sapphire, or attended any SAP event over the last several years has heard about the Universal Journal. “All of your financial information will be easily accessible and reporting will be lightning fast,” we have been told. If you have done a lot of research you may have even found the table name for the Universal Journal, which is ACDOCA.
In S4HC, you can forget the name of that table as you will not have direct access to it. Although many of the benefits of the Universal Journal are invisible to the user and you will still be seeing those improvements while using S4HC, as a multi-tenant customer you will not have access to the data in ACDOCA, or any other table, directly.
Access using CDS Views
Customers using S4HC may only access data for reporting or other purposes through Core Data Services Views (CDS Views). CDS and CDS Views are not new concepts for S4HC and there are plenty of blogs and available documentation discussing these topics. What is relevant for this discussion is that you may only access the data which has been made available by SAP in the CDS View which they have created and released.
The CDS Views in S4HC are typically organized by object (e.g. Supplier Invoice) and most contain only subsets of the data from underlying tables. There is a search feature you can use to enter the legacy SAP ECC table name or possibly a field name to find an available CDS View. But, in my experience, this was not reliable and worked less than half the time.
Some people may argue that you can create custom CDS Views, which is true. But, these custom CDS views can only join or filter data from existing CDS View. You cannot create new CDS Views from the underlying tables directly. As of the writing of this document, there were 2,779 available CDS Views. In our experience, there were several pieces of data we wanted in a report or on a custom form that were not available in any CDS Views.
So, what is an SAP Customer to do when you need to get data out of the system that doesn’t have an available CDS View? You certainly won’t like the answer. But, the reality is, you will have to wait. Typically, on a project, you would work with SAP Support or if you are lucky enough to have signed up for Preferred Success, you can work with your Preferred Success representative from SAP (more about that in a future blog). SAP may provide you access to a CDS view that has not yet been released or they may help you find a CDS View that has some or all of the data you need. But, another likely scenario is that SAP will tell you they are working on creating new CDS View all the time, and you will not have access to that data until a future release.
What does this mean for your implementation project? It becomes much more important to ensure that reporting needs are not left until Phase 2 or late in the project plan. Although this has always been a good recommendation for any ERP Project, it becomes particularly critical for S4HC projects since you will need to identify reporting gaps early both to give SAP time to address them but also to identify workarounds, if needed.
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