If you are contemplating implementing SAP Event Management, you will need to be prepared to answer a series of questions in order to be able to establish a design that caters to your needs. The following list of questions is a good start (although there are more based on the answers to some of these):
Which processes do I want to track?
Having a good understanding of what SAP Event Management (EM) is used for is a key consideration here. One of its main functions is to monitor a business process, matching the execution of the process against the plan of the process to uncover exceptions or opportunities in the process.
Another key function of SAP EM is to provide visibility of the status of the business process to interested parties to that business process.
If your need for your business process falls in one or both the above two categories, then the business process is a candidate for SAP EM-enabled tracking, for example, Order to Cash, Procure to Pay, Outbound Delivery, Incoming Vendor Payment, Inbound Logistics, Reverse Logistics, Production Order.
Which objects of these processes should be monitored?
Once you have determined which business processes are in scope, you need to be able to isolate the objects that are utilized in the business process. Examples include Order to Cash: Sales Order, Outbound Delivery (Warehouse scenario), Purchase Order (Dropship scenario), Production Order (Make to Order), Carrier Tracking Number, Customer Invoice.
Which events do I need to track within each process?
For each object in your business process, you will need to determine which events are relevant for tracking.
Be sure to address changes to the business object as well, for example, Sales Order create, Sales Order complete, Sales Order Changed, Delivery Created, Delivery Picked, Delivery Packed, Delivery Issued.
Are my events date- and time-driven?
For each event, check whether the event is expected to occur at a certain date or time.
At the same time, also consider if the event is location- or partner-based.
Where should the planned dates and times for my expected events come from?
If you have established that certain events are bound to a date and time, then can you determine how to calculate what that date and time should be?
Consider when, in the process, is the best time to determine the expected date and time for each event. For example, the Sales Order line complete should get its expected date and time from the next confirmed schedule line’s material availability date.
From where will the actual events be reported (e.g., IDoc, Legacy System, R/3)?
Consider where these events will be reported from.
If they are coming in from an SAP system, will you be using the SAP EM Application Interface framework to create the events, or will you utilize another technique? You might be concerned about the performance in the existing process.
If the events are to be reported via a legacy system, a third-party system, RFID scanner, mobile device or another method, do you know how to accomplish that? Do you have security requirements for this data flow between the systems?
Do I have any events that may occur but are not planned?
Are you able to list out all the possible unexpected events that might occur in a business process? An unexpected event is any event that can occur during a business process but is not expected to occur every time -- for example, Sales order on CR block, Sales order on the Delivery block. Neither of these is expected to occur each and every time a Sales Order is created, but both of them are critical for tracking purposes.
Which rules should be applied to my process when events are or are not posted?
Can you describe what should occur in SAP EM when each of these events is reported?
Can you also describe what should be done if expected events are not posted in time?
With SAP EM’s integration with SAP Business Workflow and the SAP Alert Framework, you could consider a proactive alerting approach when you uncover an exception. Note: SAP EM can also be used to uncover opportunities as well.
As a general rule, you always want to consider updating the status of the business process whenever an event is processed (or not) in order to keep the interested parties in touch with what’s happening (transparent visibility to the process).
Which statuses do I want to have assigned to my process and at what time within my process?
Are you able to list out what categories of statuses you want to assign to your business process? You need to have a clear understanding that each process can have several status categories associated with it at any one time, and each category can only have one value assigned to it at any one time. For example, order status "delayed" should appear when a delayed event has been posted to a related shipment. It should be assigned to the “Delivery Status” category.
Will I use the out-of-the-box scenarios, or will I be customizing the delivered scenarios?
Firstly, are you familiar with what comes pre-delivered with SAP EM?
Once you have an understanding of what is available, can you recognize common processes or business objects that meet some of your needs?
Any advantage of pre-delivered content should be leveraged. Understand that all pre-delivered scenarios (visibility processes) need to be tweaked in some way in order to make it work in your environment.
Do I have access to the following resources: Business ownership, Functional resource, ABAP resource?
If you are going to embark on an SAP EM project, which is heavily intertwined in the business process, are you sure that the business has bought into the solution and that solid representation is going to be available during the project?
Do you have detailed knowledge in SAP EM, and if not, what is your plan for getting up to speed on SAP EM?
Do your ABAP folks have knowledge in SAP EM? SAP EM’s ABAP is a little different from normal ABAP code in that it is object-oriented in nature and tied to configuration. For instance, you need to know both in order to develop and unit-test in the SAP EM space.
How about change management? Do you have the right focus on change management and education in order to drive out the intended business advantages of the project?
Will I be interested in using the SAP EM Web Dynpro to display information regarding my processes to internal or external users, such as carriers or customers?
There are several options to display SAP EM data to the end-user. Do you know which option -- such as SAP Web Dynpro, Web Communication Layer (not recommended), Custom UI or SAP Fiori -- best suits your users?
If using the SAP EM Web Dynpro, there are few considerations related to design.
Which search criteria do I want to give my users?
Which column header information should I display on the results screen?
Which events should I display on the detail page?
What functionality for reporting events via the Web should I enable, if any?
To which roles, such as Sales Representative, Sales Manager, Customer, should I cater? Note: This relates to security authorizations. Who can see what data?
Which information would I like to bring into SAP EM associated with my Events / Process?
Do you have a good idea as to what information is needed in SAP EM in order to display in your reports or send to BW for analytical reporting purposes?Examples include material description, sold to number, ship-to number, ship-to address.
Which information should be analyzed within SAP BW or HANA Analytics?
Do you know which KPIs you would like to define, and which data should come directly from the SAP EM? See: Drive Value in Your Supply Chain Optimization with a Smart Use of KPIs
Do you have a good understanding of what is available standard within SAP EM functionality?
SAP EM provides tight integration with SAP BW, and leveraging this technique can provide great benefit to your solution. Example: What percentage of sales orders went on CR hold – Break it down by sales region. Example: On average, how long did it take to remove a CR block from a sales order – Break it down per CR agent. Example: What percentage of deliveries were shipped on time vs. late?
When should event handlers be archived in order to maintain good system performance?
It is critical to plan a process from the beginning with archiving in mind.
Are you able to define your retention periods for each of your business processes? For example, my sales order history should be available for operational reporting for 3 months after the associated invoice has been fully paid. Additionally, it needs to be searchable for an additional 9 months after which it needs to be retrieved for analysis purposes only. For auditing purposes, data older than a year needs to be restored within 24 hours.
Will I be interested in using the Alert Framework to send out alert notifications during the tracking of my process?
Do you know when and who should be notified when an exception or particular event occurs?
Do you know the detail that the alert should contain?
Is this a notification only, or should the recipient actually be forced to execute a series of tasks (workflow) to correct the situation? For example, if my shipment has been delayed, should the Account Executive be notified? Or, for instance, a delivery block is added to a sales order so the appropriate rep is notified via a workflow to remove the delivery block.
Note: Only consider proactive notifications of issues if your data is mature. For example, you can trust that the alert is always going to be valid because the underlying data is correct. If you cannot trust the data, then consider cleaning it up first. See Garbage In, Garbage Out: Why Accurate Data Is Critical in SAP.
Which systems will be interfaced with SAP EM?
Can you list out the various systems that you will need to integrate with SAP EM?
Do you know the techniques needed to extract data from these systems?
Are there security considerations in these interfaces?
What is the timing needed for these interfaces? For example, batched every 10 minutes.
Should I set up SAP EM as a standalone tool or on the same box as ERP or APO?
There are many considerations around making this decision. In general, implementations have gone for the standalone option in a productive system and as an add-on in the development environment.
How large should my server be?
There is no quick sizer for SAP EM, so you will need to consult with an experienced SAP EM architect to guide you through the proper sizing of SAP EM.These 20 questions and their underlying considerations are a good starting point to drive your overall design in the right direction. Focus your efforts on ensuring that the designed solution supports the business needs and ultimately drives out the promised business value.