Introduction to Business Events in SAP Subscription Billing

Events play an important role in the integration capabilities of SAP Subscription Billing and, indeed, in any cloud-driven architecture. They inform consumers about the life cycle of key business documents, such as subscriptions or bills. This information is used both within the solution itself and in integration scenarios to transfer relevant data and manage processes.

In this blog post, we want to give you an insight into how your subscription business can benefit from business events. Bear in mind that to get the most out of the information in this post, you need some technical knowledge in the following areas:

  • Working with APIs
  • Setting up integrations

The Basics

Concepts

A business event, also known simply as an “event”, is a message that informs about the creation of or changes to an object. An event is published in a source application and can be sent through a distribution service to a receiving application, or consumer, which consumes the event in order to:

  • Keep up to date with changes to related objects.
  • Trigger follow-up processes.

Normally, events are published at the same time as the change occurs. You can also schedule notifications for events to inform you about upcoming changes in the life cycle of an object.

Parties

As the event source, SAP Subscription Billing publishes events for the following objects or business documents:

  • Allowances
  • Bills
  • Billing forecasts
  • Subscriptions

As the distributor, the SAP Event Mesh service receives these events from SAP Subscription Billing and sends them to consumers. This transfer is enabled by message queues and topics to which consumers need to subscribe. To learn more about these concepts and how the service works, take a look at the Event Mesh documentation.

Note that you require a separate license for Event Mesh.

Purpose

As we’ve just seen, events enable applications to communicate with each other, which in turn enables you to connect applications and integrate your business processes across systems.
You find events in automated integration flows, such as the packages for integrating with SAP S/4HANA Cloud: Subscription Management with Sales Billing (57Z) and Subscription Management with Convergent Invoicing (51K).

But you can also use events to set up your own customized workflows, for example, with the Cloud Integration capability within SAP Integration Suite.

Example Use Cases

Too much abstract theory? Let’s spice things up with a few practical examples of what you can do with events for the different business documents of SAP Subscription Billing:

ALLOWANCE

  • Expiration notification: Triggering the creation of a follow-up allowance after the preceding allowance expires.
  • Usage threshold notification: Informing the subscribers that the allowance is about to be used up (for example, 80% consumed) and reminding them to purchase a new one.

BILL

  • Bill due: Requesting the usage data for the billing period of one or multiple charges.
  • Transferred: Notifying the subscriber of an upcoming invoice.

BILLING FORECAST

  • Created: Extracting the billing forecast data to a custom reporting system, for example, to create an estimate of the expected revenue in upcoming billing periods.
  • Usage forecast requested: Requesting from a technical system the usage data that is required to create or update a usage-based billing forecast.

SUBSCRIPTION

  • Created as pending: Requesting from a technical system the resource that the subscriber needs to meter usage, such as an RFID card or the equipment that will be used.
  • Withdrawn: Sending an email to the subscriber confirming that the subscription was successfully withdrawn without penalty.

Hopefully these examples have helped you picture how your subscription business can benefit from events. And we looked at just a small selection of all the available event types. You’ll find the complete list in the SAP API Business Hub.

Detailed Documentation

That concludes our crash course in events for SAP Subscription Billing. If you’re intrigued and want to get deeper into the topic, take a look at our documentation:

SAP Subscription Billing

SAP Event Mesh