Customer behavior, post-pandemic economic recovery, extreme heatwaves and drought due to climate change, inflation, supply chain disruption, and an energy crisis have caused many challenges for companies.
In the following blog, I will give you an engineering expert view of some selected highlights of our SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition, and SAP S/4HANA for Sales | 2022 release, to demonstrate that automation, system integration, and end-to-end transparency can help companies to transform their order-to-cash process and that can better support them on the path to sustainable growth.
The blog is built as a series of 3 parts and presents the key highlights:
- Part 1: Low-touch sales order processing
- Part 2: Business Insights & Decision Support / Digital Transformation
- Part 3: Digital-age User Experience
In case you do not need all the information below and just briefly want to get an overview of the release highlights, this video is your guided tour for Sales through this latest version.
Video 1: 2022 Release – Innovations in the 8th wave for Sales.
In addition to this launch video, Lena Stodal hosted Yannick Peterschmitt and me for a Community Call ran a couple days after the RTC of this 2022 release. We have summarized the key innovation per area here.
A low-touch sales order processing is designed so that the user needs little or no interaction with the SAP S/4HANA system during the process.
In order for the process to take place mainly automatically, each step must be thought out and designed to be as easy as possible for the user to pass without assistance.
Even if there is little human interaction, it does not mean that there is less work. Users can focus on solving complex cases and can be more creative in their work.
In SAP S/4HANA, Artificial intelligence removes the need for employees to perform repetitive, administrative tasks, and shifts their time to more creative, strategic responsibilities involving critical thinking.
A significant amount of sales orders are captured from unstructured formats like PDF documents. To generate the sales order, an internal sales representative needs to check purchasing details in these files, identify sales data based on the purchasing data (for example, identify the sold-to party based on the purchaser’s name and address), and enter the sales data manually in the structured format as required to be processed into SAP S/4HANA.
This innovation is in our roadmap to bring intelligence for sales to automate routine tasks in SAP S/4HANA and with this innovation, you as an internal sales representative can create sales orders from purchase order files in PDF or image formats (unstructured data). After a file is uploaded, the system automatically extracts file information into a sales order request and proposes values for sales order request fields (for example, by determining the sold-to party based on extracted data). You can later convert the sales order request into a sales order.
A sales order request is basically a sales order draft that serves the purpose of preparing a sales order. It represents a preceding document of the sales order but is not part of the document flow from the business perspective.
Side-by-side view of uploaded documents
With this new release, you can now open the purchase order file of a sales order request in an embedded pane and check file contents alongside the sales order request data. The embedded file view highlights extracted data by default, and you can hover over a highlighted area to show an extracted field or click on the eye icon to show all extracted fields.
In addition, key users can now enable a duplicate check on uploaded files. After the duplicate check is enabled, an error appears if you upload the same file twice.
Video 2: Click here to watch the video and see how the sales create sales orders automatically.
iRPA: Intelligent robotic process automation
The digital transformation of order-to-cash includes a wide range of automation possibilities. Often, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software forms the basis. Transactions and non-routine tasks can be automated thanks to enhancement by Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Besides the obvious efficiency gains from automation and the resulting cost savings, there are further advantages. One benefit is the inherent high process quality. The process is consistently executed and the error rate, e.g., for order creation or delivery, is significantly reduced. Another benefit is the fast process execution. The customer values the quick order confirmation while the production or fulfillment is directly informed about the incoming order. The high process quality and the quick execution foster further cost savings as fewer deductions per order or penalties for late fulfillment are required.
If you want to automate the creation of sales order requests from email attachments, you can enable a bot in SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation Factory (for more information, see scope item 5LT Information published on the SAP site).
Picture 1: Increase salesforce efficiency and accuracy using iRPA.
To learn more about Document information Extraction, see What Is Document Information Extraction?
To learn more about the iRPA (Intelligent robotic process automation), read the blog from Eugene You in the SAP Community here.
This app uses Situation Handling, which automatically informs users responsible about matters that require their attention. For more information, see Situation Handling.
For more information about automatic sales order creation from unstructured data, see Product Assistance.
You regularly receive orders or maintain order data in XLSX files. When creating sales orders you need to manually enter order data and create them one by one in the Create Sales Orders app.
With the Import Sales Orders app, you can batch-create sales orders directly from XLSX spreadsheet files. After an order data file is uploaded, the system automatically creates sales orders, thereby reducing manual workload and enhancing work efficiency for internal sales reps.
With this app, you as an internal sales representative can navigate to several apps for importing sales documents (from XLSX spreadsheet files) and view all your imports. Quick access to the following apps is supported:
- Import Sales Quotations
- Import Sales Orders
- Import Sales Scheduling Agreements
- Import Sales Orders Without Charge
Picture 2: Enable transparent job monitoring and efficient post-processing.
Gain an overview of all your imports
You can view all imports regarding their overall processing status, sales document category, import time, and the number of successful and failed creations.
Navigate to import details in the respective document import app
You can branch to an import to view its details in the respective document import app. For example, after you choose an import for sales orders, you can navigate to the Import Sales Orders app and view import details (including the creation status and the application log of individual import items).
Set an import as completed
When an import contains errors (indicating that document creation has failed or partially failed) but you don’t want to continue with further processing, you can manually complete the import.
For more information about the import of sales documents, see Product Assistance.
The sales scheduling agreement is used as a basis for delivering material. The customer sends in sales scheduling agreement releases, referred to as delivery schedules, at regular intervals to release a quantity of the material.
Delivery quantities and delivery dates can be constantly updated by the customer who requests to release a specific quantity of products (that is, materials) on a specific day.
Usually, the customer sends delivery schedules through electronic data interchange (EDI). The system then automatically creates new (or updates existing) delivery schedules in your sales scheduling agreement. In this case, you don’t manually create delivery schedules when you create sales scheduling agreements.
Sometimes, the customer who requests to release a specific quantity of products on a specific day sends you the update via orders maintained in Microsoft Excel files. You have now to create the sales scheduling agreements based on the data maintained in these Microsoft Excel files, and you need to manually enter the order data and create them – one by one – in the Create Sales Scheduling Agreements app.
With the SAP Fiori app Import Sales Scheduling Agreements, you can batch-create sales orders directly from Microsoft Excel spreadsheet files. After an order data file is uploaded, the system automatically creates sales scheduling agreements, so reducing manual workload.
Picture 3: Improved efficiency in creating sales scheduling agreements, as a result of mass upload capabilities
Remark: Download the import template
We recommend that you download a standard template before an import. This template provides a list of fields that are either required or optional for an import. You can add optional fields to your document data sheet. For details, refer to the instructions in the template.
For more information about the creation of sales scheduling agreements through spreadsheet upload, see the Product Assistance.
You can create free-of-charge deliveries for sending samples of your products to the customer. The system will then generate a delivery based on the free-of-charge delivery.
A free-of-charge delivery is a sales document like a standard order.
With this new release, you as an internal sales representative can create sales orders without charge from an XLSX spreadsheet file. We recommend that you download a standard template before an import. This template provides a list of fields that are either required or optional for importing sales orders without charge.
Picture 4: Improve efficiency in creating sales orders without charge, as a result of mass upload capabilities
Currently, only a limited number of fields are available for import. You can find their field names in the template.
For more information about the creation of sales orders without charge through spreadsheet upload, see Product Assistance.
A sales quotation presents the customer with a legally binding offer for delivering a product or providing a service within certain fixed conditions. This offer is legally binding for the company within a specified time period.
- A sales quotation comprises one or more items that contain the quantity of a material or service that the customer asked for.
- The total quantity can be subdivided between the scheduled lines in different amounts and relevant delivery dates.
- Items can be structured in a hierarchy so you can differentiate between batches, or explode combined materials (bills of material).
- The valid conditions for an item are listed in the item conditions and can be derived individually from the conditions for the whole document.
With this new release, you as an internal sales representative can create sales quotations from an XLSX spreadsheet file. We recommend that you download a standard template before an import. This template provides a list of fields that are either required or optional for importing sales quotations.
Picture 5: Improve efficiency in creating sales quotations, as a result of mass upload capabilities.
You can access the Import Sales Quotations app from the sales quotation card in the Import Sales Documents app. For easier future access, we recommend that you save the Import Sales Quotations app as a tile after opening it for the first time.
As a key user, you can extend the Import Sales Quotations app according to your business needs.
For more information about the creation of sales quotations through spreadsheet upload, see Product Assistance.
Typically, updating sales orders in SAP S/4HANA requires the user to manually open and make changes to the correspondent Sales Orders Header Data or Sales Orders Items Data, one after the other.
Maybe this is a possible process for a very small list of orders, but it becomes time-consuming for larger ones.
With the 2021 release, we introduced mass changes for sales documents.
With this 2022 release, you can now use the Mass Change of Sales Documents app to access and make changes across all types of sales documents in one step
For example, you can make changes to multiple sales orders and sales quotations at the same time.
The changes are scheduled in the form of a job that runs in the background. For failed jobs, you can repeat changes individually or schedule a new job.
You can make changes to sales documents of the following categories:
- Sales orders
- Sales quotations
- Sales contracts
- Customer returns
- Sales scheduling agreements
- Sales orders without charge
- Credit memo requests
- Debit memo requests
Video 3: Click here to watch the video and see how to trigger mass changes at a header and item level:
Monitor Mass Changes of Sales Documents
With this SAP Fiori app, you can search for all the jobs created in the Mass Change of Sales Documents app.
You can use the Monitor Mass Changes of Sales Documents app to do the following:
- Search for jobs by various criteria, such as job status, the user who created the job, start date, and so on.
- View job details.
- Reschedule failed jobs. After rescheduling a failed job, the current failed job is set to be completed and the new job is in process.
- Mark failed jobs as completed. You can no longer change the job status or any other details after marking the job as completed.
Situation Template: Mass Change of Sales Docs: Jobs Complete
You want the user who triggered the mass change or specific members of your sales organization to be informed when a mass change job is finished. For this, you can use this standard template, users can be notified automatically about the status of finished jobs.
End users will then be informed about the situations they’re responsible for by notifications on the SAP Fiori launchpad. They can also choose to get additional emails.
For background information about the Situation Handling framework, see the Product Assistance for Situation Handling.
The Mass Change of Sales Documents app now supports consumption of multiple addresses for a customer for all the sales document categories.
For more information about the mass changes to sales documents across document categories, see the Product Assistance.
To minimize process costs, you want to detect deviations between your own price and the one your customer expects as early as possible. You can then react at an early point in time after sales document creation and apply counter measures, such as correcting wrong price master data or by contacting your customer. As a result, you avoid expensive disputes at a later point in time, for example, when the goods have been delivered and the invoice has already been sent to your customer.
This app lists sales document items that are locked due to discrepancies between the net price and the customer-expected price until the discrepancy is resolved.
You can either accept or decline the customer-expected price, or you can reject the sales document item:
- If you accept the customer-expected price, you can manually adjust, for example, the value of the net price within the app.
- If you decline the customer-expected price for a sales document item, the system releases it for further document processing with the net price.
- You can also decline the customer-expected price for multiple items at once.
- If you reject the item, the item is not processed any further. You can use this action, for example, if you cannot agree on a net price and the customer does not want the item anymore. You can also reject multiple items at once.
Additionally, you can display information about customer contacts that is relevant for the selected sales document item and navigate to related apps to display and change the corresponding sales document.
Picture 6: Locked sales document items due to discrepancies between the net price and the customer-expected price:
For more information about the mass change capabilities to manage sales documents with the price customers expect, see the Product Assistance.
Thanks for reading this blog post.
If you are also interested in other Line of Business, I would like to draw your attention to my link collection blog – The Link Collection
If you want to learn more and actively engage with SAP subject matter experts on SAP S/4HANA Cloud, join our SAP S/4HANA Cloud Customer Community. This platform which is available to SAP S/4HANA Cloud customers and partners has a clear mission: deliver an interactive community to engage with one another about best practices and product solutions.
For more information on SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition, and SAP S/4HANA, check out the following links:
- SAP S/4HANA 2022 “highlights in seconds” blog and video
- SAP Enterprise Resource Planning website
- SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition release here
- SAP S/4HANA Community here
- The Link Collection for Sales here
- The Link Collection for Product Compliance here
- SAP S/4HANA PSCC Digital Enablement Wheel here
- Inside SAP S/4HANA Podcast here
- Join the SAP S/4HANA Movement
- Best practices for SAP S/4HANA here
- Help Portal Product Page here
- Feature Scope Description here
- What’s New here