I am sometimes asked about what kind of reporting is possible from the FS (Financial Services) Industry modules.
The FS modules are designed and aimed at processes that exist within the Financial Services industry. These would be companies such as insurance agents, underwriters, claims processors and banks. Because of the specific target market, there is not a huge amount of information outside of the SAP documentation of what kind of reporting is available or is possible.
This blog is going to describe our recent experiences of delivering reporting on the FS-CD (Collections and Disbursements) module for a customer.
Our client was in the process of implementing a new SAP ECC system to manage their employees and their insurance policies. Their current system was a mainframe that has been implemented in the early 1980s, and so ECC offered a quantum leap forward in business processes, functionality and cost management.
They had chosen to use the ECC HR (Human Resources) and FS-CD (Financial Services - Collections and Disbursements) modules to achieve this. Employees were created within the HR module and allocated their insurance policies. Then through a series of enhancements this data was passed from HR to FS-CD, so the payments could be deducted from employee pay-checks and passed on to the insurance companies.
The complexities involved in such a process are huge. Here is an example of just some of the constraints:
Not everyone is employed directly by the client, many of the people were work for other organisations and subsidiary organisations, though their their insurance is managed by the central body.
People may have multiple part time jobs within the overall organisation, but each person is permitted only a single insurance policy.
Health insurance is subject to continual and ongoing legislative changes.
In cases where several members of the same family work for the organisation there must be only a single policy that provides coverage for the entire family.
Employees are able to increase or decrease their own coverage levels. These changes must be reflected in subsequent pay packets.
So why FS-CD?
Collections and Disbursements is a module that is designed from the ground up to deal with gathering money from policy holders and re-distributing it to the insurers. This entails processing large volumes of data and handling a wide variety of processing tasks.
To illustrate a typical scenario: An insurance policy may provide coverage over a year. A payment plan spreads the cost over policy's duration. Once your policy has commenced, any changes may affect the policy premium and would need to be distributed out over the remaining payments that are due. The revised amounts need to be collected from the policy holder's bank account. This all needs to happen with minimal human intervention.
Reporting on FS-CD within ECC
The reporting on FS-CD within ECC is limited. Furthermore, the large volumes of data that are typical of an FS-CD installation can make reporting slow, tiresome and can impact the performance of the productive ECC system. This is especially true for any reporting that involves looking at historical trends, or aggregating the data. For these reasons, it is a very good candidate for a reporting system using SAP BW/BusinessObjects.
As with any Business Analytics project, we need to identify the reporting needs and then identify the data within the ECC system that would be needed. My favoured approach is to keep enquiring about reports until I have identified 'the business question that needs answering', then build up from their to define the most suitable report using the data that I know that will be easily available.
It is simply not possible to just say 'we need to report on everything'. If it were, it would certainly make customers happy and the requirements definition process easier. Instead, we need to identify the documents, master-data, processes and functions that are important to answer the business questions.
Extraction into SAP BW
Firstly, a recommendation: when identifying Business Content use SAP's documentation as well as your system.
Business Content continues to be updated by SAP, so you may find that you require a patch or Enhancement Package to get the most relevant and useful functionality. We found that tucked away within the Business Content there are some very useful objects for FS-CD reporting. These are included in the ECC Enhancement Packs (EHP2) and BW Content 3 (SP6).
To gather our collections and disbursements, we used the 0FC_BP_ITEMS (Business Partner Items). Together with Business Content for Business Partner and other master-data, we were able to get a system operational very quickly.
Payment Lots were more difficult as there is no standard business content available for these. Instead we created generic extractors based on the Payment Lot table, DFKKZP. Our experiences suggest that this approach would be typical for the FS-CD documents that are less central to the likely reporting scenarios, so not covered within Business Content.
To provide a best of breed front-end, SAP BusinessObjects was selected the front end.
SAP BusinessObjects Xcelcius and WebInteligence tools were chosen. These were integrated into a federated SAP Portal. This allows a single address and user id to access the ECC Portal, ESS/MSS (Employee/Manager Self Service) and the BusinessObjects reports.
From this recent project, there are some key things that we have learnt...
BusinessObjects will be keenly adopted by the business - Business users that are familiar with building their own reports will really enjoy the simplicity of Business Objects and the power it provides them. Delivering a project using Business Objects may take slightly longer and cost more in licensing fees when compared to using the legacy BEx tools, however it will result in greater user adoption and result in better decision making within the business.
FS-CD requires some additional learning - There is a learning process necessary to understand the FS-CD processes, data and transactions with FS-CD. Once you have this understanding you will find that reporting on FS-CD is straight forward and is certainly no more complex than any of the other finance modules such as FI-GL.
Business Content may need installing or upgrading - Business Content does provide a very significant enabler to allow quick delivery and an increased return from the project. Though you may find that additional components need installing or upgrading to get access to this. Doing this may require other dependent objects to be upgraded, so needs to be identified and planned early.
Consider the scope - Unfortunately, the Business Content is not totally comprehensive and if you have very specific requirements you made identify gaps that can only be filled by local development and customisation. I would recommend that you adjust your project scope to match with what SAP has provided to ensure that you get the maximum benefit at minimal cost.