How to become a SAP consultant

Let me split this question into two parts. On the one side there are students or business users who want to start or change their career into SAP. On the other side consultants who want to grow and become better for themselves and market. Except first several steps the remaining approach is the same and there let’s be honest to each other, there is no easy way how to become a SAP consultant. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible, but like any other profession it takes time (from my experience it’s about 5 years). Let’s dive into it. 

First of all you need to understand consulting is a tough profession. You must deal with people everyday. You must travel to different cities or countries. And the most important you must learn something new everyday. If you are up to this, than follow me and see what applies to you. Sometimes you need to not only to learn but to keep your sap certification up to date. 

So, what does SAP consultants do? They consult other people, companies in either way: how to change business processes or how to implement a new IT system like SAP. Ideally you should do both – these people are SAP functional architects, cause they know how to change business to make it better and support these changes with IT system.

There are functional and technical consultants. Functional are these boys and girls who know business, not IT. They understand legal reporting, business requirements, best practices in specific areas. Technical people are these nerds, who install, support, update IT part of SAP implementation. In 99% cases you can’t be both. And the worst news are you can’t switch modules (areas) because just one module would take you 5 years to learn to be a good SAP consultant. 

Step 1. Find a business area

It’s really important. Some people are good in communications, others in math, third in coding, etc. It’s about what you like to do most, because once you in, be ready to stay there at least 5 years. Yes, it takes minimum 5 years to learn just one modules, one functional area in SAP. 

Idea is to stick with something general and then become more specific over the years. General I mean finances, sales and distributions, controlling, human resources, material management, logistics, etc. It’s a good idea to do some preliminary research what this business area is, what do people do there, how it looks like.

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Tutorial to setup SAP Work Schedules in HR module

SAP HR Time Management (SAP PT module) starts with work schedule rule configuration. You know there are positive and negative accounting rules in SAP, but both rely on work schedules – time intervals when an employee has to work. In other HR software, it named shifts, in SAP it is daily work schedules. Work Schedule rules are another story. These terms mess people, who have just started working with SAP time management. I decided to spend some time and explain you in details what is this. We will go through main steps in time management configuration one by one. And today we start with work schedules, sap time management infotypes, which use work schedules, and how to generate work schedule.

Where to start

You have three options where to learn time management functionality:

  1. Go to SAP courses
  2. Read this topic
  3. Take my personal classes
  4. Watch my youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/VirVit

Made up your mind and come back. Today we talk about work schedules in SAP HCM. This is the most descriptive explanation how it should work, real-world examples. best practices. Just read it, understand it, re-read again. Let’s begin.

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What you need to know about time management in SAP

Let me clarify, that time management is a very-very wide topic to discus. In my 15 years experience 90% of payroll consultants were not aware that time management is tightly coupled with payroll. They were not aware about time schemas and thought time is only absences and attendances appearing in their payroll logic. 

Well, it’s true and false the same time. We all understand time management is important to pay payroll when it’s paid based on hours worked. But we need time to calculate efficiency, track performance, do some analytics. There are a lot of areas where we need time in real life and SAP helps us. Did you know time could be transferred to Plant Maintenance or Controlling? Even project system module uses time hours. 

Basically we can split time management in three general topics or areas, name it.

First is work schedules and attendance management. Here we build work schedules for our employees, we track their attendances and absences. We account time quotas for vacations or allowed overtimes. It’s all look like maintaining data infotypes in odd PA30 transaction. There are few settings, nothing really complicated. Most complicated parts I’d say are to set data entry interfaces like PDC, PTMW, PP60, CATS, Fiori and others.On today market a lot of positions for time management consultant in SAP associated with this type of settings – just infotypes and interfaces, simple absence counting rules and leave quotas. It’s simple guys. With respect to time accounting.

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Easy way to see your access permissions

Do you know there is an easy way to see your access permissions in SAP? Sometimes you can find out even more what lazy security administrators forgot to cut out. 

All you need is to open one specific transaction, expand all the shown data and download the list to the MS Excel. Open it there, sort and remove duplicates to make it easy-looking. 

And here we go, SU56 allows you to see all your permissions with a user you logged in. It reads security buffer and shows all objects and security field values.

Don’t thank me, just share and subscribe! 


New extension for SE16N transaction

I’m quite sure very few of you know about this brilliant extension to an old SE16N transaction we used to work with almost daily.

Today we have a new solution, mostly developed for HANA database, but it still works and brought some new features to the classic ERP on old-way databases. 

Meet SE16H instead of SE16N. It has number of unique features like presort order on the selection screen, text tables to read field descriptions, building JOIN tables on-fly. 

Play with it and find it more convenient than old granny SE16N.


How to find all SAP HR Tables

There is an easy way to find ALL SAP HR Tables in the system. Any SAP object is assigned to so-called Package. Once we know the package name we can list all objects inside of it. If you’re curious enough you can find a lot of interesting tables, views and moreover programs which are not listed anywhere in official sources.

Open SE80 transaction, choose ‘Repository Browser’ on the left side. Then choose ‘Package’ in the dropdown list below and enter ‘HR’. Hit ‘Enter’ and you’ll see all packages and subpackages in a hierarchy. Expand whichever you want to the lower level and you’ll find everything there.

Easy-peasy!


A new way to debug payroll postings

Here is one more useful tweak. Program RPCIP_DOCUMENT_ANALYSE shows a report with all payroll postings analytics, filters. This is the unique and most convenient way to see posting runs in ALV report.

It’s a MUST have program.


How to send custom infotype over SAP ALE

There is a number of infotypes in SAP which are local to some country. SAP doesn’t provide any standard solution to send these country-specific or custom infotypes over ALE, cause standard IDOC contains only international infotypes. If you develop your infotype and want to send it over ALE there are some tips and tricks to handle. Today I want to tell you how to send custom infotype or country-specific infotype over SAP ALE. It’s going to be a long tutorial with a lot of images. More than I’d like to show you what is a short and long infotype record in terms of SAP integration and IDOC structure. And, of course, ABAP source codes will be provided for your convenience. Take a cup of coffee and join me with this unique tutorial never been shared before.

Sending short infotypes over SAP ALE

A short infotype is an infotype, the size of which fits into one IDOC segment. How to check? Open SE11 transaction, find an infotype structure which is PXXXX (XXXX – infotype code), sum all length fields. One IDOC segment can store 1000 symbols. If the infotype structure is longer than 1000 symbols it’s a long infotype and we will need to split it to send over SAP ALE. Will show later how it works.

To add custom infotype to a standard HRMD_A IDOC in WE31 transaction create a new segment to include it into IDOC and send over ALE. Naming rule is Z1PXXXX, 7 symbols. It’s done for prior 4.6C compatibility, so if you work with modern systems you can use longer names. The first three letters ‘Z1P’ is a must. To save time and avoid human mistakes typing all SE11 fields into segment manually you can create a segment from a template. In menu Segment -> Create with template choose DDIC structure and type in PXXXX, where XXXX is your infotype code. When you save segment systems checks its length to comply with 1000 IDOC segment length.

In my scenario, I’ll use country-specific infotype 0293. Here is how it looks like in segment.

New IDOC segment

New IDOC segment

 

Don’t forget to release the segment in Edit menu.

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How to add standard infotype to PPOME tab

So we have standard infotype which is not shown in PPOME transaction. We want to add standard infotype to PPOME tab to help users enter data. Let’s take infotype 1039 “Shift group” for our example. Usually, we use it for shift planning in time management (transaction PP61). It’s recorded for Organizational units (object type “O”). So it’s easier to enter this infotype in PPOME than in PP01 as SAP advise.

There are three steps to make it happen. We need to create a new screen, it’s logic and enter it in customizing tables.

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SAP Change Pointers in 4 steps

Today we will talk about SAP change pointers. Change pointers are that thing, which registers all object changes, which you need to send over ALE to other SAP or non-SAP system. For example, you have changed SAP HR infotype (let’s say infotype number 0002), the system records these changes internally, creates change pointer object. Then according to your ALE settings it sends updated record immediately or based on the scheduled job. So it sends only that one 0002 infotype record, not every record, not the whole bunch of infotypes. It saves a lot of time, increases SAP performance and decreases network load. Very convenient and smart in other words. There are just four steps to configure SAP change pointers for HCM or any other SAP ECC (Enterprise Central Component) module.

You can set up change pointers very easily with these 4 steps

  1. How to activate change pointers in SAP? With transaction code BD61 SAP activates change pointers across the whole system. It’s a best practice to activate change pointers only in these systems you have and manage data (like test or quality system and a production system).
    Activate Change Pointers in bd61

    Activate Change Pointers in BD61 transaction

  2. BD50 transaction activates change pointers for specific message type (or object). For SAP HCM it would be HRMD_A.
    Activate Change Pointers for HRMD_A IDOC

    Activate Change Pointers for HRMD_A IDOC

  3. Schedule RBDMIDOC program periodically to send IDOCs (the outcome of the change pointer) over ALE integration layer. The program reads change pointers tables, creates IDOCs with changed data and pushes them to ALE layer.
    RBDMIDOC

    RBDMIDOC

  4. It’s recommended to clean change pointers tables periodically. You can do this manually in BD22 transaction or automatically with RBDCPCLR program scheduled.

If you want to track specific fields, I mean, when a specific field in infotype is changed, then in SE11 in ABAP Dictionary select needed data element, switch to ‘Further characteristics’ and tick ‘Change document’ checkbox. Now changing this field in any infotype will cause a new change pointer and data change sending through ALE. Configuring change pointers is a one step in a whole SAP ALE configuration procedure.

Don’t forget to setup the whole SAP ALE landscape to send change pointers over. You can find step-by-step SAP ALE configuration guide in my other post here: