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ESS & MSS without the portal? SAP HCM advice from Jeremy Masters (Q&A transcript)

by Amy Thistle

Jeremy Masters of Worklogix recently took questions in one of our live online HR Forums to chat with you about ESS & MSS, SAP NetWeaver and preview his upcoming ESS & MSS sessions at HR 2013.  

Topics covered in this Forum include OADP, Launchpad, migration challenges, HR Renewal, running on NWBC, delegation capabilities, key steps in EHP updates, implementation timelines, and other topics. 

You can review the entire thread in the HR Forum, or read our edited version below. And please join Jeremy and me on January 23 for his next Q&A on Talent Management, and then in-person in February at HR 2013 in Las Vegas.

Amy Thistle: Welcome to today’s HR Forum – your chance to ask Jeremy Masters of Worklogix your SAP HCM self-services questions.

Jeremy is an SAPexperts advisor, SAP PRESS author and frequent speaker at our SAPinsider HR conferences, presenting in the US, Europe, and most recently in Singapore. At the upcoming US HR 2013 conference this February, Jeremy will present 2 sessions “Guidelines and best practices for deploying ESS and MSS on mobile devic es” and “A leading expert’s guide to leveraging the latest enterprise compensation management functionality”, a jumpstart on talent management deployment and integration options, and will facilitate a discussion forum on self-services.

Thanks, Jeremy, for joining us today!

Today, Jeremy will be reviewing your questions here in the Forum for the next hour.

There are a number of questions already, so I’ll let Jeremy begin. Welcome, Jeremy!

Jeremy Masters: Thanks Amy, and a big hello to everyone  ! It’s great to be here with you “virtually” at this event.  Just a quick background on myself for those of you who I haven’t met:  

I am the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Worklogix, a management and technology services firm specializing in enterprise application development and implementation support for SAP HCM solutions.

For 15 years, I have worked with the latest Talent Management and Self Service functionality within the SAP HCM suite, including Performance Management, Enterprise Compensation Management, ESS/MSS, Succession Planning, E-Recruiting, and have been recently involved in the SuccessFactors functionalities (available in the cloud). I regularly present at SAP Insider events (like the upcoming HR2013 events in Las Vegas and Amsterdam).

I have also co-authored the following SAP PRESS books: Implementing Employee and Manager Self Services in SAP ERP HCMSAP ERP HCM Performance ManagementEnterprise Compensation Management in SAP ERP HCM, and E-Recruiting with SAP ERP HCM. Another title, SAP HCM Infotypes, is in the works as well.

Please check out my website: www.jeremymasters.com and the site of my company: www.worklogix.com for more information. Also, for those of you in the Twitterverse, you can follow at the following handle: @jeremymasters

 

Rajan Murthy: Hi,

We are planning to use SAP Launchpad for ESS, MSS reports. What are the pro's and con's o f using Launchpad vs other reporting techniques.

For ECC6.0 EHP6, has SAP moved ESS and MSS to Launchpad instead of the Homepage framework, Area's, Sub Areas?

Regards,
Rajan.K 

Jeremy Masters: Hi Rajan, 

Within the new EhP5 and Ehp6 framework, you can now use the Launchpad (tcode is LPD_CUST) to allow users to gain access to their ESS and MSS applications. As you have correctly stated, this can replace the previous Homepage Framework. You can read more about the Launchpad here. It also lists all of the applications (Web Dynpro Java, ABAP, and even older technologies such as BSP that you still support). 

Pros and Cons could take me awhile, but the one big pro here is that the new Launchpad represents the "one-stop-shop" for the navigation (taxonomy) as well as transaction entry point for your self-service applications.  

 

JosefineHg: Hi!

I was wondering if there is a guide on how to "activate"/set up MSS and ESS or if there are any tips and trix you can provide. We are looking in to using it for time & Attendance approval and to be able to display time events prior to approving.

Also - how do you set the access in the MSS/ESS solution so that a manager only sees his direct reports?

Regards,
Josefine

Jeremy Masters: Hi Josefine, 

This is a popular question for many folks when implementing MSS solutions. The good news here is that SAP already supplies a framework called "OADP" which stands for "Object and Data Provider".  Leave it to SAP to name something cryptic like this 

Anyway, what this basically does is allow you as the customer to create so-called organizational views and view groups, together with standard delivered function modules in order to deliver the MSS  iViews (functionalities) based on your organizational structure (as long as you have maintained your Chief relationships A/B 012 correctly).  

For more information on OADP, you can check this web page out

Also, you can check Insider Learning Network, for some good content. This website has some really robust content around how the OM structure supports the MSS solution.  There are several presentations by myself on the topic, in fact. Hope that helps. 

[Editor’s note: If you are a past full-conference attendee of HR 2012, you can view the conference session slides in the Conference Materials section of your Homepage menu (login and look for “Conference Materials” in the right-hand menu).]

 

tom: Hi Jeremy,

This is a more detail to my previous question:

It has been decided that my client will continue using the current Organizational Management hierarchy, Position to Position relationship A/B002 in the Organizational Management module to display Direct reports in MSS to managers.  Therefore when a line manager logs into the MSS portal, they will access their team list using the relationship between their current position to the positions in their hierarchy (S B002 S relationship).  My client will not convert to using chief relationship A/B012.  

- The evaluation path mu st use the Position to Position relationships B002 –Is Line Supervisor of

- The evaluation path must use the Position to Holder relationship A008 – Holder

- Different views required

- Only see his/her direct reports

- Employee Search of only his employee (by name or personnel number)

- View Employee from Position structure - Navigation to open other supervisor positions below the MSS supervisor, this would allow the top manager to also view supervisory positions below him/her – if applicable.  (Technical depth should be 4)

Thanks,

Tom

Jeremy Masters: Hi Tom, 

Great detailed questions.  I think you get the prize today for trying to stump me. 

Actually this one I have helped previous customers with: There are some customers like the one you have mentioned that will not move off the old position-to-position relationship onto the A/B 012 chief relationship.  

This is definitely not advisable from an SAP perspective, because SAP has really designed the system and MSS to key off of this relationship. Just to remind ourselves why chief relationships are immensely important:

1. Standard SAP Portal functionality (and all employee and manager self-services) are based on this assumption

2. Assists standard SAP Workflow on approval levels and escalations

3. Standard SAP Function Modules, such as RH_GET_LEADER and RH_ACT_LEADING_POSITION assume chiefs are managers in the company

4. Supported in standard SAP configuration, such as in  evaluation path SAP_MANG, which dynamically determines direct reports at runtime

5. Standard SAP Security assumes this relationship is being maintained (Func. module RH_GET_MANAGER_ASSIGNMENT is used within structural profile authorizations)

Now back to your question... 

For the views you mentioned above, these are all realized in the system via "organizational views" (I mentioned in a response of an earlier post a few minutes back). The OADP framework will enable you to customize the system to meet these specific requirements. However, you should expect that you will need to implement a few customer functions to ensure that you can pull back the right data. Here's some good info on OADP on another part of SAP's site.

Hope that helps!

 

doank111: Hi

Currently, our company has SAP Portal for ESS and MSS packages.

For ESS, we use Address, Benefit Enrollment. pay statement and W4.,Time Recording and Signed time. We made a  lot of modification using personization technique provides by SAP

For MSS, we use OADP instead of worklist and workflow. We use NWDI to create project and modification for Java codes.

We plan to turn on switch for EH5. My questions: Does SAP gives us tool to assist us in convertion java codes to ABAP codes?

How long does this take for this conversion? How many manpowers needed? Do we need consultant for this project? And  what kind of knowledge is needed from consultant?

Thanks 

Kim Doan

Jeremy Masters: Hi Kim,

Thanks for posting this question.  Seems like you have quite a project ahead of you. Good luck .

If you plan to switch on EhP5, you will need to migrate your existing functionalities that you have within your Java framework to the Web Dynpro ABAP one. And... unforunately, there is not migration tool available for this.  This is the bad news. All front end Java changes that were done on your Java track cannot be leveraged in ABAP. However, the good news is that most of your backend enhancements (BAdI, enhancement spot, etc.) can be leveraged, since in many cases, the same backend functions have been leveraged between the Java and ABAP versions of the Web Dynpros.

As far as level of effort, this is always a tricky question, and one that I truthfully hate to answer with no background on your implementation and requirements. That said, I will just say that we at Worklogix typically see a standard project taking between 2-4 months.  

And, yes, you most likely will need some outside (external) assistance from consultants.  

As far as skillset, you will need experts in the following areas (whether filled internally or externally):

- Web Dynpro ABAP (typically your current ABAP resource, who has become skilled in this via training, or OTJ training)

- Functional ESS/MSS (someone that knows the business process and can configure the backend services/IMG activities

- Basis (transports, upgrade, enhancement packs, Solution Manager, etc.)

- Portal admin (transports, portal content,etc.)

- Security (new/updated security roles)

- Project Manager

- Change management/ org readiness (one of the more i mportant players!)

Hope this helps…

 

amberalberty: Hi,

I'm configuring the Record Working Time application. Can I hide the "Details" column fro all users where you put your hours in?  It won't let me do it through personalization or as a variant. Is it possible to change the abap code?
Thanks so much!
Amber

Jeremy Masters: Hi Amber, 

Yes, you should be able to do this via an SE80 enhancement. You cannot "personalize" anymore like we could do in the older Web Dynpro Java, but you can adjust the layout, etc. via the backend since all of the services live in the backend.

For some additional details on this, you can check out a great SAP PRESS book by a colleague of mine, Martin Gillet (@mgillet) . His book can be found here.

 

DonnyTjitra: Hi Jeremy, good to talk to you again, at least virtually :)

I have a question. On this "new technology" can this be used to improve user experience? if so how?

Jeremy Masters: Hi Donny, (former colleague and all-around great guy!) 

It's great to see you online, and thank for your question. 

SAP has taken some steps on improving usability.  SAP has come out with HR Renewal , which will continue to developed going forward. You can take a look at some screen shots in Jarret's blog on the SCN site.

Some customers still are not happy with even the latest improvements and loo k elsewhere (including partner companies) to improve the usability and user experience of their SAP applications. That's what certainly keeping me busy much of these days. 

 

Dominique Grandon: Hi Jeremy,

We have just upgraded to EhP6 and implemented the ESS/MSS through NWBC. It works very well but we miss one important functionality for the manager : a list of the time accounts for his team, same principle as the team calendar.

Do you know is this is plan by SAP or do you think it is better to build our own WDA?

Thanks

Dominique

Jeremy Masters: Hi Dominique, 

Congrats on your upgrade!  That's no small feat, and I applaud you!

Geez, you stumped me on this one. I would reach out to SAP on their plans for this. Off the top of my head, I don't know the SAP Product owner for this, but perhaps another participant in this forum can reply and offer the name.

Sorry I can't be more help. 

 

Jeremy Masters: Uh-oh, here comes trouble... we have @SAP_Jarret joining us.   Great to see you on this forum,  Jarret.  For those of you who are on twitter, please do yourself a favor and follow him at  @SAP_Jarret

Jarret Pazahanick: What are the key areas/gaps you would like to see SAP address in future feature packs/enhancement packages as it relates to ESS/MSS?

Jeremy Masters: Hi Jarret, 

Thanks for the question. I would say I would like to see more robust delegation capabilities. From an approval perspective, we are cove red since we can use the substitution. Gertrud Beisel, from SAP, did a nice blog on this on SCN. You can view that here.

However, there is still a gap with many customers on transactional delegation (being able to initiate a transaction on behalf of a manager). This is still a gap which has been solved by a partner (warning, shameless plug alert) but is not yet available in the standard suite. 

 

Dominique Grandon: Hi Jeremy,

We have just upgraded to EhP6 and implemented the ESS/MSS through NWBC. It works very well but we miss one important functionality for the manager: a list of the time accounts for his team, same principle as the team calendar.

Do you know is this is plan by SAP or do you think it is better to build our own WDA ? 

Thanks

Dominique

Jeremy Masters: Hi Dominique, 

Congrats on your upgrade!  That's no small feat, and I applaud you!

Geez, you stumped me on this one. I would reach out to SAP on their plans for this. Off the top of my head, I don't know the SAP Product owner for this, but perhaps another participant in this forum can reply and offer the name.

Sorry I can't be more help. 
Dominique Grandon: Thanks Jeremy, our development will be busy for some time :-)

 

Andre Sousa: Hi!!

I am preparing an effort estimation for an upgrade from EhP4 to EhP5 and configure the new services on the portal.

Can you please share your experience doing this upgrade? In ESS / MSS we only use TM, FITV, PA and Pay Slip.

I guess the main tasks will be:

1. Upgrade backend to EhP5

2. Upgrade Portal SP

3. Upgrade BP ESS / MSS / PC_GUI

4. Customize ESS Framework: point to new ABAP iviews.

5. Other customizing (new functionalities)

Is it possible to do the upgrade and still use other functionalities available in EhP4? This way we could do a 2 phase upgrade (e.g. upgrade Time Management process and then go to PA).

Can you use our custom WD Java Applications linking ESS launchpad to these applications? Thanks in advance.

Cheers,

AS

Jeremy Masters: Hi Andre, 

Great question, and one that deserves its own blog 

You have hit the main activities with an upgrade. One thing to point out is that , when you upgrade to EhP5, none of the new functionality will be available to you until you actually switch on the Business Functions that you want to turn on.  A lot of customers simply upgrade and then wonder why they do not have access to the new functionalities.  

Also, another thing to consider is building in time for a rebuild of security / role authorizations. You will inevitably need to bake in some time for this as well. 

- Regarding your question: "Is it possible to do the upgrade and still use other functionalties available in EhP4? This way we could do a 2 phases upgrade (e.g. upgrade Time Management process and then go to PA).":

The answer is largely yes... for the most part, you can upgrade the backend and be selective which services you want to retain in the older technology and which you want to migrate to the new technology. I say *largely* because there are some services which will not work (or work as easily) in the newer enhancement pack, so you need to consult your implementation partners/consultants who have this experience. 

- Regarding your questions: "Can you use our custom WD Java Applications linking ESS launchpad to these applications?" Yes,  you can access WD Java apps from the launchpad. Remember that if you do this, you will need to maintain your NetWeaver Java portal stack. 

 

jeff_faulds: Hi Jeremy,

Thanks for enlightening us all with your answers.

We are about the start on a global HCM implementation with ESS and MSS.  Do you think that the upgrades to the UI made by the Hr renewal package will be relevant to a global implementation? Or are the changes too country specific to provide a benefit to a global implementation?

Jeff.

Jeremy Masters: Hi Jeff, 

I believe the HR Renewal is worth a look - the benefits are not country specific.  That said, you would need to evaluate how adding this would impact your current timeline. A judgement call would need to be made on how much the HR Renewal will increase the user adoption of the services you are rolling out. I have been a part of several field studies, and it can be shocking what has actually been effective and what has not been effective. Some of it comes down to your customers current (or soon legacy) offerings versus what they will get now. Some of it also involves the functionality. For example, the usability of a process that occurs once a year (benefits enrollment in the USA) versus many times a year (Personnel Change requests for managers/HR). 

If you have any questions on this, please contact me.  

Hope this helps

 

GudnyS: Hi.

I´m very interested in implementing MSS for NWBC and have already begun the process on our development system. We´re fulfill the technical requirements as:

- SAP NetWeaver 7.02

- SAP ECC 6.0 + Ehp5 og EA-HR

- Add-on component EA-HR_MSS 1.0

- Activate business function HCM_MSS_WDA_1 (and more actually)

I´ve created a test user for the MSS composite role SAP_MANAGER_MSS_NWBC_2. This user is manager in PPPOME and his User ID is registered in IT0105 as supposed. Anyway, when I log on to NWBC as this user, and for example enter the Home Page, I do not have any information on my employees in the Team section other than PERNR (not names or departments). But the PERNRs are for the right employees, meaning the structure is right. The Birthday Calendar shows the birthdays marked with color but not the names. The task list has no tasks in it. I tried to add profile SAP ALL and then I could see tasks in the task list.

What can be missing? Do I have to add something to the role or do I have to do something in the IMG? I have read through all the customizing documentation I found in IMG but that did not help me.

Another problem is that when I log on and enter the Home Page or other parts the screen sometimes comes up blank and have to refresh several times until I get something up. How to solve that?

Looking forward to the session on the 27th.

Best regards,

Gudny

Jeremy Masters: Hi Gudny

Sorry I did not see you in today's session - the group really had an excellent set of questions - including yours!  

Unfortunately, with the kind of questions on the above, it really is something that a consultant would need to look at it, since it's very much implement ation specific.  Please let me know if you would like to connect outside of this forum. I can be contacted at jmasters AT worklogix DOT com

Thanks!

 

TOL: Hi Jeremy,

I have a number of questions relating to deploying ESS/MSS through Netweaver Bus Client rather than full portal:

- Assuming all technical pre-requisites are in place, there is a valid OM structure in place, and ESS/MSS implementation is "vanilla" what are the ballpark implementation timescales for ESS/MSS through NWBC (browser version)? What skills would you recommend in the implementation team?

- In your experience, what are the "lessons learnt" and things to watch out for when implementing ESS/MSS through NWBC?

- Is there any difference in ESS/MSS functionality available through NWBC vs Portal? i.e. can you only access ABAP WebDynpro apps - or is all ESS/MSS functionality accessable through NWBC? Can you list which ESS/MSS apps you can and which you can't use through NWBC?

- What are the key differences between NWBC desktop based and NWBC browser based from an end user functionality perspective?

Thanks

Tom

Jeremy Masters: Hi TOL, 

What a great set of questions. here goes with some answers/feedback for each:

1. You asked:"- Assuming all technical pre-requisites are in place, there is a valid OM structure in place, and ESS/MSS implementation is "vanilla" what are the ballpark implementation timescales for ESS/MSS through NWBC (browser version)? What skills would you recommend in the implementation team?"  

I would estimate between 3-5 months as a ballpark. Of course, it can be longer or shorter depending on scope, resources, etc.  As far as the skillsets, please refer to my earlier post on this one, as I have posted a sample project team make-up. 

 

2. You asked: "- In your experience, what are the "lessons learnt" and things to watch out for when implementing ESS/MSS through NWBC?" 

Well there are a few, but I would definitely recommend understanding the new security concept. It is fundamentally different way of provisioning access (in lieu of the portal role concept) and can be quite challenging for some customers. 

 

3. You asked: "- Is there any difference in ESS/MSS functionality available through NWBC vs Portal? i.e. can you only access ABAP WebDynpro apps - or is all ESS/MSS functionality accessable through NWBC? Can you list which ESS/MSS apps you can and which you can't use through NWBC?" 

You can only access Web Dynpro ABAP services on the NWBC since it's linking to the SAP server directly (the older Web Dynpro Java apps will not work since you have removed the Java stack from the landscape). 

 

4. You asked: "- What are the key differences between NWBC desktop based and NWBC browser based from an end user functionality perspective?" This website gives some good documentation on the definitions and differences, including an overview and a short demo.

 

AgraFernando: Hi Jeremy,

We are currently updating ESS/MSS to EHP5. One of the requirements I am currently undertaking is to add more fields to the Empl oyee General Profile, and the Employee Short Profile in MSS.

I believe I have undertaken the correct configuration steps in the IMG by creating Z configurations of Config ID's SAP_MSS_GENERAL_PROFILE & SAP_MSS_GENPROFILE_SHORT and adding the desired fields. I also implemented a BAdI to retrieve data from the fields that weren't made available as standard for the applications.

The question I have for you is where to add these new Z Configuration ID's? I cannot find where they are present in any of the Component configurations.

Many thanks,

Jeremy Masters: Hi Agra, 

It's difficult to answer your question without seeing your specific issue. You can email me at jmasters AT worklogix DOT com with some screen shots and I can perhaps assist you. 

 

PaulaRuble: Jeremy-

Shout out to you too!

Question on security setup and the portal.  Do you have any good resource information or links available that provide a good overview of the best practice set up for security when using ESS/MSS and appraisals/compensation?  For example, the objects should be built with certain specifics and what transactions should be allowed for EHP4 or EHP5, etc?  Looking for any guidelines, if they exist!

Thanks, Paula

Jeremy Masters: Hi Paula, 

You are supposed to give me the easy ones... 

To be totally transparent, I think this is an area that SAP needs to expand upon. 

For the newer functionality, they have posted their Composite and single roles that come standard with the out-of-the-box delivery. 

For MSS:

Compo site Roles: help.sap.com/erp_mss_addon10/helpdata/en...

Single Roles: help.sap.com/erp_mss_addon10/helpdata/en...

 

For ESS:

Composite Roles: help.sap.com/erp2005_ehp_05/helpdata/en/...

Single Roles:  help.sap.com/erp2005_ehp_05/helpdata/en/...

 

Amy Thistle: Thanks to all who posted questions and followe d the discussion!

A full summary of all the questions will be available here in the HR Forum.

I invite you to meet Jeremy in person at HR 2013, February 26 – March 1 in Las Vegas. Visit the HR 2013 conference website for more details, and view all 9 tracksincluding the entire HR Service Delivery track - here.

Jeremy will be giving a number of sessions – starting with a Jumpstart Day  on Talent Management and conference sessions on ESS/MSS and Talent Management.

Jeremy Masters: Amy, thanks again to you and @ILN4SAP for hosting this event.  I will answer more questions later on today that I have not answered. Please check out my website: my website  and the Worklogix site for more information. Also, for those of you in the Twitterverse, you can follow at @jeremymasters

Amy Thistle: Join Jeremy again here in the HR Forum for his next Q&A, on Talent Management, January 23 at 12:30pm EST. Follow me at @AmyHThistle for more details.

And thank you again to Jeremy Masters of Worklogix  for joining us today!

 

 

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