With the advent of SAP S/4HANA, the focus has shifted to agility, a simpler data model, and an improved user interface. The simpler data model and efficient user interface may require a platform change. However, there are many options available in SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) for improving system performance. I describe one such option that helps users quickly review the Controlling (CO) allocation results and promptly execute CO reports. Welcome to the world of extract management.
Extracts are the datasets with output results created for a specific selection input. For example, if you execute an allocation cycle with cycle AB001 for period September 2017 (plan or actual), the output results along with their navigation and formatting options (i.e., segments data, senders, and receivers) all are saved in an extract. The extract can be retrieved or replayed to view the allocation results later for any purpose. This is particularly important within an update run, as you can view the results in a snapshot along with navigation, as was possible with the output results of the allocation cycle.
Similarly, you can execute a report for say September 2017 for company code AB01. The system initially retrieves the data from the database. Afterwards when you store the results in an extract, the output result is saved in an extract. The extract is specific to the input September 2017 for company code AB01 only. When the user executes the report for the same input selections again, the system displays the output from the most current extract directly instead of retrieving the records again from database. Due to this, report performance is improved drastically.
One of the major limitations of the extract is that changes to customization to the report structure or a release upgrade invalidate the extracts created prior to the customization changes or release upgrade.
First, I focus on storing the allocation results in an extract and replaying it later. Next, I demonstrate the use of extracts for speedy execution of CO Report Painter/Writer reports.
Part 1: Use of Extracts for Replay of CO Allocation Results
In this example, I demonstrate the use of extracts for a CO actual distribution cycle. The same setup is applicable to a plan distribution cycle, actual periodic repostings, assessments (plan and actual), and indirect activity allocation (plan and actual). An initial setup is required to enable the system to create and retrieve allocation results.
Step 1. Execute transaction code KSV5. This transaction takes you to actual distribution as shown in Figure 1.
The initial screen of CO Actual Distribution
Step 2. Click the Settings button to go to the screen in Figure 2. Select the Save Extracts Under: check box and enter the extract name in the field to the right of this check box. (The Layout and Database Selection fields are not relevant for this article.) Press F8 to copy the values in Figure 2 and save them.
Setting for extract management
After you press F8 to copy and save the values in Figure 2, you are now ready to create an extract for later retrieval.
Step 3. Execute the distribution cycle by providing the input values period, fiscal year, and the allocation cycle in update run. The output values are displayed with all the details of segments/senders/receivers/receiver tracing factor (not shown here). Click the back icon (not shown) to reach the initial screen of the actual distribution cycle as shown in Figure 3 Navigate to Extract Management from the menu path as shown in Figure 3.
Navigation to view the extracts under Extract Management
The available extracts are then displayed as shown in Figure 4.
View all available extracts and the results available under the extracts
Click KSV5-TEST and click the execute icon. That action takes you to the same allocation results that you viewed after the first-time execution of the cycle in update run. Since the extract is saved along with the navigation, you can replay the results again with the same ease in a user-friendly manner. You can view details of basic list/segments/sender/receiver. In case several extracts are created, you can select the latest extract based on a time stamp to enable you to view the most updated results.
(Tip! You can delete a specific extract that is no longer necessary by clicking the delete icon shown in the top left corner in Figure 4. Once the extract is deleted, it is deleted permanently and no longer available for viewing later.)
Part 2: Use of Extracts for Quick CO Report Execution
In this part, I demonstrate how to use extract management for improving CO report execution performance. The extract management tasks are carried out by the administrator who first creates report extracts, manages them, and maintains user settings for the end users to enable them to view the most current extract. I explain the entire process next.
The administrator has access to select the records from the database and create extracts. However, the administrator may not necessarily be able to display the data. He or she will create the extracts using a background job periodically, say for each period. Each extract is created based on a report variant with cost center group/individual cost center as per the user’s requirements. The administrator is responsible for extract management activities such as creation, regeneration, modification, change priority, and deletion.
The report end users, who do not have access to create the extracts or to select the data from the database, can only view the report output from the most current extracts. Since the end users are not selecting the report from the database directly, it saves a significant amount of time and reduces the workload on the database, thereby improving system performance greatly. The report users, however, can only view the report as per their authorizations.
The following settings related to the creation of extracts are usually done by an administrator.
Step 1. Execute any Report Painter CO report. In this example, I executed report S_ALR_87013614 - Cost Centers: Current Period/Cumulative as an example. Click Options… under the Environment menu as shown in Figure 5.
Menu option to activate the Extract Management Settings
The Options pop-up window opens as shown in Figure 6. Select the Expert mode check box and then click the enter icon (the green checkmark) to save it.
Activate extract management options
As soon as you save this option setting, two new options (Output Parameters… and Extract Parameters…) appear on the report input screen as shown in Figure 7.
The report input screen with extract management options
Step 2. Click the Extract Parameters… button in Figure 7 to reach Figure 8 to set the parameters for creating extracts. Select the Create extract radio button. Input a description for your extract. Set the expiry date of the extract and extract priority. Click the enter icon (the green checkmark) or press the Enter key on your keyboard to save this setting.
Input screen for extract parameters to create a new extract
Step 3. Execute the report S_ALR_87013614 now. The system creates an extract called CO_REPORT. The extract is valid only to the selection input screen in Figure 7.
If you want to view the report using extracts then click the Data Source… button in Figure 7. A pop-up window appears as shown in Figure 9. Select the Display extract radio button and press Enter or click the enter icon.
Selection of the data source for a CO report
The system displays the available extracts for the report as shown in Figure 10. Select the Display newest extract option and press Enter.
Available extracts created for the CO report
The system then displays the report output from the extract instantly.
(Note: In real time, an administrator cannot create many extracts in the foreground. Therefore, the administrator sets up report input variants based on report-user requirements (for each report separately) and executes the report through background jobs at off-peak hours. The extracts are then automatically created in the background. The administrator may not even have authorization to view the report.)
The next settings are carried out by the administrator for report users to read the reports from the most current extract automatically.
Step 1. Use transaction code GRE9 to set the settings for end users. Input the user names as shown in Figure 11 and click the execute icon to reach Figure 12.
Input screen for entering settings for end users
Extract administration settings for users
Select the check box under the User Name column and click the change icon (the pencil) to reach Figure 13.
Step 2. Select the Display Extract radio button and the Display Current Extract Automatically check box as shown in Figure 13. Confirm the setting by clicking the Confirm button. The administrator can maintain these values for several users using the options available on the standard toolbar as shown in Figure 12.
User level settings for selecting the most current extract automatically
Once the above settings are completed, report users can then view the report. The system displays the most recent extract to the user after executing the report.
(Note: Users generally are not allowed to create new extracts. They can only view the data as per their authorizations.)
Extract Management (Other Administrator Tasks)
Using the extract management tool (Figure 14), the administrator can carry out the following maintenance activities. You reach the tool via menu path Environment > Extract directory > Execute from the report initial screen.
Extract management tool with available extracts
Step 1. Update and display the extract. Use the menu option Utilities > Regenerate Extract > Generate Extract in Background to refresh the report in case there are any changes in the report output or any new postings after the extract is created (Figure 15).
Menu option to update the extract
Step 2. Set an additional password for more secured reports. Use menu path Extracts > Password > Change. The system then prompts the user to input the password to access this report extract as shown in Figure 16.
Input screen for inputting a password to highly confidential report extracts for additional security
You can modify the extract priority and expiration date or delete the extract using the options available under the standard toolbar as shown in Figure 15.