The 5 Options inside SAP for SAP HCM Reporting

by Danielle Larocca

October 13, 2011

Danielle Larocca, Spinifex IT

Satisfying your company’s Human Resources (HR) and Payroll reporting requirements is always a challenge, beginning with the assessment process through the selection of the right reporting strategy. Deciding which method is best begins with an assessment of the reporting tools available to you inside SAP.

As part of the standard SAP HCM installation, five reporting methods are
available: (1) Standard pre-delivered reports, (2) Ad Hoc Query, (3) SAP Query (4)
QuickViewer/SE16 and (5) Custom hard-coded ABAP reports.

Note: In addition to these 5 SAP HCM reporting solutions, you also have the
option of installing SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence (sometimes referred to
as BI or BW).  This is a separate SAP module that serves as a data warehouse where data can be exported from various SAP modules and other computer systems for strategic analysis and reporting.  It is important to note that SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence is not designed for real time reporting and it is not designed for transactional reporting which is so important for HR and Payroll. Additionally
you could also purchase a third party solution for SAP HCM reporting.

This blog is based on a June HR Expert Article HR's 5 Reporting Options in
R/3: How Do You Choose?
 and it will give you some insight into your reporting options and help you to match your reporting need with the most appropriate tool.

1 Standard Reports Delivered with R/3

SAP HCM provides two different types of standard reports for HR and Payroll —HIS
(Human Resources Information System), which displays the report results in
graphical form, and standard reports, which show the results in traditional list form.

If a standard report exists that meets the necessary requirement, this should
always be your first choice. SAP HCM comes delivered with approximately 250 reports which are available through the SAP Easy Access menu (path Human

2 The Ad Hoc Query Tool (InfoSet Query)

The second solution available is the Ad Hoc Query which is referred to as the InfoSet Query in other SAP Modules, has been integrated with HR information systems to enable you to create and save queries in the standard query area. If the
reporting requirement is a one-time, very basic look-up, the Ad Hoc/InfoSet
Query is ok for use. As a rule of thumb, reports created with the Ad Hoc Query
are primarily for a quick and simple look-up that is not needed more than once.

3 The SAP Query

The third option is the SAP Query, a tool delivered with SAP HCM that HR and Payroll professionals can use to quickly create reports from data stored in the HR
module. It allows end users to create reports such as:

  • A list of employees and their personnel data (address,
    phone, emergency contacts)

  • A list of all employees working in a specific location
    with the same job title, comparing their salaries a nd length of service

  • A comparison of current salaries against a
    fixed-increase percentage so that you can make projections for budgeting

If you wish to create a detailed report that you can reuse, the SAP Query is the
best fit. I prefer to use the SAP Query wherever possible, as it allows you to
customize reports with a lot of flexibility, and without any technical skills. Its
functionality is easier to use and more extensive than the Ad Hoc Query.

SAP Query vs. Ad Hoc Query 

Although both Query tools can be used to retrieve basic data it is not a good idea to
use multiple tools to measure the same item. The tools work differently and there is a large amount of room for error.  Best practice dictates that you select one tool and use it for your reporting needs.  The ease of use, reputation and functionality
of the SAP query tool beats the Ad Hoc Query every time.

4 The QuickViewer/SE16

The fourth option is not a tool per se but rather a way that technical users can
access the database and retrieve information quickly.  These options are not designed for regular SAP users because unlike options 1, 2 and 3 the QuickViewer (transaction code SQVI) and SE16 (or SE16N) can be designed to bypass all security and allow for direct table reads.  Use of these direct table reads should be a function limited to trained technical staff who are doing data investigations and not as a reporting solution.

5 Custom ABAP Report

If the standard reports or query tools do not meet your reporting needs, and
assuming a third-party tool is not available, a custom ABAP report is your next
option. Custom reports are created in R/3 by ABAP programmers with technical
skill and knowledge of the database structure. This ABAP code designates
commands to go to the database to retrieve information, compute relationships,
configure security, design a selection screen, and present the data in a
particular arrangement.

Unlike the Query based tools which are VERY limited in the data that they have access to with a custom ABAP report virtually all data is available.  There are disadvantages to having reports written by ABAP programmers. For starters, every small change that you want in the report, once created, is a programming change. The report must be reevaluated each time you apply HR Support Packages (also known as Legal Change Packages) or upgrades. These hard-coded reports are only as good as the programmers who create them. Anything custom-made runs this risk. You also have to deal with concerns regarding cost, resources and turnover.

To see a full comparison chart of all 5 options and the pros cons and examples please review the HR Expert article

Danielle Larocca recommends the Easy Reporter tool for all SAP HCM reporting. Connect with me on LinkedIn


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