One of the fun parts of my job as an editor at SAPexperts is that I get to learn about how things work in many different industries. Over the past couple of months, I've been working with Ash Heda and Shailesh Sinha on an article for users of SAP CRM in conjunction with SAP IS-Utilities, so I've been able to gain some insights into how power companies think about their business processes. When explaining how to integrate data between SAP CRM and SAP IS-U, for instance, Ash and Shailesh bring up certain issues that don't come up in other industries:
Building validations that provide alerts when inconsistencies are created in the system and triggering workflows appropriately help in avoiding replication errors. An example is a product swapped by a customer midway in the Meter Read (MR) cycle without ascertaining the pending billing. If the dates are changed and replicated to SAP CRM, this would ideally throw an error, handled by Business Process Exception Management (BPEM). Then the dates would be populated manually after billing issues were addressed.
Similarly, inappropriate workflows may populate data in SAP CRM if adequate validations are not carried out. In the preceding example, an inappropriate workflow may cause the swap dates to be populated without the sales associate evaluating them. This inappropriate workflow would lead to asynchronous data and replication errors. Thus, validations and workflows are critical in capturing the logical sequence of the relevant business processes.
Another example would be a change of plan. When a change of plan is effected, settlement is carried out in the back end for the previous plan. Once the settlement is done, the security deposit associated with the old plan needs to be transferred to the new plan. Security deposi
ts transferred using workflows need to populate both SAP CRM and SAP IS-U simultaneously. If workflows are populating only one system or the other, that causes asynchronous data and results in replication errors.
Meter reads? Plan changes? It's been a while since I've had to look up that much for an SAPexperts article.
Subscribers who want to stand in the shoes of an SAP consultant for utilities (or want to become one) should check out Ash and Shailesh's article, "Understand the Data Model for Integration between SAP CRM and SAP Industry Specific Solution – Utilities." And for those of you in utilities, this a great resource for understanding how data transfers and translates between CRM and IS-U.