A Better Way to Manage User Exits: The Flexible Approach

  • by Christian Harrington, Business Intelligence Consultant, Harrington Informatique
  • February 1, 2009
The SAP NetWeaver BI environment involves many developers in many different areas (such as finance, logistics, and HR). In the traditional approach, all developers share the same user exit. Discover another way to handle this work — the flexible approach — that can save you time (and money), while reducing the potential problems of sharing user exits.
Key Concept

Developers apply user exits on the source system (such as SAP ERP Central Component) to add the necessary ABAP code to enhance DataSources with new fields or specific logic, according to the business rules. However, you can run into problems when multiple developers need to access the same user exit at the same time.

Company ABC has used SAP NetWeaver BI for two years. It has implemented BI InfoProviders for the financial department (such as for cost center and the financial ledger). This company is now running a new project for implementing material management (MM) and plant maintenance (PM) InfoProviders in the logistics area.

The financial team had used the user exit on the SAP ERP Central Component (SAP ECC) source system to enhance some DataSources because the standard ones provided by SAP did not meet all their requirements. While developing the logistics BI project, the team realizes it also needs to use the same user exit to enhance the inventory management DataSource, and it starts to add coding into this user exit.

In the meantime, the finance department discovers something wrong with the BI reports, and an urgent problem has to be fixed in the user exit for the finance DataSource. During the testing of the fix in the quality assurance system, a developer realizes that the coding added by the logistics team references a new table, ZMM_01, which is not in the production system (because this project is not yet live). Because of this, the transport of the fix to the production system will fail.

After several meetings, the logistics team decides to remove the coding that references the ZMM_01 table to let the finance fix go to production. This is the traditional approach that organizations typically use. This operation takes time, so the fix has to wait a week to go to production, delaying the resolution of the problem. The logistics team must then put back its coding and retest it, consuming more precious time on the project.

Christian Harrington

Christian Harrington is an independent SAP NetWeaver BI consultant. He has worked with BI tools since 2000, helping large companies implement data warehouses. He has 13 years of experience in IT and has worked as a developer, functional analyst, business analyst, and architect. You may contact him in English or French.

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