10 Best Practices for Designing Summarization Levels

  • by Mitresh Kundalia, Director — SAP Practice, Quality Systems & Software
  • January 15, 2004
Drawing on his personal experience, the author clarifies how the R/3 system determines which summarization level to use. He then gives tips on how to use that information to design efficient summarization levels, and thus improve your system's report performance.

Summarization level is one of the most popular techniques for improving report performance in CO-PA. It was introduced with the 3.0C release and improved in recent releases. Summarization levels, which are presummarized data for specific characteristics, can improve performance dramatically if they are properly defined. However, improperly defined, summarization levels can burden a system to the extent that performance is considerably degraded.

One of the most frequently asked questions about summarization levels is how the R/3 system determines which level to use. You may think the system is going to use summarization level “X,” but it uses summarization level “Y” instead.

This article clarifies how the system determines the most suitable summarization level. It then will show you how to use that information to define the optimum summarization level and thus improve your report performance. This information, which comes from my personal experience, is not well documented elsewhere. If you need a refresher on summarization levels, see the sidebar “What Are Summarization Levels?” on page 13.

System Logic Determines the Summarization Level

When you execute a CO-PA report, the system displays an informational message at the bottom of the screen. The message indicates whether the system found a suitable summarization level. You have probably observed messages such as Read data from summarization level 310. So how does the system know which summarization level to use? R/3 follows these five steps to find the most suitable summarization level.

Mitresh Kundalia

Mitresh Kundalia heads the SAP practice at Quality Systems & Software (www.QSandS.com). QS&S is a leading business and technology consulting firm that specializes in delivering superior IT solutions using SAP products. Mitresh is widely acknowledged as a leading SAP expert and has worked on various SAP assignments, including strategic planning, fresh implementations, upgrades, and post-go-live support projects. With an MBA degree in finance, Mitresh manages SAP projects with a special focus on customer-focused solutions, management reporting, profitability analysis, SAP General Ledger, and business intelligence. He is a regular contributor at SAP events and publications and technical advisor to leading journals.

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