6 Steps to Adopting a Hybrid Cloud Scenario with Your SAP ECC System and SAP Cloud Platform

  • by Katharina Reichert, Finance Solutions, SAP SE
  • March 29, 2017
Learn about the steps required to get a hybrid electronic bill presentment and payment scenario set up using an SAP-delivered application in SAP Cloud Platform.
Learning Objectives

Reading this article, you’ll learn:

  • How to set up a hybrid electronic bill presentment and payment scenario
  • How to install the SAP HANA cloud connector
  • Back-end customizing that you can complete in your ECC system
  • How to make settings in your consumer account in SAP Cloud Platform
  • How to update your customer master data
  • How to configure trust mapping between SAP Cloud Platform and SAP Cloud Platform Identity Provisioning service
Key Concept
Electronic bill presentment and payment is a process that enables a company’s end customers to view their bills and make a payment in an Internet portal. SAP delivers a cloud service that creates a customer-facing portal in the SAP Cloud Platform, which can be linked to on-premise SAP ERP systems to access customer billing data.

Finance teams are conservative – “never touch a running system” is an adage that still holds credence in many companies. Add to this native conservatism the fact that finance teams also have to deal with the software update windows provided by their IT departments as well as the systems limitations that come with quarterly and annual reporting cycles, and you come to see that they only have small windows of time where they can actually adopt innovations.

One way that SAP is addressing this constraint is by delivering hybrid scenarios–with innovations with quick deployment times being delivered via SAP Cloud Platform that plug into existing business systems. However, many companies think that these scenarios remain out of reach because many apps require the core ERP system to be upgraded to SAP S/4HANA. There are several apps delivered in SAP Cloud Platform by SAP, as well as others delivered by partners, that allow companies using older ERP releases (pre-SAP S/4HANA) to take advantage of the innovations. Therefore, these apps can be a first step into cloud software, even for conservative large enterprise finance teams.

Note
For simplicity, this article refers to ECC systems – this could be any SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) 6.0 enhancement package 6 or higher (including SAP S/4HANA) system.

IT and finance business process analysts need to understand the steps required in the on-premise systems as well as the configuration options in SAP Cloud Platform. I go through the six areas of effort to help companies better understand the efforts and have more successful projects.

The business process supported by this scenario is electronic bill presentment and payment. A customer-facing portal is deployed, where a company’s customers can log in, view, and download invoices, create payment advices, and make a payment. It reduces calls into the accounting back office, lowering the total cost of servicing customers. It is important to note that the invoices are not copied into the cloud–they are not saved or persisted in the cloud. Rather, they are displayed in real time from the back-end ECC system, easing many company’s security concerns.

Also, this is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) scenario that offers limited customizing options– but the standard process can be deployed very quickly.

Could My Company Benefit from This App?

From a business perspective, companies will be interested in this app if they find that their accounts receivables team has to deal with repetitive customer inquiries, such as requests for invoice copies, providing explanations on why they are underpaying, or requesting support for their period-end balance confirmation process. Also, if your customers pay their invoices via direct debit scenarios, but want to pay bills before their due date to capture cash discounts, they can trigger the process from this app. Credit card payments will be possible in May 2017. Further, if companies have difficulty receiving remittance information for a certain segment of their customer base, this app could provide relief.

From a technical perspective, your company’s ECC system needs to be running at least at the ECC 6.0 enhancement package 6 level. Further, the app currently only supports Accounts Receivable (FI-AR) processing and is not suitable for high-volume industries, such as telecommunications or utilities, which usually use FI-CA (contract accounting) as the receivables subledger. The app can also support connections to multiple FI-AR systems.

Katharina Reichert

Katharina Reichert is part of the Finance Solutions team at SAP SE, located in Walldorf, Germany. As the solution owner for receivables management, she focuses on applications for customer credit management, customer billing, dispute resolution, and collections management.

Katharina will be presenting at the upcoming SAPinsider Financials 2017 conference, June 14-16, 2017, in Amsterdam. For information on this event, click here.

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