Speed Up Your Report Performance by Knowing Where Your FI Data Is Hiding

  • by Rohana Gunawardena, SAP Practice Director, Exium Inc.
  • April 15, 2003
Often at go-live, reports are written that appear to work very well, and then a year or two later, they run very slowly. The reason might be a misunderstanding about the kinds of tables that FI debit and credit data is hiding in. This article explains why it's important to your report's performance for you to know if a table is transparent, clustered, or pooled.

Often at go-live, reports are written that appear to work very well, and then a year or two later, these reports run very slowly. In extreme cases, your online (foreground) report takes more time to execute than your system’s "time-out" tolerance allows. Therefore, you can run it only in the background. The main reason for this annoying phenomenon is that the developer and analyst did not take into account the impact of growing data volumes in the initial design.

In some parts of R/3, the workarounds to improve performance can be complex. However, this is not usually true in the FI module. From my experience with slow-performing FI reports, the cause more often than not turns out to be a misunderstanding about the kinds of tables that FI debit and credit data is hiding in.

Yes, it’s true that one confusion point can be simply knowing the names of the data tables and which kind of data each one stores. The more confusing point, however, comes from the differences between transparent tables, cluster tables, and pooled tables. The aim of this article is to explain in simple language where your different kinds of FI data are stored, and why it’s important to your report’s performance to know if the table is transparent or clustered or pooled. This knowledge will allow you to optimize your data selection for reports by choosing transparent tables. You’ll also see why you should avoid the common programming error of trying to get data out of the database table BSEG for a report. First, I’ll describe the types of tables.

Transparent Tables

A transparent table is a data table in which the definition of the table in the SAP data dictionary is identical to the definition of the table in the underlying database system (e.g., an Oracle database). To improve reporting perform- ance, you can create indexes in the database system to speed up data selection.1

Rohana Gunawardena

Rohana Gunawardena heads the SAP practice division at Exium Inc. Exium is a leading business and technology consulting firm that enables companies to achieve their strategic business goals. Exium specializes in delivering superior IT solutions using ERP systems, with a special focus on SAP products. Rohana has been working with SAP since 1992. During his career he has assisted multiple clients on detailed system correction projects, such as correcting inventory balances, controlling area reorganizations, retrospectively activating group currency, and optimizing inter-company accounting transactions. He has spoken at many SAP conferences and has published more than 20 articles in Financials Expert, SCM Expert, and SAPtips on various aspects of SAP. His presentations have focused on Financials module selection, the order-to-cash process, global rollouts, business segment reporting, cross-module integration, and the financial impact of SCM transactions. Rohana is widely acknowledged as a leading SAP expert. Rohana is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales. Previously Rohana has worked with the consulting practices of Accenture, Deloitte, and PwC.

Rohana will be presenting at the upcoming SAPinsider Financials 2018 conference October 16-18 in Prague. For information on the event, click here.

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