Data Collaboration in SAP IBP — Planning Data (Part 1)
Traditionally SAP Integrated Business Planning uses S/4 Hana or ECC as its system of records for most of its planning processes. In companies where data-driven insights are very important for decision making, the need for data collaboration is increasing becoming a standard practice.
In SAP Integrated Business Planning, real-time simulations of business scenarios bring demand, supply and financial models together. Using SAP HANA as a database, this cloud solution is used to manage strategic, tactical and operational processes of a company in an integrated environment. Traditionally, a backend ERP system like ECC or S/4 HANA is used as a system of records for all of these processes and models inside SAP IBP.
In the networked world of Digital Supply Chain, planning might need data to be correlated with events, processes, sources or even decisions happening on external systems. In this context, data collaboration in short is augmentation of your planning data with operational, experience or any relevant data to help you make smarter decisions.
In this blog series (3 parts), I would explain what SAP IBP offers in addition to existing data integration mechanisms for extracting planning data out of the system and import new or modified data into SAP IBP. To work with enterprise data, we need tools to securely read the data, transform and load the data back. Lot of tools are on the market and offered from SAP for ETL (Extract, Transform & Load) tasks. I would not be able to cover the entire spectrum in this blog, would take one on its own. I will be sharing some of my experiences with the tools I have used in the past, however it might not be the standard way of doing things at your organization.
A middleware example
Until one of our customers asked about it, I was not that much curious about Google’s API management platform called Apigee Edge. Then I got a trial version to experiment how I could use Apigee for ETL tasks with SAP Integrated Business Planning. In this blog series, I would like to share my experience on how Apigee Edge was used. I hope it helps a beginner to make his first steps.
You would need,
· SAP IBP Account with needed settings or authorizations for API consumption
· SAP IBP Excel plugin. (Some knowledge on building a macro)
· Google’s Apigee Edge account. (Some basic knowledge would be appreciated, however a lot of good videos and documentation is already available from Apigee).
Data Planning APIs in SAP IBP
SAP IBP hosts a rich amount of application programming interfaces for different use cases. The ones we examine here are purely meant to read and write data from a planning area. These are REST based Odata services. To read master data and key figures from a planning area in SAP IBP, the EXTRACT_ODATA_SRV Odata API is available. It is possible to define the key figures you like to read by using the $select query parameter on a GET call. A detailed description is available on the SAP API Hub. It is possible to fetch a x-csrf-token, before or while making this call. To read key figures, the API has to be called along with the name of your planning area. For example, if the name of your planning area is called UNIPA2011, then the complete Url for this GET call would look like,
where, you enter the name of your SAP IBP Host, your planning area and some of the key figures you like to read. As this call must be made from a middleware, you would have to somehow trigger the middleware to initiate this GET call. The following picture would illustrate this idea.
Most planners who use SAP IBP, rely on Microsoft Excel as their craftsman’s tool. SAP delivers an Excel Plugin which offers a ribbon full of functionalities to interact with the SAP IBP Backend. This Excel ribbon can also be customized with additional features using macros written in Visual Basic for example. By adding a button in that ribbon along with an onclick listener as a macro, we can implement a small custom logic that could make the middleware to initiate a GET call to SAP IBP. More details on how to customize the button in Excel can be found here:- Excel Ribbon Extension. Here is a screen shot on how it looks on my Excel
Inside the onclick listener macro, we have can add a logic that simply makes a GET Request to Apigee and passes a few header parameters. One of the header parameter is the Authorization info which can be used by Apigee to make the read calls at SAP IBP. Here is a small snippet of the macro that calls a Proxy at apigee. The name of the Proxy on Apigee was called “Planners Trigger”.
In the next blog, I would explain how the read Odata API call is initiated from Apigee, the payload extracted for further processing or collaboration and also the steps involved to write back the modified data into SAP IBP. Finally, I would explain how the different steps are orchestrated and triggered from a Planners tool.
Domnic Savio Benedict