Business Objectives You Can’t Meet with LSMW
By Clinton Jones on February 1, 2017
LSMW comes packaged as the standard developer and data migration tool for SAP. However, it was never intended to be used for daily use with regular business operations. If you’re using or considering using LSMW for SAP application data management, take a look at some of the business objectives below. Is your organization seeking these capabilities in data migration and maintenance tools?
Although LSMW generates a usage log, it isn’t easy to work with. You can enable table level auditing for tables that are updated by LSMW. But in general, logging and verifying who, how, when and why LSMW is used is difficult. The application is generally only familiar to IT users, and often not even accessible to business users. This means that using it requires specialized training, access and specific authorizations.
Since LSMW is designed for IT, it also doesn’t meet the standard segregation of duties (SOD) model that most businesses require. This means that a user who works with LSMW usually has far more access in SAP than they should. Auditors also tend to disapprove of IT users having access to production data, and don’t approve business users having access to powerful tools that are difficult to monitor, manage and audit in productive environments.
A compliant alternative
Winshuttle Studio requires no developer skills or authorizations to use. Business users can only access Studio with the SAP transactions they have permission to use, and only require very basic authorizations that specifically relate to accessing SAP over the RFC protocol. Studio relies on the SAP application layer for data integration and can be used to access single and joined tables, infosets, logical databases and BAPIs based on user permissions. Transaction recordings enable business users with author licenses to record input fields and screens they use with SAP and map those fields’ data cells and columns in Microsoft Office. There is no direct input functions and no direct table writing with Studio.
Although LSMW can be reliable, it has to be executed by IT – which means the business has to wait on IT to use it. Depending on LSMW isn’t efficient because business users assume that IT can deliver automations on anything in SAP and IT will often try to use LSMW as a workhorse even though it’s only suited for certain tasks. Although the business usually prepares data in Excel for change or creation in SAP, IT has to reduce the file to a text file in order to use the data with LSMW. If errors occur, it’s hard for IT and the business to align the error log with the originating data source. This can also be very frustrating. Proving that the text file you have is what was actually uploaded or modified in SAP is also difficult and hard to audit. Relying on others and in particular on IT, makes LSMW a far from ideal tool to use for business data management consistency in productive SAP environments.
Making LSMW consumable for the business
IT is often pressured into creating ABAP wrappers for an LSMW script in order to make the upload or change scenario accessible to the business. Small tweaks or changes to the logic will require a rewrite of the ABAP wrapper and LSMW application output, and introduce inconsistent circumstances for the business.
If you have to introduce ABAP changes to your SAP environment, these should also be exhaustively tested and verified before they are made available for productive use. Rigorous change management in an SAP environment means that BASIS needs to manage the transport and replacement ABAP. Others from Application Support, SAP Security or the business may need to get involved in the deployment even after the smallest changes occur.
Real time data change and creation
Because LSMW executes the upload or change generally as a background process (the most efficient execution method) – business users only know if their data management task was a success after the program has reached the end of the file and written the final entry to the log. Working in an asynchronous way with data change and creation tools means potentially wasting many hours as you wait to see the results of the loads and then correct errors or unexpected results.
Winshuttle Studio offers two basic modes of use – an a synchronous real-time experience and a scheduled run. You can utilize a variety of error trapping and capture opportunities through data validation and simulation options. Using these features in the data preparation stage helps business users understand ahead of the full formalized run whether it will be a success or have data failures or inconsistencies in the data. Studio works natively with Excel to return the log inline with data in the workbook. There is no need to convert workbooks to text and workbooks can even be routed through a workflow process for pre-approval of changes in accordance with business process requirements when Studio is deployed with Winshuttle Foundation. For more information on the benefits of using Winshuttle vs. LSMW, visit our web page.
About the author
Clinton Jones is a Director for Finance Solutions Management at Winshuttle where he has worked since 2009. He is internationally experienced having worked on finance technologies and business process with a particular focus on integrated business solutions in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and North America. Clinton serves as a technical consultant on technology and quality management as it relates to data and process management and governance for finance organizations globally. Prior to Winshuttle he served as a Technical Quality Manager at SAP and with Microsoft in their Global Foundation Services group.
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