How Should You Collect SAP Application Data?
By Clinton Jones on August 17, 2016
Managing SAP application data is difficult – just think about your own ability to manage photographs, Microsoft Office documents and emails. There’s a whole world of content management solutions out there that can assist you in sorting, collating, categorizing and storing content, but if you’re doing this after the event, you’re passively curating content. You’re not actively managing data as it is created. One of the reasons for using a passive versus active approach, is that content comes from a variety of sources that don’t always support an active approach.
Active data governance has long been promoted as the best way to engage in data governance when you’re working with SAP application data. However it’s hard when over 60% of your requests likely come via informal mechanisms like email. While email requests might not constitute the bulk of your actual data volume, they often represent the bulk of the incidence of requests. SAP application data managers often try to formalize and structure email content in a way that can feed into standardized data gathering. This can be achieved in a variety of ways, but proves challenging in the last mile of connectivity.
In the data collection process, Excel templates are intuitive and easy to implement and adopt. Providing data contributors with templates requires no more effort than staging the templates in a hosting resource like a shared drive or SharePoint library. If you prefer to use as much of SAP as possible in the end to end process of creating and maintaining data in SAP, you can even use a custom table in SAP to be the home for your templates.
Structured data collection practices
Even if you’re able to structure your data collection with neatly identified column labels, embedded macros to prefill missing or default values and data validation rules within the workbook – how do you seamlessly connect that data to SAP? IT could develop an ABAP program or record an LSMW script for you. However, unless these objects are provisioned as Z or Y transactions in SAP for you to complete data maintenance, the next best alternative is a third party application. Since 2003, Winshuttle has clearly understood that SAP users need to have a real-time synchronous interaction with SAP data entry screens from the familiar Microsoft Excel, without the need for heavy lifting by IT or custom development.
SAP integration for Microsoft Windows
Studio is the latest Winshuttle desktop application for Microsoft Windows users that works with Microsoft Excel and Access. With Studio, you can create recordings of SAP transactions and embed them in Excel You can also leverage BAPI functionality in the same way or make use of a cool alternative to SQVI or SE16 in the form of Studio queries that can be applied against transparent, cluster and pool tables with joins, infosets and logical databases.
By leveraging Studio for your data management activities with SAP, you benefit from five capabilities in one; A three-faceted transaction recorder, a SAP API distiller and a query builder. For more advanced use cases where you want to use workflow routing, template version management and centralized audit and governance of your automation and integration objects, you can use Studio with Winshuttle Foundation.
With over 2,000 corporate SAP customers and tens of thousands of Winshuttle script authors and runners across almost all industry segments, Winshuttle is the de facto number choice for ad hoc Microsoft Office integration with SAP. without requiring custom software development.
Download the Winshuttle white paper on 10 ways Excel drives more value for SAP customers today!
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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