APO-DP Improvements options available
Today I wish to focus on the APO User Experience (UE) part only, because APO community is big and will use this nice tool still for a long period.
What can we expect from APO itself in order to build a more intuitive User Experience (Interface)? Say a smoother solution.
Key question is often: What makes a solution perceived as a smooth and easy solution?
- Similarly to WEB application, a smooth application is meant to adapt to the user, not the other way round. Sometimes it can automatically detect user requirements and propose directions.
- It is easy to read and cleared from any useless information. Not all users read all data. Some are interested in sales, others in consensus etc.
- The solution flow shall not break with technical steps, stopping user conducting their operations.
- A good design shall undertake the technical setting so that users are only using, never setting.
- Colours helps user’s eyes to locate information geographically
- And so on…
- A good proof of smoothness and easiness is often measured by self-learning possibilities.
Look Demand Planning process. This is a simple process (regardless the internal politics) that takes a few input key figures, helps calculating a statistical forecast, organise screen to help collaboration. At the end it delivers a demand plan to Supply Planning and data for reporting purpose. In fact, not much indeed.
Let’s be pragmatic now.
Here below are some of the weak points we could tackled with code and macro. Again if you wish having them to introduce our solutions into your current design, just answer this post directly.
So let’s consider now the central transaction /SAPAPO/SDP94, known as “Interactive Planning”. Here is a screen that can show in total 12 sub screens in one go!! Absolute overdose of data of course, unless using a 4K display with 1-meter diagonal.
On the left end, is the Shuffler. With 4 windows out of which only 2 are interesting but not required once selection is done.
- Our solution is a macro function that allows you triggering standard function, so that you can close the shuffler from a start macro. Easy and smooth. This function allows you triggering many standard function like forecast comparison etc…
More in detail, the selection windows. Despite you may have defined master data attached to your product dimension or customer or whatsoever, this selection window only shows code and description. This is of course weak. Why then defining those navigation attribute?
- Our solution is a predefined BADI code that automatically enrich the standard list with your navigation attributes. By so doing, it is easy to sort and locate the items you are after. See the illustration of this article.
- Our second part solution is a macro function allowing you to change navigation attribute by macro. By so doing, you may for instance calculate last year volume as an attribute, via macro, and later use the selection window to rank the top 10 of your product!
In the central part is the work area, the grid for values. A lot to say about it, however to make it short I list some of our solutions.
- User personalization parameters. Imagine you wish to have a feature that comes automatically in the next sessions. No need to set again and again the feature. We propose a macro function that can memorize any parameter name and value for a given user. E.g Your macro displays or hides some key figures according to a parameter which the user set to “HIDE”. Next time the user comes in the view, the key figures are automatically hidden according to his previous choice.
- You wish to propose a list of choice to the user after a macro button click, instead of having a button for each choice. Our solution again is a macro function.
- You need to read dynamically data from another planning area, or the same, during your interactive session. In standard this means TSCOPY and duplication of data. Our solution is a macro function that reads data and populate any local key figure. For instance, running a version comparison becomes easy. Another example in S&OP you want to dynamically load SNP data, or DP data into your S&OP planning book according to user selection. Easy.
- You wish to run any ABAP report with your current selection. Our solution is a macro function again, that allows you retrieving the current selection from the navigation and call the targeted program populating the key fields. E.g run a release DP to SNP from a simple click of a macro button.
- You have a complex logical expression to write. Macro coding is weak to this regards. We propose a macro function the allows you maintaining a decision table which you maintain, so that applying the conditions is just easy. No AND and OR and () anymore
We also used a lot the many BADI and USER exit around this transaction to make it slightly smoother.
Of course the result is still not perfect, however if you wish to share with others your ideas and realizations, feel free answering this post.