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SAP S/4HANA Extensibility – Part 1

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SAP S/4HANA Extensibility – Part 1

Extensibility covers a broad spectrum of topics that allow customers and partners to adapt standard business software to their business needs. It ranges from business configuration, layout adaptation of user interface (UI), forms, reports, custom fields and logic, integration, custom terminology and translation, to customer-specific applications.

For many years, SAP successfully implemented processes for scalable and cost-efficient extensions in all product versions. This was a major driver of the large acceptance and adoption of SAP R/3®software, the SAP ERP application, and SAP Business Suite.

Today, this approach is taken to the next level with SAP S/4HANA. You can apply a tool-based and platform-based methodology, which is scalable for companies ranging from small start-ups to large enterprises and which innately avoids the drawbacks of the classic extensibility by using the following extensibility qualities:

  • End-to-end tools - Business users, experts, and implementation consultants can easily apply changes in their area of responsibility without risk.
  • Pace-layered IT - Custom extensions are loosely coupled with core business processes. They need tight data, process, and UI integration, but the software lifecycle of extensions is decoupled from stable systems of record.

Introducing the two facets of extensibility: in-app and side-by-side

We will begin by discussing the tools which facilitate the in-app extensibility of S/4HANA below.  (Check back soon for Part 2 of my blog, where we will go through some more in-app tools).

In-App Extensibility

In-app extensions are implemented in the same system (or software stack) as the enhanced application. You have access to a wide range of in-app extension tools available in SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP S/4HANA. It is important to note here that certain features that are fully available to you in SAP S/4HANA Cloud may not be available in SAP S/4HANA on-premises due to the nature of both releases. With in-app extensions, you can add new fields, implement new business logic by way of Busines Add Ins (BAdIs), and create new custom business logic and new custom CDS views. In addition, you can manage the lifecycle of these extensions.

Tools for In-App Extensibility

You can use in-app tools to complete the following tasks:

  • Easily define custom extensions
  • Adapt and change the standard UI
  • Develop ABAP coding in an embedded editor
  • Replicate data to SAP Cloud Platform
  • Use lifecycle management for export or import of customer objects

The in-app tools will automatically create related custom:

  • DDIC fields, structures, and tables
  • CDS views
  • OData services for internal and external access
  • SAP Fiori UIs for custom business objects

Introducing the Extensibility Cockpit

You can use the Extensibility Cockpit to get an overview of the available key-user options in the delivered apps, and the options available to extend in SAP S/4HANA Cloud through in-app extensibility. This app provides you a detailed view of the extensibility options for business contexts associated with the SAP S/4HANA Cloud for Enterprise Management edition. Following are some of the key features available with the app:

  • Filter data based on solution scopes, scope items, or business contexts
  • Extend the search to extensible objects
  • Search for the name and description of related extensible objects
  • View additional search results before navigating to the objects
  • Navigate directly to the corresponding object from the Additional Search Results column
  • Navigate to the SAP Best Practices Explorer for details about a scope item
  • View information about the availability of a structural or logic enhancement for a business context
  • View information about extensible objects such as CDS views, APIs (SOAP, ODATA), business logic, and business scenarios
  • Change the appearance of a result list by sorting, grouping, and reordering data
  • Navigate to the SAP API Business Hub for details about released APIs
  • View details about the communication scenario and arrangement for each API
  • View information about custom fields extended in an app for UIs and reports, email templates, and form templates
  • View details about a CDS view in the View Browser app
  • Read documentation about enhancement options
  • View details about CDS view types (analytical/non-analytical/cube)
  • Navigate to the SAP Fiori Apps Reference Library for details about a UI app

Introducing the Extensibility Inventory

In contrast to the Extensibility Cockpit, you can use the Extensibility Inventory app to display an overview of your extensibility items and to view associations or dependencies between various extensibility items. You can determine how importing or exporting a given extensibility item would affect other extensibility items.

Stay tuned! In Part 2 of this blog, we will explore more in-app tools.

References: Excerpts From S4C80 – Advanced Extensibility with SAP Cloud SDK

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About the author:

Shahrukh Bhat is a SAP certified Software Development Engineer with 10+ years of experience working with several programming languages and frameworks. In the last 6 years, Shahrukh has worked extensively with SAP technologies - ABAP, HANA, FIORI, UI5, and Cloud Computing - across various industries. He believes in continuous learning and taking on challenging projects and tasks, all the while providing an exceptional customer experience. He loves to do outdoor activities specifically hiking, participating in obstacle races, and working out.

To chat with Shahrukh or our SAP Solution Services Team, please contact us.