Example 3 : Faster Book Closing

A customer asked SAP if they could use SAP HANA to improve the time-to-close their book. When the customer started their project (early 2012) it was not yet supported by SAP to move an entire ERP process to run on SAP HANA. The customer was unwilling to wait for full SAP ERP to be powered by SAP HANA (available today) and came up with the challenge to develop a custom build scenario that would support their book closing process.


The process of closing the books is impacted by a combination of system activities and manual work. You can approach the overall time reduction by optimizing the technical process elements, or provide technical support to optimize the manual aspects of the process.


Based on its research, the customer found that searching individual line items caused a significant delay in the process of closing the books. If the book balance was not even, the controller would have one of two choices: either try to find the wrong booking by checking multiple (sometimes up to hundred) line items and individual bookings, or if that is not successful and they run out of time, have the issue fixed by performing a corrective booking. There is a downside for such a quick corrective booking: the error still needs to be found in the books once the books have been closed and before the end of the next month, as the scenario will otherwise start all over again.


One time aspect of the process of scanning through the line items in search for the wrong booking, is select and open. For general operations and day-to-day work, this system performance is acceptable. But for finding errors when closing the books under the threat of a deadline, the selection and opening of hundreds of line items is too slow. The business process owner is really in need of speed.


So the customer decided to use SAP HANA to speed up the search for the error in the books, by loading all line items and performing the error search on the redundant data set. With the high reporting speed, the customer can find errors much faster and, in most instances, before the book closing deadline. Once found, the correction is done on the SAP ERP side. Besides the faster manual selection, SAP HANA also opens the option to use analytical methods to search for any differences and potential errors.


With this innovative scenario, the customer was able to increase speed while not disrupting existing SAP ERP process for the organization’s month-end closing (i.e., without moving the primary database of SAP ERP to SAP HANA). Hence, this is a good example for a speed-focused scenario.