Socialization of Data in SAP
Over the years, I have felt that one of the benefits of SAP and SAP’s User reporting tools like Report Writer, Report Painter, QuikViewer and even ALV enabled screens, was to get User quick access to data. Traditionally, a department would have to request a report, design or “spec” the report request and then wait 1 to 6 months for the report to surface from the IT Department.
This is not a slam of the IT Department. However, because of the heavy burdens placed on that organization, creating new reports was usually at the bottom of their pile after “Brush Fires”.
This changed with SAP. No longer would a user be forced to wait, design Report specs that would be modified anyway, and receipt a product long after the business had changed, rendering the report and it’s results useless.
Something had to change. And with SAP and tools it offered, things did change. Data, transactional data results, timely data results could be assembled, distributed and IMMEDIATELY audited quickly. Users had a greater control over their destiny.
I have seen organizations ban users from these tools and kept the responsibility in IT. Hmmm. Knowledge is power and access to data is power. Keep the access in IT, keep the power.
Wrong. An Organization needs immediacy, it needs to respond. It is not the fault that IT can’t fill all requests quickly and completely. They have too much responsibility already. I have seen a MAJOR U.S. University require that all User designed reports first get “approved” by an IT Review Committee. That process could take weeks asd frequently did.
There are tools in SAP to give Users access to data. Insure that there are many variables available with ALV Line Layouts throughout SAP transaction. Insure that each department has at least a user that understands Report Painter, Report Writer or even QuikViewer. Discourage “downloads” to Excel. There are few controls on how the data is manipulated once downloaded to the spreadsheet and they are nearly impossible to audit.
I have seen an organization train multiple user in Report Painter and then a more advanced group converts the Report Painter into Report Writer. Report Painter almost becomes a Report Request tool. A Report “Spec” generator.
Take a quick look at these tools. These are not meant to replace OLAP tools like BW or BobJ or Crystal. These are transactional Reporting tools meant to increase the visibility of data.
Later I will discuss the SAP transaction code MCS7 and the importance of establishing naming conventions when it comes to reporting.