SAP S/4HANA & ECC Integration

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To guarantee a smooth integration, we have partnered with apsolut, Germany's most prolific SAP implementation partner for procurement. All best practices have been adhered to. Our goal was to create a repetitive yet dynamic integration. With apsolut's Fluid, we found just this and have built on top of it.
S4 Integration flow.
Overview

Lhotse, in collaboration with Apsolut, has developed a specialized SAP Extractor for establishing a seamless data pipeline between Lhotse and the source SAP system. This pipeline involves several components:

1. Lhotse Data Manager (in beta):
Allows users to define extraction jobs, specifying which SAP tables to extract, applying filters, setting extraction schedules, and more.

2. Extractor:
Acting as an intermediary between Lhotse and the SAP system, the Extractor receives extraction requests from Lhotse, submits execution information to SAP, retrieves data from SAP, and sends it back to Lhotse. It operates on a dedicated server within the customer's network.

3. Lhotse RFC Module:
Responsible for extracting data from the SAP database, the RFC Module receives job metadata from the Extractor, creates background jobs in SAP, and extracts data into CSV files in a monitored directory.
Data Extraction Process

1. The user initiates an extraction in Lhotse Data Manager.

2. The extraction request is sent to a message queue, which is continually monitored by the Lhotse Extractor. An indirect connection is used to ensure security.

3. The Extractor translates the extraction requests and forwards them to the RFC Module in SAP.

4. The Lhotse RFC Module reads data from the SAP database based on column and filter definitions.

5. Data is written to CSV files on a network shared drive in chunks. If necessary, the data is pseudonymized at this stage.

6. The Extractor synchronously monitors the folder, fetching the files as they are generated, and converts CSV files to Parquet format.

7. Parquet files are pushed to the Lhotse Data Manager using the Lhotse Data API.
Data extraction process.
Real Time Extension

Extracting data from SAP in real time can be challenging as tables lacking timestamps and making it challenging to identify the updated records. Therefore, we use the approach of continuously monitoring relevant tables for changes and logging the IDs of updated records in a dedicated table. During the next extraction, only the updated and logged records will then be extracted. Hence, this approach requires that each source table that should be extracted in real time, should have a respective change log table and a trigger. These triggers capture primary keys of the modified records and insert them into change log tables.

Importantly, triggers are not SAP DDIC objects and can be manually created/deleted in the PRD environment without unlocking the SAP client for changes. However, log tables are SAP DDIC objects and are typically created in DEV and transported to QA and PRD environments.

In terms of extraction logic, the real-time extractor works in conjunction with the standard Lhotse continuous SAP extractor. When enabled, it modifies extraction filters to extract only changed rows and delegates the extraction task to the Lhotse extraction program. Once extraction is complete, records are flagged as extracted, ensuring that subsequent extractions only receive new changes. If the extraction fails, records remain unmarked, and subsequent extractions retrieve the same changes until the next successful extraction.

Real time extension.
Establish Data Connection

During customer onboarding, we, along with our partner Apsolut, will assist you in setting up the data connection and transferring your master data to Lhotse. Having said this, generally establishing an SAP Data Connection involves the following steps:

1. Install the Lhotse SAP Components in your SAP ECC or S/4HANA system (SAP Basis role).
          a. Install the Lhotse RFC module.
          b. (Optional) Activate the real-time Extension.

2. On your on-premise infrastructure (handled by your system administrator), set up the extractor server:
          a. Configure the extractor server.
          b. Install the extractor service.
          c. If necessary, open a firewall port in your network.

3. Lhotse will handle the creation of the SAP Connection in Lhotse.
Required SAP User Roles

Below, you can find an overview of the required authorization objects for the data connection and their purposes:

Authorization Check for RFC Access:
          Object: S_RFC (ACTVT: 16)
          • Purpose: This authorization is essential to enable the Extractor to access functions within the RFC module           remotely, facilitating data extraction.

Background Processing: Operations on Background Jobs:
          • Object: S_BTCH_JOB (Jobaction: RELE)
          • Purpose: Purpose: This authorization is necessary to empower the RFC module to promptly execute           extractions as background jobs, ensuring efficient processing
          

Administration Functions in Change and Transport System:
          • Object: S_CTS_ADMI (CTS_ADMFCT: EPS1)
          • Purpose: This authorization is crucial for the RFC module to access directory contents within the Change and           Transport System, a key requirement for its operations.

Authorization for File Access:
       
   • Object: S_DATASET (ACTVT: 06, 33, 34)
          • Purpose: This authorization is granted to the RFC module, allowing it to perform essential file-related tasks,           including writing, reading, and deleting files, as part of the extraction process.
 

Table Maintenance (via standard tools such as SM30):
          • Object: S_TABU_DIS (ACTVT: 03)
          • Purpose: This authorization is integral to the RFC module's ability to extract data from tables, utilizing standard           tools like SM30 for efficient data retrieval.

Lhotse, in collaboration with Apsolut, has developed a specialized SAP Extractor for establishing a seamless data pipeline between Lhotse and the source SAP system. This pipeline involves several components:

1. Lhotse Data Manager (in beta): Allows users to define extraction jobs, specifying which SAP tables to extract, applying filters, setting extraction schedules, and more.

2. Extractor: Acting as an intermediary between Lhotse and the SAP system, the Extractor receives extraction requests from Lhotse, submits execution information to SAP, retrieves data from SAP, and sends it back to Lhotse. It operates on a dedicated server within the customer's network.

3. Lhotse RFC Module: Responsible for extracting data from the SAP database, the RFC Module receives job metadata from the Extractor, creates background jobs in SAP, and extracts data into CSV files in a monitored directory.
The data extraction process involves the following steps:

1. The user initiates an extraction in Lhotse Data Manager.

2. The extraction request is sent to a message queue, which is continually monitored by the Lhotse Extractor. An indirect connection is used to ensure security.

3. The Extractor translates the extraction requests and forwards them to the RFC Module in SAP.

4. The Lhotse RFC Module reads data from the SAP database based on column and filter definitions.

5. Data is written to CSV files on a network shared drive in chunks. If necessary, the data is pseudonymized at this stage.

6. The Extractor synchronously monitors the folder, fetching the files as they are generated, and converts CSV files to Parquet format.

7. Parquet files are pushed to the Lhotse Data Manager using the Lhotse Data API.
Real-Time Data Extraction can be challenging as tables lacking timestamps and making it challenging to identify the updated records.

Therefore, we use the approach of continuously monitoring relevant tables for changes and logging the IDs of updated records in a dedicated table. During the next extraction, only the updated and logged records will then be extracted. Hence, this approach requires that each source table that should be extracted in real time, should have a respective change log table and a trigger. These triggers capture primary keys of the modified records and insert them into change log tables.

Importantly, triggers are not SAP DDIC objects and can be manually created/deleted in the PRD environment without unlocking the SAP client for changes. However, log tables are SAP DDIC objects and are typically created in DEV and transported to QA and PRD environments.

In terms of extraction logic, the real-time extractor works in conjunction with the standard Lhotse continuous SAP extractor. When enabled, it modifies extraction filters to extract only changed rows and delegates the extraction task to the Lhotse extraction program. Once extraction is complete, records are flagged as extracted, ensuring that subsequent extractions only receive new changes. If the extraction fails, records remain unmarked, and subsequent extractions retrieve the same changes until the next successful extraction.

During customer onboarding, we, along with our partner Apsolut, will assist you in setting up the data connection and transferring your master data to Lhotse. Having said this, generally establishing an SAP Data Connection involves the following steps:

1. Install the Lhotse SAP Components in your SAP ECC or S/4HANA system (SAP Basis role).
a. Install the Lhotse RFC module.
b. (Optional) Activate the real-time Extension.

2. On your on-premise infrastructure (handled by the server and infrastructure administrator), set up the extractor server:
a. Configure the extractor server.
b. Install the extractor service.
If necessary, open a firewall port in your network.

3. Lhotse will handle the creation of the SAP Connection in Lhotse.
To complete the process, Lhotse automatically pushes the required and correct data to the SAP MM. We can create either a PR or a PO, depending on which process your company follows. The translation between Lhotse and the SAP ERP world is done on apsolut’s Fluid platform (running on SAP BTP) and works out of the box. A secure connectivity is established through the SAP Cloud Connector. We have all the tools and capabilities for a smooth integration.

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Frequently asked questions

How long does a typical implementation with SAP take?
Typically we see implementation phases between one and four weeks dependent on the ERP tech stack of the customer. In rare cases (and very old systems), this can take longer. However, we always have a tech due diligence to ensure that this can be foreseen
How much capacity (IT) do I as a customer need to set aside?
In most cases, we require in total between one and three people days as effort on the customer's side. 90% of the effort and ressources are brought in by Lhotse or our implementation partner .
Does the integration using apsolut Fluid only work with S4?
No. We cater to both SAP S4 as well as SAP ECC.
Do you do the implementation in-house?
We combine our efforts with one of Germany's most prolific SAP implementation partners, Apsolut. This way we can benefit from their years and years of experience as well as knowledge of SAP.
Can’t find the answer you’re looking for?
Feel free to contact our team.