Although there are complaints about the Microsoft Office suite, its continued popularity, despite free products proposed by competition, shows that MS Office is the best solution available on the market. Users praise its refined interface (the so-called menu ribbons), a good internal engine allowing for processing large text documents (Word) and tabular documents (Excel), an extensive formulas and macro language, as well as a multitude of add-ons offered by third parties.
SAP and Microsoft have been working together on the integration of its products for many years. The result of this work is an easy export of reports to the MS Excel format, SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (SAP BPC) integrated with Microsoft tools and several programming interfaces facilitating integration for IT specialists.
However, a regular user of the system, who has collected the data in an MS Excel workbook, usually can enter them into the SAP system only manually. Extracting data from SAP ERP to Excel is easier. It can be done using SAP Business Intelligence tools. However, these tools usually take over the data from the data warehouse, and not directly from the transactional system itself. Due to the periodicity of the information synchronization, this solution lacks the latest, most recently entered data.
To meet the needs of users of SAP systems, we have prepared a friendly and easy-to-use solution for integrating SAP ERP with MS Excel workbooks – SNP EasyInput. This solution has been available in the SNP SAP Add-ons offering for as long as two years. Due to strong customer interest and intense development of the product in this period we have decided to prepare a refreshed version 3.0, which offers completely new capabilities.
Preparation for work
SNP EasyInput is configured via preparation of so called scripts. During its use, the script is executed and the relevant functions saving data in the SAP system, processing or reading these data, are executed. The new version of SNP EasyInput allows the script recording (recording of SAP transactions) to be initiated directly from an MS Excel workbook and enables this script to be automatically loaded after the recording has been completed. Business users can easily and quickly prepare new scripts that integrate SAP and Excel.
The automatic creation of descriptions to individual lines of the script helps to quickly understand the script meaning and facilitates the linking of the script with the MS Excel data sheet.
Extended, context-sensitive user help allows the user quickly find the necessary information and makes it even easier to work with EasyInput.
In version 3.0 SNP EasyInput supports three integration technologies:
- recording of SAP GUI actions (SAP GUI scripting),
- batch processing of transactions (Batch Input/CATS),
- remote calling up of SAP function modules (RFC, e.g. BAPI modules).
Each of these technologies has its advantages and limitations, but the simplest approach is to divide them according to the ease of use and stability with respect to changes in the SAP system.
In many cases, the user does not have to prepare an SNP EasyInput script himself. The user can use one of dozens of predefined scripts provided with the tool. Posting of accounting documents, including those with more than 999 items, creation and modification of material master data and loading of statistical key figures in CO module are examples of ready-made tools that can be used immediately after the installation of SNP EasyInput on the user’s computer.
Use of SAP – Excel integration
When the script is ready, you can start using it, in many cases, increasing work efficiency compared to standard tools multiple times. Data migration, especially if incorrect records must be removed from data, is much better organized in SNP EasyInput than in LSMW, for example. Mass changes of the master data activated via a single key pressed instead of their tedious processing through the SAP GUI can bring tangible benefits in terms of both time and accuracy of data (in MS Excel, data can be easily changed collectively using Excel functions). Mass processing of transactional data previously prepared in an MS Excel workbook is often easier than entering these data manually via the SAP GUI.
SNP EasyInput integrates with MS Excel, adding its own menu ribbon. The ribbon elements change depending on the context allowing the key functions of the tool to be easily accessed.
SNP EasyInput allows you to execute a script in the test or live run. In this way, the data can be safely checked prior to uploading them into the SAP system. The option of script execution only for records that were previously erroneous speeds up the data correction. This is especially important when large data volumes are migrated.
To facilitate the use of the SNP EasyInput workbook by the end user, one should make sure that its formatting suits the user’s needs. For this purpose, specific MS Excel adjustments can be added (colors, data formats, hiding unnecessary columns, rows, etc.) in a standard EasyInput data sheet. Such actions result in a more ergonomic SNP EasyInput workbook adapted to user’s requirements.
In order to check the data entered, you can use both standard MS Excel features (restricting the data entered into a cell to predefined values) or a standard SAP search help technique called up with F4 directly in a spreadsheet cell.
In addition to downloading SAP data from transactions or using function modules, SNP EasyInput can read data from any table/view of the SAP database. This function can be particularly useful when reading user-specific data. To be able to read data from tables, the user must have the required permissions.
With the SNP EasyInput application interface (API) you can easily connect macros written in the Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) language with the functionality of the product. This facilitates creating complex workbooks processing data between script calls connecting the SAP system. The installation package contains several scripts illustrating this functionality.
SNP EasyInput ensures the comprehensive handling of the SAP – Excel integration process, starting from providing ready, empty forms for data entering/reading, through generating descriptions and control information for the user, input help for values entered into the fields manually, and the possibility of running the interface in a test mode, for easy handling of error messages and protection against loss of processed data.
All of this is provided within a user-friendly interface that is integrated with MS Excel with a multi-language support and a context-sensitive user manual. SNP EasyInput is created for business users.
Another noteworthy business advantage is a very reasonable price of the solution and substantial savings on the cost of SAP licenses (employees who do not use SAP business processes, and only supply the SAP system with data or need data from SAP for other purposes, do not need a license).
For companies that want to become more familiar with the capabilities of SNP EasyInput, we have prepared a free trial version. This is a fully functional version but its use is limited by a license key – to one month. The trial is available electronically. We encourage you to read the informational and training materials in the form of presentations and videos. In this way you can quickly become familiar with even complex features of the solution yourself.
More information about EasyInput, its trial and ordering the full version: https://easyinput.net