Simplification of Internal Orders Leads to… Simple Projects? (Part 2)

The previous blog Simplification of Internal Orders Leads to… Simple Projects? (Part 1) was meant to quickly baseline orders and projects.  Being a relatively large topic, the blog quickly covered how similar they are in both the backend configuration and the frontend usage.  Status management, settlement, limited lifespan, cost tracking (reporting), and planning/budgeting are all extremely similar between the two.  It also covered the primary difference, that being the project hierarchy.

Given the importance of both, what is SAP doing with orders in S/4HANA?

 

What is Going On With Internal Orders?

In the current release of S/4HANA OP, internal orders and projects still exist just as they always have.  According to the S/4HANA Simplification List there have been no changes to orders and only some minor items for PS.  The changes in PS aren’t what I would call an improvement…  SAP is basically doing some house cleaning prior to a significant change that they’re working on.  For both solutions, there hasn’t been a single significant improvement delivered in S/4HANA OP and by my count, we’re on at least the 7th release.

In the cloud, it’s different.  As of S/4HANA Cloud 1802, the internal order functionality has been removed.  See below from SAP.

That’s a lot to digest because orders are so popular and easy to work with…  yet SAP is removing them.  Why?  It’s the ‘principle of one’ mentioned in the first blog.  SAP now views the functionality for orders as redundant when compared to projects, therefore one of these solutions should be removed.

I can’t disagree with that logic.  There is certainly more functionality and integration in PS so the inverse is definitely not true.  You can’t remove Project Systems without causing a massive integration gap and removing an entire area of functionality that isn’t matched elsewhere.  But it should be possible to solve anything in PS as we used to do with orders.

 

What’s the Fallout?

There are some changes on the Fiori side.  First, all of the internal order Fiori apps are now covered by their corresponding PS Fiori apps.  They are similar in usage and purpose so this isn’t too difficult of a transition.

Secondly, all of the corresponding Fiori apps have been removed as of 1802.  Removed, but they can be added back manually…  SAP is giving customers a chance to change over without leaving them stranded without a way to use their orders. However, they are permanently deleted as of S/4HANA Cloud 1902.  That’s it… finé, done, goodbye.

Here is some more coverage on this topic.  From SAP Note 2724606:

Internal Order:  As of SAP S/4HANA Cloud 1902 release the Manage Internal Orders app is no longer supported. The features and functions of this app are part of the Project Control and the Project Builder apps. Please use these apps instead. The process steps for using these are described in the documentation for the scope item Project Financial Control (1NT). Internal order documentation is planned to be deleted with SAP S/4HANA Cloud 1905 release. New customers starting with release SAP S/4HANA Cloud 1905 will not be able to create internal orders. Existing customers who still require internal orders, can manually add them using the App Finder until SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2005 Release and also create/ maintain and report internal orders. This app is planned to be deleted completely with SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2005 release.

Here’s another source.  Corina Kinzel from SAP Product Management briefly touched on this in the following blog: Product Management Update: SAP #S4HANA Cloud 1802 for Enterprise Portfolio and Project Management.

"Such simple projects are internal order like projects, without a dedicated project hierarchy."

 

What Should Customers Do?

SAP’s official guidance is that new customers as of S/4HANA 1802 should start using simple projects.  For existing customers, they don’t offer much guidance other than that they should switch over prior to 1902.

What’s not clear to me is what happens to their existing orders.  I’m sure you have to close out existing orders and manually transition them to a simple project.  But what happens to your line items that are already coded to an order?  What about other items, such as assets, that are assigned to an order?  There isn’t a migration utility to get rid of the order number that shows up in downstream modules.

 

Closing Comments

Is this Simple PS?  No, not yet.  All of the developments are still in the Cloud and haven’t been pushed down to OP yet.  Everything that SAP has been announcing about the PS functionality going away in S/4HANA OP hasn’t yet materialized.  I have a good idea for when that will be but can’t discuss it now.

Secondly, I understand SAP’s logic for this move and mostly agree (about 80%) with their Principle of One.  But, if they’re trying to make S/4HANA simpler, why are they getting rid of the simpler object (the order) and pushing customers towards the more complex one?  Again, I understand what’s going on but can’t help but chuckle at the duality here.  So how is this simpler than an order?