I love the Investment Management (IM) module. Let me start with that.
I can’t think of another SAP solution that I’ve worked with that has so consistently and successfully mapped to my customer’s requirements than IM. That definitely has a lot to do with how companies plan and execute on their capital spend but it also says something about the functionality and integration that SAP delivered in it. I’ve found that IM is far easier to implement than other S/4HANA modules and can be done a lot quicker too. To date, the fastest I’ve implemented it was 10 weeks at an Oil&Gas customer that had $4B (billion) in annual capital spend. The functionality seems to map to the requirement so cleanly that I rarely need any enhancements or other creative solutions. SAP has delivered what the industry requires.
IM and S/4HANA
So, what has changed with one of my favorite modules in S/4HANA?
Because of the universal journal (aka, ACDOCA) that was introduced in S/4HANA, all actual costs from a capital order or project are recorded in a central table. There is tons of stuff you can search on ACDOCA already so I won’t go down that rabbit hole and discuss it in detail here. However, that central change impacts how we report on capital costs in IM.
SAP has now delivered a few new transaction codes / reports to account for this change. The first is IM_AVCHANA. This is a classic report that shows the underlying project costs compared to the budget on the IM program. The ‘AVC’ in the tcode is referring to Availability Control though SAP usually uses the AVAC acronym for it, not AVC. That nit-pick aside, it shows the fundamental purpose of the tcode.
Here is how it looks. The selection screen is straight forward. The documentation button just takes you to OSS note 1652021.
The report output is equally obvious. I dislike the header at the top and the fact that the report is constrained within a panel that can’t be expanded but the report is useful and now works on top of ACDOCA. Of course, a big benefit is the speed of S/4HANA that enables you to report on the total budget, assigned costs, and remaining available budget against the program hierarchy. All in real-time and powered by S/4HANA in memory. #fast.
The other reports (IM_AVCHANA_WBS and IM_AVCHANA_ORD) work in a similar fashion but are focused on the source data for capital orders and projects.
Alerts and Re-Budgeting
Another change that was released was the ability to automatically re-budget as the costs posted to the project exceed the budget. i.e., it will alert you to budget cost over-runs and automatically change the budget by that amount. I think this might end up being particularly useful because while I applaud customer’s intent to enforce cost controls, they routinely just expand the budgets anyway to get the work done. No one wants to stop invoicing and holding up purchasing activity on a multi-million dollar project just because it’s over-budget. In my experience, that’s been handled prior to the budget being exhausted (via reporting) anyways. Lastly, while Fiori is being rapidly rolled out for fixed assets and project systems, there are currently no Fiori apps for IM. All of the existing frontend processes and tcodes to maintain a program hierarchy, it’s plan and budget data, and report on it, are still the same.