SAP R/3 and IS-U can be implemented under the SAP IS-U Client or in different clients.
Implementing SAP IS-U and SAP R/3 in the same client:
This is the best solution as the interfaces between SAP R/3 and SAP IS-U is native. IS-U practically extend some of the R/3 functionalities.
- an IS-U device is a serial number of a device category. In R/3 a device category is a material in the Logistics Material Master.
- FI-CA posts closed reconciliation keys in the General Ledger.
- a device location and connection object is a functional location in PM
- a work management order is a PM order.
Implementing SAP IS-U in a different client than SAP R/3:
This is a solution suitable for large implementations with large number of customers. The interfaces are kept at minimum.
FI-CA posts reconciliation keys in the local General Ledger. Then the posting in the local General Ledger needs to be transferred in the R/3 General Ledger using an interface usually ALE.
The utility company buys new meters. This are managed in SAP R/3 from the logistic and accounting point of view: purchase order, goods receipt and invoice. But in the same time a interface (manual / automatic) needs to be established to make the meters available in IS-U for the device installation process.
There could be other examples as well but these are the ones are most common.
IS-U and R/3 Integration.
Let’s see the integration of IS-U and R/3 in depth detail.
As I already told you, the IS-U is sometimes extending existing R/3 functionalities to cover the need of the utility business. But of course other functionalities were newly developed.
Device Management is fully integrated with the PM and MM and AM modules. A device (e.g.: meter, transformer) is a serial number of a device category and in the same time a piece of equipment. The device category is defined as a material in the material master.
Work Management is fully integrated with MM, SD, PM/CS and Controlling modules. Here the utility company can implement a broad range of billed or non-billed services offered to the customers. For example a work management order is an extension of a PM/CS order and can be linked to IS-U objects such as Business Partner, Contract Account, Connection Object.
Billing & Invoicing is fully integrated with SD. For example we can implement a process where some services are billed in SD and Invoiced in IS-U.
Contract Accounts is fully integrated with Financial Accounting. CA is a sub-ledger of General Ledger.
IS-U and external applications integration.
IS-U can be integrated with external applications such as: GIS, SCADA, External Billing Systems, Automatic Meter Reading Systems, other CRM Systems.
IS-U in deregulation markets.
IS-U has evolved along with the utility market. In the last 10 years the European market but other markets as well has adopted a new business model. That is the unbundling of a classic utility company into: generation, transmission, distribution and supply. The unbundled utility market had several stages such as:
- accounting unbundling – the utility company would present different P&L accounts for Generation, Transmission, Distribution and Supply
- informational unbundling – accounting unbundling + the prevention of sales (supply) users to access the distribution data of customers supplied by other supplier
- legal unbundling – splitting of the utility company in separated legal entities responsible with generation, transmission, distribution and supply.
The deregulation market model leaded to a lots of changed in a utility company processes. The most important change was about the data exchange process between the utility companies. Because a customer has the right to change it’s utility supplier lead to a process called “Change of Supplier” where the suppliers and distributor need to exchange data about that customer such as: Billing Tariffs, Meter Readings, Unpaid bills.
In order to support such processes SAP developed a new module for this called SAP IDE which supports the following processes:
Change of supplier
Billing of Distribution Services to Supplier
Sending Meter Readings to Distributor / Supplier