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SAP for Insurance

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Yes, it’s insurance data and technology show season again. Below are some highlights of recent and upcoming events:

 

ACORD

 

I missed the ACORD annual conference this year but am looking forward to the fall event. I recently had a sneak preview into the exciting ACORD Open Innovation program in November from Malou August of ACORD; am looking forward to participating! Stay tuned -- you won’t want to miss it!

 

IDMA

 

I spoke at the largest ever Insurance Data Management Association annual in Philadelphia last month. Big Data, Internet of Things and Self Service are creating Tsunamis of change for insurers. Tom Barger, of Zurich NA and I co –presented on data management and governance challenges and opportunities. Tom shared some real life insights on how claims professionals are integrating and leveraging big data and analytics. See our joint presentation on Slide Share.

 

SAPPHIRE

 

I met with a number of insurance companies at our annual SAPPHIRE user conference last week, customers talking with them about their challenges – largely user adoption, funding, proving business value and getting continuous funding for programs. The show included an SAP insurance industry booth where customers could see complete set of insurance solutions, as well as many industry solutions our SAP partners. I also had a chance to catch up with Kimberly Harris-Ferrante from Gartner and compare notes on what we’ve been hearing from insurers. You can view replays at www.sap.com/sapphire

 

 

IASA

 

Join me, Drew Birtwistle, Monique Hesslering of SMA (Strategy Meets Action), and Louis Bode from Great American at IASA. Come to our session #272 - Taking Analytics to the Next Level.

 

Come visit us at booth #701 to:

 

  • Use our Interactive NBA Game Stats Showcase to keep on top of the action during the NBA Finals and discover how the NBA’s success with real-time analytics can apply to your insurance organization

 

  • Learn how to Run Simple in the increasingly complex insurance landscape with insight on financial management and accounting; customer engagement, commerce, and CRM solutions; analytics; and cloud solutions

 

  • Meet with SAP executives, experts, and partners at specially arranged 1:1 sessions

 

  • Attend our presentations on business intelligence/predictive analytics (9:50 a.m., booth #884) and emerging technologies (11:00 a.m., booth #985) on Monday, June 8

 

 

If you’ve already bought my book, Applied Insurance Analytics, please bring it.  I’ll be doing a book signing at the SAP booth on the floor show.  You can also sign up for a one on one meeting with me to discuss your BI strategy and best practices to drive more value from your analytics program!

 

See you in Vegas!

HI Guys,

Good day to you all,

 

Today I want to talk about the recently introduced SAP certification in area of Insurance.

 

In 2013, SAP came up with certification on Insurance solution - C_FININS_66-"SAP Certified Application Associate - SAP for Insurance ERP 6.0 EHP6".

This certification encapsulates following areas:-

1) SAP PM- Plan management

2) SAP FSCD

3) SAP FSCM- Claim Management

4) SAP ICM- Incentive & Commission management

 

Details of Area

The distribution provided for the certification area:-

Untitled.jpg

 

Final Words

The idea of this certification is to enable practitioner to have a well rounded skill in the area of Insurance.

 

One challenge in pursuing this certification is that rarely one get a chance to work in all the areas of the SAP Insurance solution.

In that case getting the relevant SAP training can be really useful.

Having said that, the pass criteria is pretty comfortable and getting good hold on 3 modules gives you a great chance of clearing this

 

So go ahead get yourself certified and as a fellow certified practitioner, I would say its worth it...

 

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We are pleased to introduce a new SAP Insurance Analyzer video, which showcases integrated finance and risk management for Insurance. 

 

Find out how the SAP Insurance Analyzer, together with SAP Lumira, gives you real-time insights into asset, liability, and solvency capital positions to support compliance with upcoming regulations and accounting standards.

 

This is an optimized way to quickly (3:38 minutes) and effectively gain an understanding of the value of the SAP Insurance Analyzer solution, which helps Insurance companies Run Simple.

 

Demo videos are constructed based upon the ‘day-in-the-life’ approach to using SAP solutions.    

 

Enjoy the video and please share your feedback

FS Forum.jpg

Is your financial services business equipped to lay a foundation for digital change? If this is a question you can’t answer – or haven’t even addressed – then plan on a visit this summer to London for the SAP Financial Services Forum on June 23–24, 2015.

 

The attractions:

During this transformative two-day event in the heart of London’s financial district, you will have the opportunity to:

  • - Focus on innovation
  • - Find ways to reduce cost and complexity across your industry
  • - Understand how to optimize interactions with your customers and workforce

Enjoy keynote presentations, participate in panel discussions, and take advantage of one-on-one meetings and numerous networking opportunities. Draw inspiration from many industry-leading speakers, including:

•  Kevin Hanley, Director of Design, Services, RBS

•  Margaret Robins, Analyst, Aviva

•  James Strickland, Investment Director, HSBC

•  Rene Schuurman, Director - Global Transaction Services, Citibank

•  Seth McGuire, Senior Business Development Manager, Twitter

•  Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO, Women's Tennis Association

 

The results

After you leave London, you can return to your company with a wealth of valuable information, including a firm grasp on global competition, regional collaboration, and how to manage the many challenges brought forth by digital transformation within financial services.

 

You’ll also have the ability to take a practical look at the application of new technology and learn how firms can harness innovation, enhance core technology infrastructures, and use technology to provide a seamless customer experience that helps solidify brand loyalty.

 

Join your industry peers who are reimagining financial services for the next generation. Take what you learn at the beautiful Grange St. Paul’s Hotel and directly apply it to your business – building a solid foundation for digital change. Learn more about the event and register today.

 

Hope to see you there. #sapfsforum

Insurance is a long-standing industry. Although core insurance operations tend to be pretty consistent across the industry, it's clear that some insurers are winning against global competition while others are falling behind. Why? The answer has to do with the fact that consumers today expect and demand their preferred business partners to be more customer-centric.

Customer Management in the Future

Insurance comparisons are just a click or swipe away. Often the competition shares the same web page so the customer can do a side by side comparison. In this world of perfect information, customer experience is the differentiator. Successful insurers are concentrating on improving their reputation with customers by being more proactive and responsive. Customer management has become as essential a component for insurers as claims processing and fraud management, both of which impact customer perception in important ways. Customers today are focused on handling their business in the most efficient way possible, with immediate access to payments online and insurance claims management over mobile devices. Some insurers have gone out of their way to put the needs of customers first, and they are reaping the rewards of this strategy every day.

Multiple Channels and Touch Points

Everything from traditional auto insurance to the reinsurance lifecycle has been redefined by new technologies. Cloud-based applications and advances in mobile Internet have been instrumental in allowing brokers and agents to connect with customers in new ways and meet them wherever they are at the moment. Now insurers also need to anticipate what customers need at the next stage and while providing a seamless experience across multiple channels and touch points.

Personalized Experience

Leading insurers are analyzing vast streams of data from a variety of sources and using this to help agents make critical customer decisions with finer accuracy in real time. It has ramped up productivity and transformed the traditional ways of interacting with customers at every level. Customers expect their insurance agent to be able to help them resolve all of their issues like a trusted adviser. They want personalized experiences and well-considered recommendations for other services that could simplify their lives. All of that is possible, but only with the agent can have right data delivered and analyzed immediately.

More on Becoming Customer-Centric

Fortunately, insurers have a way to find out exactly what kind of insurance technology solutions they need for the future. The microforum session “Become a Customer-Centric Insurer,” at the SAPPHIRE NOW user conference in Orlando will cover a lot of this ground in a short time. SAPPHIRE NOW is a gathering of leading executives in insurance, finance, management and IT on May 5-7, 2015, in Orlando, FL. The event is full of actionable advice on applying recent technology innovations to the insurance industry. Join us for this session and start transforming your company's performance with customer-centric best practices.

 

Resource:

The Customer Centric Insurer [Video], https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ep0W0u4x034

There are numerous standard mass activity transactions in SAP FS-CD, e.g. Payment run, Clearing run, Debit run etc and there is a provision to create your own mass activity as well. Through this blog, I would like to share detail information on how to create your own mass activity and its usage in customer projects.

 

The entire process involves a combination of IMG activity and creation of function modules.

 

Events and Function Modules

 

Step 1

Create two custom (Z) function modules using standard function modules ‘FKK_SAMPLE_INTERVAL_1740’ and ‘FKK_SAMPLE_INTERVAL_1741’ as reference. The content must be modified based on your requirements. To give an idea, the above two standard function modules belong to event 1740 and 1741, which are a type of exit programs for the standard Mass activity of Payment Run.


Step 2

Run transaction code SM30. Enter table name TFKFBM (Event table).

1.jpg

Create two new entries in the above table. These entries are known as events; hence in other words create two new events as shown below. Add the two function modules created in previous step in this table for the corresponding event. It will look like the below picture.

2.JPG


Basics and Addons Structures

The standard Mass activity framework uses two important structures, they are ‘Basics’ and ‘Addons’. The ‘Basics’ structure remains mostly constant but the ‘Addons’ structure can vary from one type of mass activity to another. The ‘Basics’ structure contains information about general selections, parallel processing objects, date and time of mass activity creation, log data, authorization data and many more. This information is crucial for the standard mass activity framework to run properly. On the other hand, the ‘Addons’ structure is used to transfer data between the screens and database, hence this structure varies for different type of mass activity.

 

In this example, I have used the standard ‘Basics’ structure i.e. ‘FKK_MAD_BASICS’.

For the ‘Addons’ structure, you have to create a custom structure that will define the custom screen elements.

Below is an example of such a structure.

3.JPG

 

Screen Preparations

Step 1

Create a custom transaction code. Run transaction SE93.

Please ensure that the program and screen number remains same as shown in the picture below.

4.JPG

 

Step 2

Create a custom sub-screen in the same Function group that was used to create the event function modules.

This sub-screen will define the screen fields relevant to your requirements. The fields in the ‘Addons’ structure can be used to link the screen fields.

 

 

IMG Activity

 

Navigation Path

5.JPG

 

Group Frames

Group frame is a place-holder for the screen layouts to be used in the mass activity. In this document, we will be using a combination of standard group frames and newly created custom group frames.


Select the entry as shown below and then click on Group box on the left.

6.jpg

 

Create a new group frame. Add the screen program name (function group) and screen number (created earlier) as shown below. This will result into a new custom tab in the final mass activity transaction.

7.JPG

Layout

Go back to the IMG activity main menu for mass activities. Select and execute "Define layout for mass activities".

Create a new custom layout. Select the entry and click on Tab page titles.

8.JPG

 

Create entries as shown in the picture

9.JPG

 

Including Tab 3 and Tab 4 is logically mandatory because those two tabs will facilitate declaring parallel processing object and error handling during the mass activity.


Select on each entry and click on ‘Position of group’ to enter the group frames. Only for Tab 2, you need to include the newly created group frame in the previous step. Below picture will show the various group frames to be included.

10.JPG

 

Prepare Mass Activities

Go back to the IMG activity main menu for mass activities. Select and execute "Prepare mass activities".


Create a new custom mass activity as shown below.

11.JPG

 

Select the entry and click on General control and fill the required fields as mentioned below.

Enter the events created earlier.

12.JPG

 

Enter the transaction code created earlier

13.JPG

 

Enter the ‘Addons’ structure created earlier

14.JPG

 

Type FICA as the object name

15.JPG

 

Enter the tab layout created earlier

16.JPG


All the activities related to the screens and customizing are now complete, run your mass activity transaction and it should look like the picture below

17.JPG


The core program behind your new mass activity will be those two new function modules that you have created in the beginning. You must modify the function module ending with 'Z001' to suit your requirement. It is recommendable to use the already existing sub-routines for handling the error messages in the application logs.


You should also add your own code for the custom tab on the screen. The screen programs transfer the data from the screen to those function modules during the mass activity processing.


The other tabs on the screen don't need much change as they belong to the standard group frames.


Usage:

Custom mass activities can help you control various database updates to be done at once. Instead of writing longer lines of code inside the exit programs or making multiple database updates during a business process, you can use the mass activity to make a single update for multiple types of data. This provides more control and maintains data accuracy in the critical standard tables.

For insurers, long product development cycles have been a hindrance to agility and their ability to change along with their customer and the marketplace. These days, a short product development cycle is essential to win competitive advantage and SAP customers have proven that Improved Product Quality can be a byproduct of efforts to improve Speed to Market.

 

Our experience has proven that true speed to market isn’t just about how fast you can bring the next new product offering to market, but how well you recalibrate your entire product development process.  And this is all about simplicity, stability, and reusability as well as flexibility and scalability in terms of how fast you can respond to market shifts and emerging opportunities.


Recalibration of processes improves quality 

 

Economists cropped circle.jpgFine tuning your entire product development process not only allows you to shorten time to market, it also builds in quality.

 

Indeed, two of our customers, one a P&C carrier from North America, and the other, a healthcare organization in the UK, both reported improved product quality as a positive and unexpected consequence of taking a transformative approach to product development using a product agility engine. 

 

While documenting as much as a 30% to 60% improvement in speed to market, these customers have also improved the quality of product implementations and reduced the number of day two production issues.


Work on multiple products at the same time


Whereas legacy environments traditionally limit the number of concurrent changes you can make to your product portfolio, a focused product agility engine allows you to develop or modify multiple products in parallel. Utilizing multiple sandboxes, you’re not constrained by bandwidth so you can implement significant or multiple new products in the same development cycles.


Following the lead of manufacturers


Using advanced product planning and sophisticated consumer analytics, leading insurance companies are developing a more structured process around product development and innovation.


Following a typical manufacturing process, products are broken down into elemental components of similar processes, rules, forms, rates, and user interaction. 


In this factory, marketable insurance products can be assembled or bolted together using components from the library.  Changes to rates, limits, or rules can be made in a sandbox and tested step-by-step in the repository before being published.  


Give business users more control


With this scenario, you give business users the ability to enter and test rates and product versions with start and termination dates all prior to the effective date of the changes.  Moving the work closer to the end user that
has the most hands on knowledge, while reducing the translation required in typical IT coding requests, dramatically increases the quality of the outcome.   The sophistication of the SAP versioning capability, along with the granularity of
changes that are possible, provides two strong differentiators in the market. 


With all product related information in one spot, the factory provides a single version of the product truth, and increases
the visibility of changes across the entire product portfolio to all designated users. This enhanced visibility helps support both quality improvements in development and implementation, and reduces the number of requests for changes.


The concept of a centralized product factory for configuration and product change management as well as for viewing completed products as a runtime component was central to the development of the SAP technical
architecture.


SAP Innovation


Over a period of ten years, working with multiple companies in several countries, SAP has refined the separation required to enable a common configuration factory - and one that allows product information
to be published in a way that can be consumed by a wide variety of applications. 
So a business person can step through the calculations and process in a sandbox prior to publishing. This new layer of
testing leads to the improved quality as experienced by our customers. 


We have successfully integrated this level of product agility into Web portals and digital front ends for brokers and employees, as well as into self-service capabilities for end customers.   Integration with CRM, claims, and billing systems, as well as multiple legacy policy administrative environments means you can publish to 30+ different systems of varying technologies.


One of our customers told us that with this innovation from SAP, it was better able to respond to fluctuations in the marketplace, all while improving quality and speed to market.


This is a third blog focused on Product Agility, more information can be found in my prior two blogs:


Speed and Flexibility: The New Mantra For the Insurance Industry


Insurance Product Development: Streamline the Entire Process for Speed-to-Market Advantage 


Interested in finding out more? Why not discover how SAP is helping insurance companies around the
world turn product agility into significant competitive advantage. 


I look forward to your Thoughts. Please follow me on Twitter @Mike_Key.


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Run Simple.jpg

We all have things we need to protect – our family, health, a home, a car. That’s why insurance is one of most personal and vital purchases consumers make. We’re all looking for the easiest, most transparent experience. If the purchasing process is fast and simple, we anticipate the rest of our interactions with the insurer will follow suit.

 

And those follow-up interactions will surely have a critical impact on the policyholder-insurer relationship. For example, when it comes to the filing of a claim, the customer experience is paramount. Per Accenture’s study “The Digital Insurer-Claims Customer Survey”, 41% of customers are likely to change insurance companies after the filing of a claim. Clearly, interactions that happen in a time of need are the ones that matter most to customers and create lasting impressions.

 

Insurers need to provide comprehensive policies and seamless experiences that quickly address their customers’ needs. To win new business and keep existing customers happy, they need to adopt a Run Simple approach by:

 

  • Providing a real-time, unified, and comprehensive experience
  • Simplifying products and sales processes to win new customers
  • Speeding decision making with cohesive, compliant, and transparent claim services
  • Understanding their customers’ digital information footprint
  • Personalizing customer engagement across channels to create a unique experience

 

So what are some steps insurers can take to run simply?

 

  1. Enrich customer intimacy
  2. Advance operations to get innovative products to market quickly
  3. Optimize finance and investments for responsible risk management
  4. Recruit, train, and empower employees quickly
  5. Streamline sourcing for a frictionless supplier network that helps reduce costs
  6. Work with ease on a single, real-time software platform

 

What is the value of the Run Simple approach to insurers?

 

Your customers can reap tangible benefits that transform them from policyholders into advocates, such as:

  • Consistent customer experience – Whether they call an insurance rep, contact the customer service center, or ask a question on social sites, they can count on a knowledgeable professional to promptly assist them with the same information.
  • Faster response times – they can rely on benefits to be disbursed quickly and won’t have to wait for system-related delays to be resolved during a stressful time.
  • Integrated, complete processes – they can fill out required forms once on a single channel and have their account handled cohesively – even if it’s with several different representatives – which results in improved customer satisfaction.

 

Read more about Run Simple and how the SAP HANA platform can help your insurance company master real-time digital processes – and help create a loyal base of satisfied customers. Please share your comments.

  Sapphire 2015 3.jpg

Still dreaming of the glorious Florida weather! SAPPHIRENOW is almost here, so it's time to finalize my ‘Reasons to Attend’ (please see my prior blogs for more reasons @ blog1 and blog2).


We've got sessions covering every industry, but my focus is on what we'll be offering specifically for the insurance industry. So, take a break from the packing (I presume you’re attending!) and let's go over five final reasons to attend SAPPHIRENOW!

 

 

1. Learn to Navigate the New Employment Paradigm

 

We've witnessed a complete transformation of the employment landscape over the last 20 years. Almost every organization is likely dealing with a huge spectrum in its labor force today. Our one-time session Get the Most out of a Diverse Workforce That Includes Both Employees and Contingent Workers will be filled with information about how to get the most out of a workforce that's loaded with career workers, part-timers, contracted employees and contingent labor. You’ll learn how to leverage cloud platforms to unify the best practices for human resources, and use this new diversity to your advantage.

 

 

2. It's Time to Get Predictive

 

Today, the explosion in Big Data and cloud-enabled analytics has been enormous. It's a phenomenon with such significant impact that everyone needs to know how best to take advantage of it. The recurring session Achieve Success with Predictive Analytics for Banking and Insurance will address predictive analytics innovations. You’ll learn how the cloud can help you take the necessary steps to optimize networks and core insurance operations, so you’re ready for growth with an agile organizational design.

 

 

3. 2020-The 5 Year Regulatory Outlook

 

The mid-point of the decade seems like a great opportunity to have a look at where we'll be in five years when it comes to compliance and regulations, especially where the workforce is concerned. The recurring session Adapt to Regulations and Prepare for the Workforce of 2020 will focus on meeting the increasing demands of greater government supervision. With a forward-thinking, customer-centric solution, your workforce will be guided towards improved process execution. SAP's Workforce Performance Builder solution will be highlighted during the session.

 

 

4. All the Channels are On

 

Market insight and customer intimacy are crucial elements in such a forward-focused industry, so this one-time session Strengthen Your Company with a Competitive Omnichannel Environment is all about innovating the customer experience. You’ll learn how leading insurers manage their multi-channel environments to get unparalleled customer insight and position themselves to become a growth leader.

 

 

5. Learning to Make Real-Time Work for You

 

Compliance and regulatory concerns demand a huge amount of attention in the insurance industry, so it's time to find out how to deal with them in real-time. The one-time session Facilitate Real-Time Business Processes and Capabilities in Finance, Risk, and Regulatory Compliance will aim to help executives boost strategic value and optimize reporting. You’ll learn how SAP's Simple Finance can help free up resources and maximize efficiency for reconciliation efforts, financial performance and more.

 

 

Say Hello to Orlando!

 

Now that you've seen how genuinely important the event will be, it's time to head over to SAPPHIRENOW and register. While you're there, take a look at the Agenda Builder to plan your schedule!

Sapphire 2015 2.jpgSapphire 2015 3.png

 

Recently, I wrote a blog about the upcoming SAPPHIRENOW event in May. Update: the Boston weather has only improved slightly since then (enough said!). Today I want to highlight more of the content, since there’s so much to cover. With hundreds of sessions covering dozens of industries, this conference will be filled with insightful,thought-provoking information, to be enjoyed in the glorious Orlando sunshine.

 

Here are my ‘5 more reasons’ for everybody in the insurance industry to come join the events.

 

1. The Hyper-connected Customer

 

Technology has given us a world that's all about speed, and that's truer than ever for the insurance industry. With real-time incident reporting apps for auto insurance and an explosion of backend automation for claims processing, insurance is moving faster than ever before. In our recurring session Meet the Demands of the Always-On Customer, you’ll learn how to satisfy hyper-connected customers using real-time information and an omnichannel architecture.

 

2. Get Proactive About Fraud

 

Concerns about system security and fraud are a top priority for many insurers, so plan to attend the recurring session Strengthen Fraud Management Capabilities. You'll learn how to immediately analyze millions of transactions to identify potential fraud and take proactive steps, like blocking transactions and issuing alerts. Cloud capabilities and predictive analytics will be a big focus here too.

 

3. Learn to Optimize Procurement

 

Just like any industry, keeping your supplier pipeline wide-open and moving fast is crucial for the insurance business. The one-time session Innovate and Optimize Claims Procurement covers tips and tricks about how you can streamline third-party goods and services. You’ll also learn how to leverage the cloud to better track your assets and reduce revenue leakage.

 

4. Transform Your Underwriting

 

The one-time session Transform Underwriting and Pricing with Usage-Based Insurance will cover new opportunities to improve risk management. The focus will be on leveraging Big Data and predictive analytics capabilities to revolutionize risk management and underwriting processes. You’ll learn how successful insurers have approached these tasks and uncovered actionable insights.

 

5. A Look into the Future

The recurring session Look into the Future of the Insurance Industry will discuss the insurance landscape of tomorrow. From policies to billing and claims, you’ll learn how to start building infrastructure that will keep your company performing at peak capacity well into the future.

 

Countdown to Orlando!

 

There's not much time left, so please visit us at SAPPHIRENOW and register for the event. The sessions above are just a sample of the rich content which will be available, so don’t miss out on the year's most important event!

 

Once you've signed up, have a look at the Agenda Builder, which will help you formulate a scheduling game plan to ensure you make it to every session.

 

 

 


Current Situation in SAP Policy Management (FS-PM)

FS-PM is the SAP for Insurance module to handle the management of policies. It has a quite flexible and elaborate business object lying underneath with a lot of entities that connected to each other with different cardinalities. This flexibility can lead to an quite extensive i. e. large business object consisting of a lot of entities depending on how the insurance product is modeled. Everyone who wants to do an implementation of business logic in this module has to interact with this object tree using the so called Unified Business Object Interface (UBOI). This interface allows the fetching or updating of information stored in the business object. And exactly here comes the problem with FS-PM with respect to unit tests: If you want to do unit testing you have to introduce test doubles exactly for the UBOI as they are one of the central sources of the data your business logic depends on. Unfortunately the UBOI layer up to now "refused" to be mocked up with a reasonable effort due to several reasons (although a few brave developers tried to do so in the past). As a consequence the usual FS-PM developer was locked out from using unit-tests in FS-PM.

 

In order to make the story more complicated there is also one second important source of data within FS-PM the so called journal. This journal contains all the information about historical actions that took place on a policy. So at many places you also have to introduce a test double for this part of FS-PM, which proved to be as complicated as the mocking of the UBOI interface itself.


Up to now only bad news for developers who would like to benefit from a test-driven development approach in FS-PM. But with SP09 of Netweaver 7.40 the situation changes ...


The ABAP Test Double Framework

With SP09 SAP offers as a new out-of-the-box functionality in order to deal with the most annoying part of writing unit test namely the mocking up of dependent objects (like the UBOI interface in FS-PM). This functionality is called ABAP Test Double Framework which makes writing unit-tests easier or maybe, speaking for FS-PM, possible for the very first time. The blog ABAP Test Double Framework - An Introduction by Prajul Meyana gives a quite comprehensive introduction into the topic in general. Therefore I will not dive into the depth of the technical description of the framework, but throw a light on how this framework enables unit testing in FS-PM for the very first time without relying on FS-PM "infrastructure" to do so.


So dear FS-PM developer community fasten your seat belts as we will now ...

 

...tame the FS-PM beast

Although FS-PM up to now nearly completely denied the developer the option to do test driven development the infrastructure of FS-PM is very well prepared to allow the usage of the ABAP Test Double Framework without a lot of adoptions of the existing code or established patterns in the FS-PM code. The two big advantages are:

 

  • the UBOI and also of the journal object in FS-PM is represented by classes with interfaces. So all the relevant methods for the fetching of information from the business object policy are located in these interfaces. This is a very good starting point as the ABAP Test Double Framework has some limitations but it can perfectly deal with the mocking of interfaces.
  • a lot of classes already fetch the reference to the UBOI/journal object in the constructor of these classes and store the references as private instance attributes e. g. all timemodel functions or the classes of the cashflow component. This is very well fitting in order to allow the injection of the test double references into the classes under test.

 

So the central question is: What steps have to be done in order to enable the unit testing in FS-PM?

 

Let us a take a look at a concrete example: we want to write a class with one method that checks if all coverages underneath a specific contract have the same end date as the contract itself. If this is the case a flag is returned with the value ABAP_TRUE if not the flag has the value ABAP_FALSE. The importing parameter of the method is the UBOI key of the contract. As the goal of the blog is to show the feasibility of unit tests in FS-PM I will not do that in a test driven way (test first) but start with the regular coding as I want to show that even existing classes can now be covered with unit tests.

 

Step 1: Enable the Class for the Injection of the Test Double

As mentioned above we follow the FS-PM best practice and fetch the UBOI references in the constructor of the class using the corresponding factory call and store them in private instance attributes. We adopt the usual procedure in FS-PM as this time we allow in addition the importing of these references in case that the creator of the class wants to inject them. These parameters are marked as optional and if they are not bound the "classical" FS-PM style of fetching the references is used. The class definition looks like this:

2015-03-29 15_51_28-ABAP - Globale Klasse ZCL_FSPM_ABAP_TESTDOUBLE_DEMO [SA8] - Aktiv, Gesperrt - SA.png

The implementation part of the class with respect to the constructor is depicted in the following screenshot:

2015-03-29 15_54_14-ABAP - Globale Klasse ZCL_FSPM_ABAP_TESTDOUBLE_DEMO [SA8] - Aktiv - SA8_090_lech.png

As mentioned before if the UBOI references are given to the constructor they are stored in instance attributes, if not the references are fetched using a factory call.  When classes are created from scratch this procedure is straight forward. But even for existing classes the adjustment (i. e. adding optional parameters in the constructor of the class and enhancing the logic in the constructor with the IF...ELSE logic shown above) is not a cumbersome task that may result in severe problems for existing business logic.

 

Next we add the method that checks if the end dates of the coverages belonging to one contract are in sync or not. The definition of the method looks like this:

2015-03-29 16_01_02-ABAP - Globale Klasse ZCL_FSPM_ABAP_TESTDOUBLE_DEMO [SA8] - Aktiv - SA8_090_lech.png

 

The implementation is shown in the following screenshot:

2015-03-29 16_05_17-ABAP - Globale Klasse ZCL_FSPM_ABAP_TESTDOUBLE_DEMO [SA8] - Aktiv - SA8_090_lech.png

This is something like a typical piece of FS-PM code:

  • You fetch the contract data into LT_POLPR using the fully qualified key so the table can contain only one entry (code in the red box)
  • Then you fetch the coverages that are beneath the contract into LT_COV (code in the green box)
  • After that you compare the end date of the coverages to the one of the contract (code in the blue box)

As you can also see there are real specifics in order to prepare the class for unit testing, all the coding is done "as usual" in FS-PM. Now let us see how easily this class can be unit tested although we are using the UBOI to fetch the data from the business object policy.

 

Step 2: Mock up the UBOI

We now create the test class. The definition of the test class contains one method TEST_FOR_SYNC that will test the method we have just created:

2015-03-29 16_11_07-ABAP - Globale Klasse ZCL_FSPM_ABAP_TESTDOUBLE_DEMO [SA8] - Aktiv - SA8_090_lech.png

The implementation of the test method consists of three parts:

 

(1) We create the test double for the UBOI of the contract in order to provide a contract end date for the unit test:

2015-03-29 16_13_49-ABAP - Globale Klasse ZCL_FSPM_ABAP_TESTDOUBLE_DEMO [SA8] - Aktiv - SA8_090_lech.png

This is done by calling the test double framework CL_ABAP_TESTDOUBLE=>CREATE and hand over the interface that shall be mocked. Be aware to cast the returned reference back to this interface. Next we fill the data that shall be stored in the test double. As you can see you do not have to specify all fields of the contract structure but only the relevant ones. After that we set the test data into the test double using the method CL_ABP_TESTDOUBLE=>CONFIGURE_CALL. Last but not least we specify the method (GET_POLPR) that has to be mocked. I did not specify any key for that call (LS_POLPR_KEY is initial). This is just for the sake of this demo, in real life unit testing you can of course transfer a key here and this key is afterwards considered when executing the unit test.

 

(2) We create the test double for the UBOI of the coverage as we did it for the UBOI of the contract

2015-03-29 16_21_19-ABAP - Globale Klasse ZCL_FSPM_ABAP_TESTDOUBLE_DEMO [SA8] - Aktiv - SA8_090_lech.png


(3) Implement the test i. e. create an instance of the class under test and inject the created test doubles into the constructor of the class. After that call the method and check the result using the standard ABAP unit test framework.


2015-03-29 16_23_39-ABAP - Globale Klasse ZCL_FSPM_ABAP_TESTDOUBLE_DEMO [SA8] - Aktiv - SA8_090_lech.png

For the parameters that we chose the expected result of the method call is ABAP_FALSE, which is what we assert.

 

Step 3: You are done :-)

That is it - you can now run the ABAP unit test or to be more precise you can now run a unit test in FS-PM on a class that uses the UBOI interface ... be aware that that nearly impossible up to now.

 

2015-03-29 16_27_09-ABAP - Globale Klasse ZCL_FSPM_ABAP_TESTDOUBLE_DEMO [SA8] - Aktiv - SA8_090_lech.png

 

Summary

Within this blog I presented you the application of the ABAP Test Double Framework delivered with SP09 of the SAP Netweaver in the insurance module FS-PM. I did this because since the birth of this module it was nearly impossible to do unit testing in FS-PM. This is now definitly a story of the past. No matter if it is standard or customer development the technical foundation is now given for unit tests and in consequence for test-driven development in FS-PM.

 

So enjoy unit testing and test driven development ... even in modules where boldly no unit test has gone before

 

 

P.S. Be aware of the fact that the central class CL_ABAP_TESTDOUBLE exists already in 7.40 SPs prior to SP09 but it is not released in them. So when you use the class this will result in an error.

 

P.P.S. If you want to get an overview on test driven development and its benefits AND a little glimpse into the future developments of that topic with respect to SAP Netweaver the slides of  Christian Drumm and Thomas Fiedler that you find here might be worth a look.

Sapphire 2015.jpg

As I look out my New England window at the very slowly diminishing snow (which totals 105.7 inches in Boston so far, just 2 inches shy of the all-time record) I can’t help but turn my thoughts to a warmer, sunnier, happier place. It is time to look forward and cast aside the snow shovels, ice picks and rock salt. I must resort to the inspiring quote from Robin Williams, “Spring is nature’s way of saying Let’s Party”. And what better location and venue than the 2015 SAP SAPPHIRENOW event in Orlando, for the 3 days of May 5th-7th. I need to project myself there now and focus on what attendees will experience in less than 2 months.           


Firstly, let’s start with the location, as this will really help shake off these winter blues. The weather in Orlando in May is warm and humid; requiring one to only pack light clothes…you had me at ‘warm’. Now, let’s look at some of the benefits that you’ll enjoy during the event. In just three days, you can maximize your time by leveraging diverse points of view, experiences, and best practices – from SAP subject matter experts and other customers in your role and industry. Technology trends and solutions will be discussed, including SAP S/4HANA, the next generation business suite designed to help you run simple in a digital and networked economy. You will also see demos and be able to consult with SAP partners and solution providers that can help with your implementation. Overall, it is really the ultimate opportunity to maximize your SAP investment and find the solutions to your most pressing business challenges.   

 

There is also plenty of insurance-specific content which will be covered during the event. You can take a “Look into the Future of the Insurance Industry” and learn how to create a foundation that will protect your entire insurance software platform now and in the future. There’s a session on becoming a customer-centric insurer, which will explain how your company can adapt to the influence of new competitors, while at the same time delivering a great customer experience across all touch points. Another discussion will focus on how insurers can transform their underwriting and pricing with usage-based insurance, which examines opportunities for them to rethink their approach to risk management. And there’s much more.


Please check out the SAPPHIRENOW site for more details, including creating your own agenda. And you can take advantage of the early bird rate through March 17th.  Now, back to my reality of dripping icicles!
   

Accelerate your sales cycles with SAP’s customizable sales assets for Banking (customer facing)

  • Placemats to create awareness:

Insurance Placemat

SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud Services for Insurance Placemat  

 

Asset to learn more and share with customers in demand generation campaigns

 

 

Breakthrough SAP HANA Customer Success Stories E-books (customer facing):

 

Assets available via PartnerEdge.com. To stay updated about sales/marketing assets available to Insurance Partners visit the Insurance Pages in PartnerEdge.com

 

Insurance Product Development: Streamline the Entire Process for Speed-to-Market Advantage

 

By Mike Key, Vice President Business Development, Global Core Insurance at SAP

Economists.pngDo you need to deliver better, more responsive services to customers, and improve your time to market?  This is no longer wishful thinking in the insurance industry - it’s the only way to succeed. For Insurance Companies product speed to market and flexibility are top priorities, however only a small proportion are actually getting it right as discussed in my earlier blog about Speed and Flexibility: The New Mantra for the Insurance Industry and as highlighted in a recent report from The Economist Intelligence Unit.


However, despite prevailing challenges in the insurance sector, there are significant opportunities for you to streamline your product development cycle to achieve more - faster. 

 

Speed-to-market benchmarks 

When pressed about product speed to market, executives can generally only give rough timeframes. Yet they are only too well aware of legacy constraints that impact their ability to respond to market or competitive changes. 

Even the companies that can provide informed metrics on speed can typically only provide the time benchmarked from when the new product definition was scheduled by the IT department. This does not take into account all the work conducted in marketing, compliance, operations, and product development prior to the IT department receiving their schedule of work. 

 

However, those businesses that have focused on improving speed to market, have ascertained that the ideation and development stages of the product development cycle are typically as long as, or even longer than, the timeframe required for actually programming the legacy environments. 

 

Surprisingly, this ideation stage is typically loosely managed, without formal processes. In most cases there’s no workflow even though it includes many interaction points between marketing, compliance, product development, sales, operations, and IT.

 

 

Business Process Transformation

 

It doesn’t make sense that this part of the product development cycle is so loosely controlled. Especially when you consider how a project, once it’s active in the IT organization, falls under the project management organization and is tightly managed. There is comprehensive visibility through progress reports, timelines, and the ability to identify potential bottlenecks in deliverables and reallocate resources to improve delays and target dates. 


Repeatable and manageable process

 

To achieve optimal speed to market, it surely makes sense to apply the same degree of rigor to the early stages of the development process as it does to the later stages. 

And this means having a repeatable and manageable process with a centralized single source of the truth for existing product content. Add to this profile-restricted access to the  product change and creation process allowing for collaboration and access to a library of reusable forms, verbiage, and components, and you have streamlined efficiency. 

In all, this allows for product definition right down into reusable assets. In one deft move you can simplify the components of the product portfolio while providing greater flexibility to differentiate the marketable offerings by channel and target customer. 

 

40% improvement

As a case in point, one of our customers has been able to transform their product development process using this approach. In just the first 12 months, the company improved the speed to market of new products by a staggering 40%. 

 

And while the company was delighted with this result, it was able to continue to improve the speed to market for the next two years.  All this was achieved through organizational, process, and workflow changes that centered on the use of a product agility factory. There were no expensive, time-consuming changes to their legacy administrative systems.

Interested in finding out more? Why not discover how SAP is helping insurance companies around the world turn organizational and workflow changes into significant competitive advantage. 

 

Look forward to your Thoughts. Please follow me on Twitter @Mike_Key.

 

 

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The ability to react quickly and cost effectively to consumer needs and market demands continue to define success in the insurance industry, particularly when it comes to product agility.


However, while product speed to market and flexibility may be the top priorities for all insurers, only a small proportion is actually getting it right. In a recent report from The Economist Intelligence Unit focused on changes to the Insurance Industry, when asked whether disruption was more
likely to occur in distribution, service or products, at least 30% of respondents saw the potential for disruption in each of the three areas. However, less than half (46%) believe their companies are “well prepared” for change, while nearly one in four see the industry as “well prepared” for pending disruption.


And the rate of change isn’t going to slow down any time soon. Indeed, an SAP survey of 200 insurance executives conducted earlier this
year at the IASA Annual Conference pinpointed three major factors driving this need for speed, namely:

       

  • Rising consumer expectations
  • Heightened regulatory demands
  • Availability of new technology


Customer experience


These days, consumers don’t set their expectations on what is a great customer experience by sizing up what your competitors are doing. They set their expectations on the very best experiences online. And more often than not, these exceptional experiences are delivered by customer-centric companies such as Amazon or Apple.  To even get close to delivering this kind of experience, a 360-degree view of both the customer and your products is critical.


Regulatory framework


Insurers must increasingly address more complex and converging regulatory issues which have created significant compliance and governance burdens.   These new requirements call for actionable information from integrated, real time transactional information analytics.
Operational data that is trapped in legacy core systems needs to be accessible alongside financial information that is currently layered deep in data warehouses. 


New technology


Technology is critical to success. Insurance companies must effectively use technology to give customers more of what they want. Major opportunities will arise for insurers that embrace the Internet of Things to create more compelling customer offers. Those that don’t will face significant risks, as customers jump ship and find products that are better suited to their needs and lifestyles.


Innovation is key


Of course, to embrace a customer-centric way of business, to adapt to the regulatory framework and to embrace new technology, innovation is critical. More often than not, taking a legacy approach will simply constrain your ability for speed and flexibility.  One innovative way to propel your organization forward is to use technology as an enabler to product flexibility. You take a building block approach to product construction where reuse is a central tenant.  By developing a comprehensive view of product functionality, you separate product from policy, billing, and claims systems. This gives you the freedom to focus on the configuration of reusable components by the business, as opposed to programming by more expensive, backlogged developers.


Business transformation is essential


Many of our  customers have scrutinized legacy product development cycles and have discovered that the elapsed time prior to engaging the IT department in product development can be as long as the actual implementation cycle in IT.  When speed is of the essence, it’s clear that this approach is not going to drive business success.


However, with a realigned workflow centered on a holistic view of product lifecycles, you are better able to document and refine process metrics.  A single source of the product truth for product development, compliance, sales, finance, operations and IT is a critical step in the alignment of people, processes, and technology to enable change.


SAP Customers

Embracing innovation and business transformation, I’m happy to say that SAP customers have experienced a 30 – 60% improvement in product speed to market with both product introduction and change. Some of our customers have benefited from implementing an agile, iterative product approach to new market offerings.  While others have orchestrated product agility as a key to their legacy modernization framework, showing early and repetitive wins. 


Either way, SAP customers have been able to focus strategies on product agility, leveraging technology innovation to drive simplicity in process - and positive organizational change.

 

Strategic competitive advantage


While these organizations have employed these approaches to successfully convert the speed-to-market constraint into strategic competitive advantage, the business and technical architectural foundation is not one that can be developed overnight. 


At SAP we have been crafting a focused product agility module for insurance carriers through two releases a year over the last 10 years.  Through this, customers on multiple continents, are experiencing agility in all lines of business including P&C (Personal and Commercial), Health and Life products have experienced improved speed and quality.

 

Our experience has shown that the way to gain this competitive advantage is to identify the challenge and focus on it as part of your near- and long-term plans; choose a partner that has successfully demonstrated success in the industry; lead with technology and then execute, execute, and execute. 

 

 

Find out more about what SAP is doing to turn insurance industry challenges into competitive advantage for our customers. 

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