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The Agency Business ES bundle service-enables the Agency Business functionality of SAP ERP, allowing companies (financial agents) that routinely handle complex and high volume financial settlement scenarios to aggregate individual invoices in an automated process, saving both time and money. This ES bundle also provides a way to extend the Agency Business functionality to smaller vendors, allowing them to automate these processes without going through a costly and time-consuming integration.

Generally a vendor sends its individual invoices for products delivered to a wholesale distributor that is also acting as the financial agent between the vendor and its customers. These invoices are automatically mapped to Agency Business invoices where they are bundled into a single invoice for each of the vendor's customers.

As such, the Agency Business functionality of SAP ERP allows vendors to send a relatively small amount of data (price, product, and amount, for example) and this data is received by the SAP system where the information required to complete the invoice is added. This in turn creates an Agency Business invoice that can then be aggregated. These bundled invoices are linked to the individual invoices.

Using this ES bundle in conjunction with SAP NetWeaver Process Integration, vendors can easily enter information using their relative systems and that data is mapped to the Agency Business fields and sent via the enterprise services of this ES bundle. Further, as a company expands its number of business partners, these enterprise services can easily be reused.

Agency Business (click to enlarge)


This ES bundle addresses two business scenarios. The first occurs when a company acts as an agent as part of a business model or for a company seeking to simplify an internal process. For example, in the first scenario a wholesale distributor is acting as the agent for a set of vendors and related customers necessitating the management of numerous financial transactions that involve periodic invoicing and settlement between them. The Agency Business bundle allows the wholesale distributor to bundle the vendor's invoices by customer.
The second scenario relates to large retail companies with centralized warehousing used to support a number of sales facilities. In this scenario the warehouse receives products from numerous vendors that are then forwarded on to a number of retail outlets. The Agency Business ES bundle allows the parent company to bundle invoices from multiple vendors by store location.

Therefore, the Agency Business ES bundle smoothes what had once been a complicated and cumbersome process and allows smaller business partners to participate in exchanging data electronically by reducing the cost and complexity of the integration.

Audience

The Agency Business ES bundle can be used across industries, but is primarily targeted at wholesale distributors, cooperatives, and franchisers acting as financial agents between vendors and customers.
Further, since this bundle service-enables SAP's Agency Business component, it is intended to be used by those companies already using Agency Business.
The role that will primarily benefit from this bundle is the invoice clerk.

For details on Service Operations, Business Objects and Process Components, please check the ES Workplace.


How to Use This ES Bundle

The Agency Business ES bundle provides business-to-business enterprise services that allow a wholesale distributor, cooperative, or franchiser to receive information related to an individual invoice from a vendor, confirm the receipt of that data, and then create and aggregate individual invoices into a single invoice for each of the vendor's customers for periodic settlement.

By automating the invoice and settlement process, SAP customers will lower their total cost of ownership making it possible for smaller business partners to participate in the collaborative business process of electronic invoice exchange. This bundle will also enable relevant companies to reduce the complexity of managing the receipt of invoices from vendors and subsequent transfer to the vendor's customer making for a more profitable business model.

The following sections explore use cases for the Agency Business ES bundle. Each is intended to provide concrete examples for the types of functions the bundle supports and to impart a clearer understanding of how they can be deployed in the customer's business environment. This wiki is also the space for readers to share knowledge and collaborate with other who are implementing the Agency Business ES bundle.

Use Case 1: Creating a Supplier Invoice

In this use case a vendor creates a new invoice and sends it to the wholesale distributor where it is mapped to an Agency Business invoice and bundled.

Receiving this data from the vendor triggers the Create Supplier Invoice enterprise service operation, which enables continued processing in the Agency Business application to occur (filling in remaining fields, aggregation, and etc.).

Creating this supplier invoice in turn invokes an asynchronous message confirming the receipt of the information by the wholesale distributor's system. This confirmation message is sent back to the vendor's system using the
Confirm Supplier Invoice enterprise service operation.

The following table summarizes these steps and the associated enterprise services:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: The vendor sends invoice information, which is received by the wholesale distributor's system, which is running SAP's Agency Business component

Create Supplier Invoice

Step 2: The information is mapped to an Agency Business invoice and further processing occurs

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 3: A confirmation is sent to the vendor

Confirm Supplier Invoice

Use Case 2: Changing or Canceling a Supplier Invoice

In this scenario, a vendor needs to amend or cancel a particular invoice.

To amend an invoice, the vendor sends the pertinent information to the wholesale distributor's system, which invokes the Create Supplier Invoice enterprise service, including information about the changes being requested to an earlier invoice.

Further processing occurs in the Agency Business application and a confirmation message is sent, which invokes the Confirm Supplier Invoice enterprise service.

Canceling an invoice is similar. To cancel an invoice, the relevant information is received by the wholesale distributor's system, which invokes the Cancel Supplier Invoice enterprise service. A confirmation message is also sent using the Confirm Supplier Invoice enterprise service.

The following table summarizes these steps and the associated enterprise services:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: Vendor sends information to change or cancel an invoice

Create Supplier Invoice or Cancel Supplier Invoice

Step 2: Further processing occurs in the Agency Business application

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 3: A confirmation message is sent to the vendor's system

Confirm Supplier Invoice

Use Case 3: Canceling a Supplier Invoice

Cancelling a supplier invoice is a bit more complicated, since the invoice might be at different stages of processing when it was cancelled. There are three possibilities:

  1. The invoice has already been posted to FI, but not yet paid
  2. The invoice has not yet been posted to FI and, of course, no payment has been made
  3. The invoice has already been posted to FI and the payment has already been received

Cancelling When the Invoice Has Been Posted, But Not Paid
In this case, a vendor needs to cancel an invoice that has already been posted in FI. This cancellation is handled in an interesting way: by invoking the Create Supplier Invoice enterprise service operation using a special flag to indicate that the invoice is being cancelled: CancellationInvoiceIndicator. The items in this invoice cancellation message must correspond to the items in the original invoice.

Further processing occurs in the Agency Business application and a confirmation message is sent back to the vendor using the Confirm Supplier Invoice enterprise service.

The following table summarizes these steps and the associated enterprise services:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: Vendor sends information to cancel an invoice

Create Supplier Invoice, with CancellationInvoiceIndicator flag

Step 2: Further processing occurs in the Agency Business application

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 3: A confirmation message is sent to the vendor's system

Confirm Supplier Invoice

Cancelling When the Invoice Not Been Posted or Paid
If an invoice has not yet been posted in the backend system (and as a result, not yet paid), the invoice is simply posted to the backend system and set to "Completed" to indicate that no further processing is needed. First, the supplier invokes the Cancel Supplier Invoice enterprise service operation, which indicates that the unprocessed invoice should be set to completed. The backend system replies with Confirm Invoice Cancellation.

The following table summarizes these steps and the associated enterprise services:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: Vendor sends information to cancel an invoice

Cancel Supplier Invoice

Step 2: Further processing occurs in the Agency Business application

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 3: A confirmation message is sent to the vendor's system

Confirm Invoice Cancellation

Cancelling When the Invoice Has Been Posted and Paid
The most complicated case is if the invoice has already been posted to the backend system and payment has already been processed.

The supplier attempts to cancel the invoice by invoking the Create Supplier Invoice service operation with the CancellationInvoiceIndicator flag. Agency Business responds with Confirm Invoice, but with a special message to indicate that the invoice has already been posted and paid. This message indicates that the invoice must be resent, this time with a type code that indicates a credit memo is being issued. The supplier then sends Create Supplier Invoice with a type code that indicates it is a debit memo. The system replies with Confirm Invoice, indicating that the credit memo will be processed by Agency Business.

The following table summarizes these steps and the associated enterprise services:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: Vendor sends a message to cancel an invoice

Create Supplier Invoice, with CancellationInvoiceIndicator flag

Step 2: Agency Business responds with message that the invoice has been posted and paid; a credit memo must be sent

Confirm Invoice

Step 3: Vendor resends the invoice with a type code of credit memo

Create Supplier Invoice

Step 4: Agency Business replies with a confirmation

Confirm Invoice

Future Directions

In the future, the Agency Business ES bundle may be enhanced to include the following:

Customer invoice services - As the bundle currently receives and aggregates invoices by customer for vendors, it will send those aggregated Agency Business invoices to customers, meaning customers will receive one invoice per vendor.
Services for handling complaints - Should the invoice that is received by a customer be incorrect for any reason or in dispute, the customer could create a complaint with the relevant information and send it. The Agency Business application will receive the complaint and map it to the correct invoice and vendor.
Bulk services - Currently each vendor sends one invoice at a time. In the future, this ES bundle may be enhanced to enable bulk delivery and receipt of invoices.

System Requirements

SOA Homepage on SDN]

Wholesale Distribution Blogs on SDN
SAP online help for Agency Business