In conjunction with related composite applications, the Subscription Management ES bundle service-enables SAP for Media Subscription Management (IS-M/SD) so that subscribers of newspapers and magazines can now manage their subscription benefits over the Internet via direct business-to-customer (B2C) self-service.
Composite applications developed using the enterprise services in this bundle can allow new and existing customers to create, modify, cancel, suspend, postpone, and redirect subscriptions and delivery of publications without recourse to interaction with representatives from customer service centers.
New customers who wish to subscribe to a newspaper or magazine via the web portal of a publisher deploying the Subscription Management ES bundle may create a subscription order, provide business partner details such as name, contact, and billing information, evaluate delivery terms, and then post the order for it. Should they wish to do so, customers who order subscriptions to two or more publications can combine them into a single order. In addition, if the publication offers a choice of incentive gifts to those customers who subscribe to the publication under specified conditions, such as minimum term of subscription or number of publications subscribed to in a given period, customers can select these when placing the subscription order.
Existing subscribers whose master data is already available may also place new subscriptions with a publisher using the aforementioned methods. At their discretion, they can add new details or delete or modify any existing details in their business partner profile or in the order for the subscription itself. The Subscription Management ES bundle also enables customers to cancel subscriptions whenever they wish.
Subscription Management (click to enlarge)
For a variety of reasons, customers may not want their publications delivered during times when they are away for extended periods, whether on business or for vacation. The Subscription Management ES bundle provides such customers with the ability to arrange for a number of delivery alternatives. Customers who do not want their publication at all, either during their absence or after they have returned, can completely suspend its delivery until the date of their choice. Finally, customers who want their publications sent to an alternate address during their absence, to a second home, for instance, or to a charity institution such as a library or school, can specify the period during which they want the delivery redirected, along with the alternate address and delivery details.
The target market for the Subscription Management ES bundle is publishers of magazines, newspapers, and other subscription-based periodicals.
The services in this ES bundle are designed for customer self-service, though they could also be deployed for use by customer service representatives or sales personnel.
For details on Service Operations, Business Objects and Process Components, please check the ES Workplace.
How To Use This ES Bundle
In the past, subscription orders, changes, and cancellations have often been handled by mail or telephone call centers. With the introduction of the Subscription Management ES bundle's user-friendly B2C functionality, customers can subscribe to specific publications by themselves, without assistance from service representatives. As a result, publishers will be able to minimize the workload of their call centers and provide timely information and services, not to mention selling more subscriptions since the self-service functionality is available even when call centers are closed.
To date, if publishers offered web interfaces to SAP ERP, these interfaces depended on an older style of interaction called Internet application components (IACs). These IACs require custom integration, and any upgrades to ERP requires modifications to these IACs. Furthermore, the interface to IACs is relatively rigid. For these reasons, SAP chose a standards-based approach, service-enabling functionality in IS-M/SD using the enterprise services in this ES bundle.
This ES bundle features a transformed business object for maximum efficiency in accessing relevant data for this business process. The Business Partner Sales Account business object includes relevant elements of the following business objects:
Using the services in this ES bundle, customers wishing to subscribe to a newspaper or magazine via a publisher's web portal can navigate to the site's appropriate page, browse through the selection of publications that are available for subscriptions, and then choose one or more among them.
Many publishers offer new customers various subscription incentives whose value frequently increases with the subscription commitment. Depending on a given publisher's needs and flexibility, for instance, customers who subscribe to two magazines and a newspaper from the same publisher may be eligible for substantial discounts, Internet access to their publications, or creature comforts such as coffee makers or digital cameras. This ES bundle offers services to help encourage customers to take advantage of such offers and commit to longer subscription terms or multiple subscriptions.
Using the services in the ES bundle, customers can set up accounts, including payment information, and order their subscriptions. Usernames and passwords, the typical authentication for web portals, are delegated to the composite application; services for authentication are not part of this ES bundle.
Once they have established their accounts, customers can log on to the web site and modify or cancel their subscriptions. They can also change payment methods, addresses, and other details.
Oftentimes customers do not want their publication delivered when they are absent for extended periods. The Subscription Management ES bundle provides such customers with the ability to arrange for a number of delivery alternatives. Customers who do not want their publication at all, either during their absence or after they have returned, can completely suspend its delivery until the date of their choice. Alternatively, customers can postpone delivery so they do not receive any of the issues published during their absence.
Customers can also either redirect issues to a vacation or business address or donate them to institutions such as schools or public libraries.
This section will explore a series of use cases for the Subscription Management ES bundle. Each use case will show how different outcomes can be achieved by using the enterprise services in different combinations. While these examples illustrate a few of the ways that this ES bundle could be used, the intention is to show the flexibility and reusability of these business objects and enterprise service operations so that you will have a clearer understanding of how to best deploy them in your own environment. This wiki is also a space for you to share knowledge and collaborate with others who are implementing the Subscription Management ES bundle.
Use Case 1: A New Customer Orders a Subscription
A new customer has entered a publisher's web site intending to subscribe to the daily newspaper. After finding the subscription page, the page offers several levels of subscriptions, each of which has a special reward attached. For example, the customer selects a daily subscription of a certain duration (one year, in this case), and that level of subscription comes with a free coffeemaker as a reward for new customers. The customer selects a publication and a reward, which triggers the Find Offer Basic Data by Elements service operation, which uses the Media Subscription Offer business object.
The next step is to enter business partner information, such as his name, address, phone number, and email address. The customer also creates an account with username and password. The username will be tied to the business partner information, but the password, and the authentication process itself, is delegated to the web portal; the services in this ES bundle do not handle authentication.
Earlier the customer specified that he would like the paper delivered daily; if there were additional options such as early edition, morning edition or afternoon edition, he could further refine the choices. The system then uses this information to invoke the Find Allowed Delivery Terms by Elements service operation, which uses the Media Subscription Order business object in order to determine which delivery method is to be used when creating the order. Now the next step is to pay for the subscription.
The customer can pay for the subscription either by direct debit from a bank account or by credit card. If he chooses to pay by direct debit, he enters his banking information. If he decides to pay with a credit card, he enters that information. Having settled the payment details, the next step is to see if all the information is complete and consistent for creating a new business partner. The Check Business Partner Sales Account Creation service operation performs this check, which uses the transformed business object, Business Partner Sales Account.
Finalizing the order invokes Create Business Partner Sales Account, which returns a business partner ID that is used as input to the Create Order service operation, which uses the Media Subscription Order business object. Upon completing the order, the customer receives a confirmation and can sit back with satisfaction, anticipating how pleasant it will be to start the day with a newspaper delivered to his door and coffee from the new coffee maker.
Use Case 2: An Established Customer Orders a Subscription
The customer from the previous use case now wants to subscribe to an additional magazine. To begin, he logs on to the portal, entering his user name and password. Since the business partner ID is tied to the username, the composite application invokes the Read Business Partner Sales Account service operation, which uses the Business Partner Sales Account business object.
Once the customer's business partner data has been accessed, he can proceed directly to ordering his new subscription. Selecting the magazine to which he wants to subscribe triggers the Find Offer Basic Data by Elements service operation, which uses the Media Subscription Offer business object.
This service returns the offers and any rewards or incentives associated with those offers. The customer selects an offer, a two-year subscription that comes with a digital camera. He is then presented with the current address data that the backend system has for him, which he confirms, invoking Find Allowed Delivery Terms by Elements service operation. This service uses the Media Subscription Order business object. At this point, the customer can select any delivery terms that might be offered and view the quoted cost of the subscription.
The next step is to confirm the payment terms. He is using a different credit card than the one he used to place his previous order, so the only aspect of this order that he needs to modify is his credit card data. The Update Business Partner Sales Account service operation is invoked, which updates his customer profile with the new payment information.
The customer is finally ready to post the order for the subscription. Doing so triggers the Create Order service operation, which uses the Media Subscription Order business object. As ever, upon completing his order, the customer will receive a confirmation notification.
Use Case 3: A Customer Suspends a Subscription
The customer who subscribed to the local city newspaper in the first use case is leaving for two weeks and does not want his papers to create an unsightly pile on his front porch in the interim. To begin the process of suspending his subscription, he must first log on to the publisher's web site. His ID is used to trigger the Read Business Partner Sales Account service operation, which uses the Business Partner Sales Account business object.
Once he is securely logged on, the composite invokes Find Order Item Basic Data by Elements (Media Subscription Order Business Object) to display a list of the customer's current subscriptions. The customer selects the daily paper from the list, which invokes the Read Order service operation, which uses the Media Subscription Order business object. There are several choices he could make regarding his subscription, as we will see in later use cases, but in this case, the customer chooses to suspend his subscription while he's gone. In the next step, the customer enters the starting date for the subscription suspension as well as the date when he would like to have the paper delivered again. Entering this information triggers the Check Order Item Suspension service operation, which uses the Media Subscription Order business object, and verifies whether the suspension is possible (that is, the dates are in accordance with the parameters around suspension notification; it may be too late, for example, to stop delivery of the morning paper at midnight the night before). When he posts the suspension, the Suspend Order Item service operation will be invoked and a confirmation notification generated, reiterating that his subscription will be suspended for the period he requested.
Use Case 4: A Customer Donates Part of a Subscription to an Institution
Because the third magazine the customer subscribes to deals with current events, he has decided to donate the issues published during his absence to an institution specified by the publisher. Still logged on to the web portal, he selects a button to view his subscriptions and selects the current events magazine, which is published weekly. Selecting the magazine invokes the Read Order service operation, which uses the Media Subscription Order business object. In the next step, the customer enters the details of his subscription transfer to institution, including the beginning of the period and its end. The posting of the donation then moves forward with the invocation of the Transfer to Institution Order Item enterprise service operation. The user receives a confirmation of the transfer for the period selected.
- SAP ERP 6.0 and
- SAP enhancement package 3 for SAP ERP 6.0 or
- SAP enhancement package 4 for SAP ERP 6.0