Activating Business Functions in SAP ERP can be a challenging task. Since the effects are often irreversible, it is very important for SAP consultants to understand what a Business Function is, what it does and how to handle the activation of business functions.
What is a Business Function in SAP ERP?
Let’s first discuss what Business Functions actually are. Since the introduction of Enhancement Packages (EHPs), SAP has been delivering incremental packages of functionality to its customers. Most of this functionality is not immediately active, but can be activated by the customers instead. This gives SAP’s ERP customers the possibility to choose which changes they want to implement at which point in time.
These incremental packages of functionality are called Business Functions. SAP usually ships several hundred business functions with each Enhancement Package (EHP). If you want to activate a Business Function but cannot find it, the cause is usually that you don’t have the EHP it comes with installed in your system. To check that, you can open System -> Status and check the Component Version field.
By the way: According to a study done by SAP consulting company Panaya, he most-used business function of them all is the “New GL” – the new General Ledger in the Financials Module.
How to Activate a SAP Business Function
ATTENTION: This can be potentially damaging to your SAP system. We do not accept any liability for damage caused by actions described here. Make sure you know what you are doing when activating a Business Function in SAP, and never try it out directly in Production.
Let’s have a look at how to actually perform the task of activating a SAP Business Function. There are two ways to get where you want to go:
- Either you can use transaction SWF5 (“SWF” stands for the “Switch Framework” in SAP)
- Or you can go into customizing (SPRO) and select the path Activate Business Functions.
Only business functions for which you have implemented the EHPs (component version) are available here.
If you are doing this in a Production SAP system, make sure the system is locked for all other users and all batch jobs are disabled. You will need the SAP_ALL authorization to activate business functions. Now:
- Find the business function you want to activate in the list.
- Check the “Planned State” checkbox in the corresponding row.
- Click Activate Changes.
The system will now start a batch job to activate the business function. This can take between 10 minutes and 2 hours to complete. You can check on the completion via transaction SM37.
Once the job has completed, the Business Function is activate and the functionality it contains is available. If you are in a Production SAP system, you can now reactivate the system for the users and enable batch jobs again.
Pitfalls and Caveats When Activating Business Functions
The most important thing to know about Business Functions is something I’ve said before: Most Business Functions cause irreversible changes to your system. If you choose to activate a business function, you should make sure you’ve read up on it thoroughly and know the exact effects it causes.
There are a few reversible business functions (they are marked with a double arrow in transaction SWF5) but even they can not be reversed in a Production system, so this is nothing you should play around with. Make sure to read and implement all SAP notes related to a business function. Failure to implement these notes can cause unexpected results and dumps.
Make sure that you have adjusted code that expects standard functionality to work a certain way. Keep in mind to also check batch input jobs and other customized functionality. Make sure to check cloned SAP programs and update them if necessary. And finally: Make sure to test thoroughly.
If Something Went Wrong: How To Deactivate SAP Business Functions
Deactivating Business Functions should be the last resort in case something went wrong, and is only possible in development and test systems. Reversible SAP Business Functions are marked with the “<–>” arrow in SWF5. In a test or development system, a Business Function can be deactivated by unchecking the Planned State checkbox and choosing “Activate”.
Hopefully, this blog post gives you a good overview about what Business Functions are and how to work with them.