SAP COPA Dynamic Reporting
Many of the modules in the SAP system now have their own information system. This includes, embedded in at least the standard reports, Report Painter or Report Writer reports that provide the information of the respective module.
I deliberately refer to more than just the CO module here. For example, there are also separate information systems in Logistics modules — including the Customer Service or Project System modules.
CO-PA also has an information system — but no standard reports. The CO-PA information system is dynamic. You can create your own profitability reports at any time. Why are there no standard reports? As you learned in structures of SAP, in CO-PA you define your own value fields and characteristics. You want to map your own individual contribution margin structure — why would you need predefined standards? You want to evaluate your data set according to the characteristics you define and thus create a multidimensional information system — how would a standard report recognizes your characteristics? Therefore, you define your own multidimensional profitability reports. In these reports, you navigate between detail lists and drill down lists, from which you can navigate to the CO-PA line items and from there to the original modules in which the data arose. Using the drill down function, you can navigate through all characteristics that you have assigned to your profitability report, from the highest customer hierarchy through all further customer hierarchy levels down to the customers. You have access to the classic functions for interactive processing: for example, sorting options, top N functions, ABC analyses, and much more. You can create a plan/actual comparison reports, fiscal year comparisons, or individual reports that perhaps consider only one special value field. You can also download your data to Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet programs for all or selected characteristics that you have assigned in the report.
But that’s enough praise for the reporting in CO-PA. It almost sounds like an SAP marketing brochure. At this point, however, I must point out that the CO-PA reports are only useful as a pure management information system to a limited extent. Many companies transport the data created and collected in CO-PA to other management information systems via interfaces. With SAP BW, SAP itself offers this type of additional system in which you can use, for example, management cockpits to not only supply your management with the data required for controlling the company, but also to spoil them with, for example, easy to use graphical interfaces. This latter luxury is only available in the CO-PA information system in a limited form (consider the possibility to display diagrams); it does however offer controllers who want to work seriously with its numerous and dynamic options.
The profitability reports that are described below are drill down reports. They allow you to toggle between the characteristics presented once you have executed the report. This makes drill down reports easier to handle than, for example, Report Painter reports that you may know from other CO sub modules.
To get as far as being able to create your own profitability report, however, you need modules that need a profitability report. This type of module is called a report component and is described in the next section.
Information System Components
The information system lets you use the drill down reporting tool for analyzing your profitability data. The data available in Profitability Analysis (CO-PA) can be processed individually and analyzed according to any desired view. The reports are defined in modular fashion, this is to say, the individual elements of each report are defined independently of one another in CO-PA and can be linked in any combination in different reports.
If you want or have to create profitability reports in CO-PA because, as described in the previous section, there are no standard reports in CO-PA, you need report components that you also have to create in advance.
You need the following report components:
- Key figure scheme
- Reporting variable
- Profitability report form
Firstly, I recommend that you create a key figure scheme by defining your contribution margin structure. This saves you having to constantly repeat the contribution margin structure in every report form.
Secondly, I recommend creating separate variables for the characteristics that you want to use to evaluate and select your data. This enables you to call up individual characteristic values or intervals when you call up reports. If you also define these variables as selection options, you can call up individual characteristic values, characteristic value intervals, or multiple selections for different characteristic values, similar to the situation that you already know from other selection screens in the SAP system.
As a third reporting component, I recommend the forms for profitability reports. You will not need all of the forms, only the form for the two axes (matrix) structure.
The following reports are examples of traditional reports:
- Object list, displaying the key figures of all values for a characteristic, such as the numbers of all sales areas in one country.
- Contribution margin report for a market segment
- Comparison of contribution margin accounting for several market segments
- Ranking list report
This type of profitability report form enables you to establish a basis for a profitability report that provides the advantages mentioned in the previous section. The form should be viewed similar to a Report Painter form, the difference being that in contrast to other SAP information systems, you do not navigate to individual classic sets (infosets, single set, etc.). Your “sets” are the characteristics and value fields that you define in your operating concern.
A CO-PA form consists of three main parts:
- General selections
In the lines, you define your contribution margin structure. Here you can also access the elements of the key figure scheme that you have created previously. You use the columns to select whether you want to see actual or planning data, or whether you only want to present specific data that has been incorporated in CO-PA via a specific record type (e.g., A, then you only see your incoming sales orders). In the general selections, you can define the characteristics that you want to use for navigation in the subsequent report. Wherever you decide to specify a characteristic, it is advisable to work with the previously defined variables so that you only select the characteristic when you call up the report or not at all, and can create the report flexibly. In the next sections, let us use an example to show how you can create the report components that have been described.