Sometimes, when we talk about payments, about the way that we handle our money, through credit cards, paypal, wire transfers, even cash, it seems that, checks are a payment form that is something from the past, mmm, no, not really.
Some months ago, I was working for this financial company, basically they issue a lot -dozens to hundreds, of payment checks on a daily basis, to pay out to different parties. My customer has deals with several banks to handle those payments, involving several processes and corresponding payment check information exchange with those partners.
One of those processes is “Positive Pay”, an agreement with banks, to diminish risk about check fraud. My customer has to extract checks info from their systems and create files to be exchanged with Banks, in order to protect payment checks.
The customer used different tools to conform files, SAP Z* transactions, MS Excel, Visual Basic programs, in a way to handle different layouts according to each bank, and sometimes, specific layouts for different bank accounts.
This myriad of tools, programs and hacks, drives a lot headaches to Treasury and IT teams, even for most easiest layout changes that Banks ask for.
Is there a way to handle Positive Pay Process into SAP under these circumstances?
As you may know, SAP offers an standard transaction to extract check information, it’s FCHX, well, problem is that, this transaction cannot handle different layout requirements like, aggregation (qty of checks processed, sum of all checks within file, etc), mapping (not all banks handle ISO currency codes, sounds familiar?), replacing special chars (because ASCII codepages define, Ñ, ñ, á, é, and so for, as “special chars”), “standard” date format (heck, almost each IT team -or programmer, likes to define their own format for dates: YYYYMMDD, YYYY-MM-DD, YYYY/MM/DD, DDMMYY, …ad infinitum)
Well, SAP offers a functionality that manage all -almost, complexity described before, Data Medium Exchange Engine, or DMEE.
DMEE, is a functionality that will be a replacement for RFFO* programs, as output media generator for payment runs. Basically DMEE, creates complex layout structures for plain and XML files and it is connected to payment runs database, to grab information and generate files.
Now, it seems easy to solve business requirement, merging FCHX and DMEE functionalities, SAP may build complex check information files, in a flexible and affordable way, to respond quickly to market changes.
I spent a week digging into DMEE functions, analyzing code, prototyping. Afterwards, I was able to write a Spec. It took, to the abap developer, a week to create a ZFCHX transaction based on FCHX and merging DMEE functionality. Meanwhile, I was creating DMEE layouts.
Now, my customer, has a single transaction that creates 16 different layouts, with a short time-to-live, for –almost, any possible change request derived from market.
So, once that you got a good blueprint, it’s a matter to look for patterns, apply the proper ones and design with a mindset that SAP is a business platform and not a development platform -well, just a little bit, you are enable to deliver value to your customer.
Function Module FI_REF_DOCUMENT_FILL
Function Module FI_PAYM_DATA_SINGLE_SELECT
Function Module FI_PAYM_FILL_FPAYHX
Function Module FI_REF_DOCUMENT_INTERPRET
Function Module DMEE_START
Function Module DMEE_PUT_ITEM
Function Module DMEE_END