The CIF 101

(By Claudio Gonzalez)

We recently delivered a webinar on CIF implementation and tools for troubleshooting. For those of you that are new to the CIF concept, here is some preliminary information to get us up to speed.

The SAP APO Core Interface (CIF) is a standardized interface solution that enables data exchange between APO and R/3 (ECC) systems. Only those data objects that are relevant for starting/designing the planning processes in APO must be transferred from R/3 (ECC). In addition to initial data transfer, CIF guarantees an incremental supply of relevant data changes to APO. The CIF is an add-on to the R/3 system that is installed using the relevant R/3 Plug-In.

SAP ERP Central Component 6.0 (SAP ECC 6.00) and later releases will directly contain all the interfaces necessary for the technical integration with other SAP components. These interfaces were previously part of the SAP R/3 Plug-In.

The SAP APO CIF uses queued remote function calls (qRFCs) provided by SAP Technology to ensure the desired sequence and transactional security of data transmissions between SAP ECC and SAP APO. With qRFCs, asynchronous data transfers between SAP APO and SAP ECC are established, thus enabling business process steps to be finished in either one of the systems, without the need to wait until the data is actually transferred to the other system(s).

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SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization (APO) is the planning component of mySAP SCM, the Supply Chain Management solution provided by SAP. SAP APO is used to make strategic, tactical, and operational decisions and supports you in performing the following planning activities:

  • Demand Planning (DP)
  • Supply Network Planning (SNP)
  • Production Planning (PP)
  • Detailed Scheduling (DS)
  • Deployment
  • Transport Load Builder (TLB)
  • Transport Planning and Vehicle Scheduling (TP/VS)
  • Global Available-to-Promise (gATP)

SAP APO is primarily a planning tool, although some industry-specific execution functions are available (such as production backflush for repetitive manufacturing). In standard business scenarios, execution functions, such as confirmations, goods receipt, and purchasing, are performed in the SAP ECC OLTP system, which contains all the business functions for Material Management (MM), Sales and Distribution (SD), Production Order Processing (PP-SFC), Process Order processing (PP-PI), Logistics Execution (LES), Controlling (CO), and more.

The online transaction processing (OLTP) system – provided by SAP ECC – also provides relevant planning data (master data and transaction data) for the APO system. Products are planned in the APO system, and the planning results are transferred back to the OLTP system. If necessary, the planning can be completed in the OLTP system, for example, if not all components of a BOM structure are planned in the APO system. These planning results completed in SAP ECC can then be transferred to the SAP APO system again if necessary.

With the CIF, the planning results from the various SAP APO planning functions (manual interactive planning, heuristics, optimizers) can be sent to the SAP ECC system directly or periodically. With periodic data transfer from SAP APO to SAP ECC, the data changes are collected in SAP APO and sent to SAP ECC at a specific time, for example, with an overnight background job.

For more information, watch the on-demand recording: The Core Interface: Key Understandings: Implementation to Troubleshooting.

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