SAP BRF+ - Implement business rules easily in ABAP
With the SAP Business Rule Framework plus (SAP BRF+), complex business rules can be accommodated in SAP - and without specific IT know-how. Learn more about this approach here.
What is BRF+?
SAP BRF+ (sometimes also spelled BRFplus) is a framework from SAP. With this solution, companies can map and manage business rules in SAP applications even without programming knowledge.
This means less effort and complexity. Business users no longer need a specialist from SAP development to import or change business logic. Communication and understanding problems between IT and the business department can thus be significantly reduced.
Who is BRF+ suitable for?
SAP BRFplus is aimed primarily at experienced business users (key users), but also at business experts and developers. Since these user types have different requirements, the BRFplus workbench can be customized (simple mode vs. expert mode).
What are the application areas for BRF+?
Agility in processes is increasingly becoming a competitive factor. However, companies can only achieve agility in processes through modern rules technologies and automation solutions.
This is exactly where the SAP Business Rule Framework plus comes in. It enables departments to quickly adapt their standardized business processes to changing conditions. There are various areas of application for this:
- Validate data, identify erroneous data
- Evaluate risks
- Calculate commissions, costs and conditions
- Mapping roles and decision paths in release workflows
- Realize country-specific cost calculations
- Align locations, products and responsibilities
- Mass changes to business rules are also possible. For this purpose, the system offers the convenient function of Excel downloads and uploads.
Application example for BRFplus
Some concrete use cases for BRFplus are as follows:
- Assign roles in a release workflow for purchase orders based on value limits.
- Checking user entries during order entry for correctness based on complex rules
- Notify specific users of incoming customer complaints by e-mail
- Automatically create material master data (or parts of it) based on rules
- Check applications from customers in the banking business for validity
- Derive discount based on various parameters (for example, combination of customer group, product and purchase date)
How is SAP BRF+ structured?
SAP BRF+ is essentially made up of three modules:
- Workbench (WebDynpro)
- Rules Processor
- Rules Repository
- Application: In BRF+, applications are containers for objects that define individual business rules. The application layer is a kind of superordinate instance whose default values are inherited by all assigned objects.
- Function: In BRF+, a function stands for a bridge between BRF+ rules and the business application. Thus, a function accepts all inputs made in the application and then processes them according to the rule available in BRF+. Afterwards it returns the result to the application.
The Workbench is the user interface where users can define and map business rules. It has a direct connection to the SAP backend. Users can thus also access existing function modules and the data dictionary. Another advantage of the Workbench is that it enables functional testing of defined rules.
The Rules Processor is a back-end component. It is responsible for executing business rules. Each rule can be broken down into several substeps and then stored in so-called traces. This makes it easier to understand how the rules work.
The Rules Repository is also located in the back end. It has the function of a collection point for all defined objects in BRFplus (see next section). Business rules are also stored here in decision trees, decision tables and formulas.
Basics and most important objects
To commit a new business rule, users must first create an application in BRF+ and then create a function. From a technical point of view, these terms are defined as follows:
Furthermore, each data object in BRFplus can contain expressions (for example, decision tree or decision table), records, and actions (for example, start workflow). These three building blocks can be connected with functions and control the behavior of the created application under different conditions.
BRF+ vs. ABAP
The answer to the question whether BRFplus or ABAP programming is to be preferred depends on the individual scenario. For example, the implementation of business logic with ABAP is obviously only suitable for developers who have mastered the programming language.
BRFplus, on the other hand, can also be used without ABAP programming knowledge, because in this case users are supported by graphical interfaces. BRFplus then generates the relevant ABAP code automatically in the background.
Especially in scenarios where rules have to be complex and flexible, BRF+ shows its strengths. For simpler requirements (and if sufficient developer resources are available), however, ABAP programming is often the more effective option.
Required knowledge level for SAP BRFplus
SAP BRF+ can basically be learned by any user who is confident in working with SAP systems.
The essential basics of the framework (possible applications, structure of the framework, modeling of business rules) can already be taught in a one to two-day training course.
In practice, the target groups for such training courses are key users, developers with customizing tasks, administrators, and architecture consultants who develop rules.
Compatibility of SAP BRFplus
Since BRFplus is an ABAP-based framework, it is suitable for integration into any ABAP-based system environment - for example, as an extension to SAP Business Suite.
If, on the other hand, a system environment is primarily based on Java or if the introduction of a service-oriented architecture (SOA) is imminent, the use of SAP Business Rules Management (BRM) is to be favored.
SAP BRF+ vs. SAP NetWeaver Business Rules Management (BRM)
Both BRFplus and SAP BRM can meet all modern business rules management requirements.
Since many companies today use a mixed environment of Java and ABAP elements, BRFplus and BRM are designed to call each other. For example, it is possible to create rules in SAP BRM and use them via remote call in BRFplus. The reverse is also available.
Using BRFplus web services is recommended in SOA environments and in scenarios where most of the data to be processed is stored in an ABAP backend. BRFplus has advantages in these cases in terms of performance, sizing and Workbench availability.
SAP BRF+ in SAP S/4HANA
In the course of the implementation of SAP S/4HANA, the creation, output and distribution of documents was organized differently. While message control in SAP ECC was based on the NAST database table, output control in SAP S/4HANA can now also be solved with BRF+.
This significantly simplifies the management of business rules (condition determination). Not only is operation more convenient, the system also becomes more performant due to the reduction of log tables.
Moreover, if the message control is to be changed, no complex adaptation of the ABAP code is required anymore. SAP has thus also simplified maintenance.
Implementation of SAP BRF+
As of version 7.02, BRF+ is an official component of the SAP NetWeaver ABAP Application Server (AS). Therefore, no additional license costs are incurred for its use. Interfaces to SAP applications also do not have to be created.
SAP BRFplus: Summary of advantages and disadvantages
Overall, the biggest advantage of SAP BRFplus is the separation of business rules from the rest of the logic and other code.
This approach allows business departments to flexibly adapt volatile business rules within a short period of time. This is also true in complex rule scenarios. The central storage of rules also creates a high degree of consistency, control options and transparency.
The only disadvantage of SAP BRF+ is that the interfaces are not always completely self-explanatory, which means that a certain amount of training is required.
Meinolf Schäfer, Senior Director Sales & MarketingDo you have any questions? I will be glad to help you!
+49 2241 8845-623