How to create a process chain? Step By Step

I want to continue my series for beginners new to SAP BI. In this blog, I write down the necessary steps how to create a process chain loading data with an info package and with a DTP, activation, and scheduling of this chain.

1.) Call transaction RSPC

RSPC is the central transaction for all your process chain maintenance. Here you find on the left existing process chains sorted by “application components”.  The default mode is planning view. There are two other views available: Check view and protocol view. 

2.) Create a new process chain 

To create a new process chain, press the “Create” icon in the planning view.

In the following pop-Up window you have to enter a technical name and a description of your new process chain.

The technical name can be as long as up to 20 characters. Usually, it starts with a Z or Y. See your project internal naming conventions for it.  

3.)    Define a start process

After entering a process chain name and description, new window pop-ups. You are asked to define a start variant.

That’s the first step in your process chain! Every process chain does have one and only one starting step. A new step of type “Start process” will be added. To be able to define unique start processes for your chain you have to create a start variant. These steps you have to do for any other of the subsequent steps. First, drag a process type on the design window. Then define a variant for this type and you have to create a process step. The formula is:

Process Type + Process Variant = Process Step!

If you save your chain, the process chain name will be saved into table RSPCCHAIN. The process chain definition with its steps is stored in table RSPCPROCESSCHAIN as a modified version.So press on the “create” button, a new pop-up appears:

Here you define a technical name for the start variant and a description. In the next step, you define when the process chain will start. You can choose from direct scheduling or start using meta chain or API. With direct scheduling, you can define either to start immediately upon activating and scheduling or to a defined point in time as you know it from the job scheduling in any SAP system. With “start using meta chain or API” you are able to start this chain as a subchain or from an external application via a function module “RSPC_API_CHAIN_START”. Press enter and choose an existing transport request or create a new one and you have successfully created the first step of your chain. 

 4.)    Add a loading step

If you have defined the starting point for your chain you can add now a loading step for loading master data or transaction data. For all of this data choose “Execute info package” from all available process types. See the picture below:

You can easily move this step with drag & drop it from the left on the right side into your design window. A new pop-up window appears. Here you can choose which info package you want to use. You can’t create a new one here. Press F4 help and a new window will pop up with all available info packages sorted by use. At the top are info packages used in this process chain, followed by all other available info packages not used in the process chain. Choose one and confirm. This step will now be added to your process chain. Your chain should look now like this:

How do you connect these both steps? One way is with the right mouse click on the first step and chooses Connect with -> Load Data and then the info package you want to be the successor.

Another possibility is to select the starting point and keep the left mouse button pressed. Then move the mouse down to your target step. An arrow should follow your movement. Stop pressing the mouse button and a new connection is created. From the Start process to every second step it’s a black line.  

5.)    Add a DTP process

In BI 7.0 systems you can also add a DTP to your chain. From the process type window ( see above.) you can choose “Data Transfer Process”. Drag & Drop it on the design window. You will be asked for a variant for this step. Again as in info packages press F4 help and choose from the list of available DTPs the one you want to execute. Confirm your choice and a new step for the DTP is added to your chain. Now you have to connect this step again with one of its possible predecessors. As described above choose the context menu and connect with -> Data transfer process. But now a new pop-up window appears.

Here you can choose if this successor step shall be executed only if the predecessor was successful, ended with errors, or anyhow if successful or not always executed. With this connection type, you can control the behavior of your chain in case of errors. If a step ends successfully or with errors is defined in the process step itself. To see the settings for each step you can go to Settings -> Maintain Process Types in the menu. In this window, you see all defined (standard and custom ) process types. Choose the Data transfer process and display details in the menu. In the new window you can see:

DTP can have the possible event “Process ends “successful” or “incorrect”, has ID @VK@, which actually means the icon and appears under category 10, which is “Load process and post-processing”. Your process chain can now look like this:

You can now add all other steps necessary. By default, the process chain itself suggests successors and predecessors for each step. For loading transaction data with an info package it usually adds steps for deleting and creating indexes on a cube. You can switch off this behavior in the menu under “Settings -> Default Chains”. In the pop-up choose “Do not suggest Process” and confirm.

Then you have to add all necessary steps yourself. 

6.)    Check chain

Now you can check your chain with the menu “Goto -> Checking View” or press the button “Check”. Your chain will now be checked if all steps are connected, have at least one predecessor. Logical errors are not detected. That’s your responsibility. If the chain checking returns with warnings or is ok you can activate it. If check carries out errors you have to remove the errors first. 

7.)    Activate chain

After successful checking, you can activate your process chain. In this step, the entries in table RSPCPROCCESSCHAIN will be converted into an active version. You can activate your chain with the menu “Process chain -> Activate” or press the activation button in the symbol bar. You will find your new chain under the application component “Not assigned”. To assign it to another application component you have to change it. Choose the “application component” button in the change mode of the chain, save and reactivate it. Then refresh the application component hierarchy. Your process chain will now appear under the new application component.

8.)    Schedule chain

After successful activation, you can now schedule your chain. Press button “Schedule” or menu “Execution -> schedule”. The chain will be scheduled as a background job. You can see it in SM37. You will find a job named “BI_PROCESS_TRIGGER”. Unfortunately, every process chain is scheduled with a job with this name. In the job variant, you will find which process chain will be executed. During execution, the steps defined in RSPCPROCESSCHAIN will be executed one after the other. The execution of the next event is triggered by events defined in the table.  You can watch SM37 for new executed jobs starting with “BI_” or look at the protocol view of the chain. 

9.)    Check protocol for errors

You can check chain execution for errors in the protocol or process chain log. Choose in the menu “Go to -> Log View”. You will be asked for the time interval for which you want to check chain execution. Possible options are today, yesterday and today, one week ago, this month and last month, or free date. For us option “today” is sufficient.

Here is an example of another chain that ended incorrectly:

On the left side, you see when the chain was executed and how it ended. On the right side, you see for every step if it ended successfully or not. As you can see the two first steps were successful and step “Load Data” of an info package failed. You can now check the reason with the context menu “display messages” or “Process monitor”. “Display messages” display the job log of the background job and messages created by the request monitor. With “Process monitor” you get to the request monitor and see detailed information on why the loading failed. The logs are stored in tables RSPCLOGCHAIN and RSPCPROCESSLOG. Examining request monitor will be a topic of one of my next upcoming blogs.

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