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SAP Business Connector. Integrating R/3 to Global Web Deployment Using XML and Business Connector. Presenter contact info. Dan Perron [email protected] 303 694-7576. Learning Objectives. Can SAP Business Connector (BC) be used to do robust Enterprise Application Integration?

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Sap business connector

SAP Business Connector

Integrating R/3 to Global Web Deployment Using XML and Business Connector

Learning objectives
Learning Objectives

  • Can SAP Business Connector (BC) be used to do robust Enterprise Application Integration?

  • What skills are needed to perform BC Integration?

  • What business issues might be expected in a global deployment?

  • Is this a platform for future-looking projects?

Some background timeframes
Some background & timeframes

  • Project kickoff was late 2001

  • Design work done without R/3 technical expertise

  • eDistribution designed to work with or w/o connectivity to R/3 backend system

  • Many batch extract processes to populate master data in “middle office” (BroadVision application)

  • Functions below would call R/3 (if available) via BC

  • BC already in use for other functions in target country

The business problem
The business problem

  • “Distributors need to be able to create orders, check status, and verify price, availability, shipping and delivery data – real time – any time.”

  • Six types of interfaces

    • Sales order simulation (similar to quote)

    • Sales order entry

    • Material availability check

    • Delivery note detail

    • Packing List detail

    • Order Status check

Business challenges
Business challenges

  • US (Square D) vs. France (Schneider Electric)

  • “Business-owned” vs. “Hold-my-hand”

  • Local language support

  • Meeting times & locations

  • Communications – even routine email a challenge

  • Training and local administration

  • Distributors vs. direct sales efforts

Technical system challenges
Technical/system challenges

  • 30 SAP systems running 5 versions in 18 countries

  • Distributed data centers & network management

  • SAP vs. Legacy Systems

  • Custom vs. off-the-shelf functionality

  • Availability issues in overseas systems

  • Synchronous design

  • In-house managed vs. outsourced support & ops

  • No EAI focus

Technical system challenges cont
Technical/system challenges (cont.)

  • Platform for solution: modified BroadVision apps

  • HTTP calls to BC; RFC BAPI to R/3

  • SAP Versions: 3.1I, 4.0b, 4.5b, 4.6b, 4.6c

  • Multiple SAP BC installs local to target country

  • Target Countries: Spain, China, UK (plus non-SAP)

  • Others France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Poland, Turkey, Singapore, Japan, Czech Republic, US & Russia

Step by step process
Step-by-step process

  • Receive XML File: Receive the BroadVision XML file into the Business Connector in a format that the BC can understand.

  • Map XML file to SAP RFC-XML format: Map the data from the BroadVision XML to the SAP RFC-XML format.

  • Execute appropriate BAPI in SAP: Perform the Remote Function Call (RFC) to SAP sending the appropriate data that was mapped in step 2. The RFC will return a return code and return message that tells the status of the transaction.

  • Format fields: Some of the resulting data needs to be formatted so that it can be imported into BroadVision. This step is actually a loop that changes all SAP fields to the BroadVision format.

  • Map resulting RFC-XML to BroadVision XML Format: Map the data returned from SAP to the XML format expected by BroadVision

  • Send XML file to BroadVision: Send the resulting XML to BroadVision

Issues encountered
Issues encountered

  • Initial connectivity challenges

    • HTTP Post calls to BC with XML doc passed

    • Difficult to trace & debug

  • Standard BAPIs became custom ones midstream

  • BC upgrades midway

  • R/3 access to host countries difficult to secure

  • Restart schedules required coordination

  • CTS / TMS for rollout?

  • Upgrade support for BC stops after 4.7

  • No clear migration path to XI at last check

  • Initial implementation very simple in config; some hard-coding

Successful implementations
Successful implementations

  • Spain – fall 2002

  • China – mid-2003

  • UK – Dec 2003

  • Projects schedule generally more constrained by change management & training of local business community than on BC or web solution development

Current state october 2004
Current state – October 2004

  • Additional rollouts outsourced to French IT company

  • Turned over all docs to them Feb 04

  • No further deployments thus far(last deployment was UK – Dec 2003)

Key learnings
Key Learnings

  • Don’t try to make a silk purse out of BC(Not robust EAI solution; simple integration only)

  • Standard iDOCs & BAPIs far preferable

  • R/3 DDIC, web development, and XML skills are key

  • Design solution around standard R/3 transactions rather than trying to modify / customize SAP

  • Async rather than Sync interfaces where possible

  • Strong business leadership needed to deploy

  • Need upgrade / migration path to XI


Dan Perron

[email protected]

303 694-7576

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