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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

Session Code: