Making them meet is what it takes,
Towards a mega polis of information interaction
The key to the lock is integration
Parts of a whole or wholesome parts
SAP NetWeaver provides a unique platform that offers complete information integration. In a typical Data Warehouse environment we deal with historical data, which we usually update every predefined time block. But these days real time data is also needed for strategic analysis, and NetWeaver is the best available platform for that. Of course, not all users need all data in real time. Now, with SAP NetWeaver, companies can provide up-to-the-minute data for immediate decisions and deliver large amounts of historical data to those performing strategic analyses with redundant data for each user.
BI provides ETL (Extraction, Transformation and Loading) capabilities which integrates, standardizes, and synchronizes data. However nowadays, companies look beyond traditional ETL and expand the concept of data acquisition to include enterprise application integration (EAI). EAI enables applications to talk to each other and deliver information immediately.
As an integration broker, SAP XI supports the concept of real time data acquisition, in which data is updated in the data warehouse or the operational data store in real time. SAP XI ABAP proxy and prepackaged web services can link the enterprise analytics and reporting infrastructure to real time applications running on a strategic partners manufacturing system. SAP XI thus enables SAP BI to generate analytical models and reports with near-realtime data and lets users spot problems as they occurs.
SAP MDM maintains inter-application data reliability by managing a unified central repository that synchronizes replicated data, a necessary step for automated processes that continually extract data from transactional applications. For a unified, synchronized, and specific picture of data, SAP MDM works in concert with SAP XI to offer consistent distribution of master data objects into other systems.
SAP Enterprise Portal (EP) unifies disparate information, applications, and services from multiple systems into a single, personalized web-based interface. It can also integrate analytics and reporting functions expressly target each user into the same interface. As a result, enterprise users get BI insights via a familiar interface that requires little or no additional user training.
Users running analytical applications and receiving reports are likely to collaborate with one another and with appropriate external partners through a secure, context- appropriate environment. SAP EP and SAP WAS have built-in tools for creating instant messaging and virtual collaboration rooms where KPIs and other business performance metrics can be tracked. They also have general document publishing and tracking capabilities that let users share intelligence insights and their own ideas, simply and securely. Through its Knowledge Management capabilities, SAP NetWeaver establishes connections to unstructured data it has already indexed, linked and made searchable. Users can see emails, documents, or other objects that enhance their analyses and reports with contextually relevant information.
Integration aspects of XI-BI
SAP Exchange Infrastructure (XI) is a technical infrastructure for the XML based exchange of messages in order to integrate applications (SAP or non-SAP) and Business Partners (B2B) on the basis of open standards. SAP XI is the integration component between SAP MDM and other areas of a solution landscape, such as SAP Enterprise Buyer, SAP R/3, and non-SAP systems, through the exchange of XML messages. The integration of SAP XI and SAP BI allows customers to use SAP XI to send data from various sources, including SAP MDM, to SAP BI. SAP XI distributes (routes), transforms (maps), and transports the messages exchanged between the systems.
The integration of SAP XI and SAP BW allows us to use SAP XI to send data from various sources to the delta queue of SAP BW.
The integration of SAP XI and SAP BW offers the following advantages:
- In the role as integration broker, SAP XI facilitates the real time distribution of data in heterogeneous system landscape.
- Information is pushed to BI from the source system when available. It becomes very useful in those cases where is a large number of source systems with only occasional updates. No frequent and futile pulling of source data is required, reducing system overhead sharply.
- Business Process Management functions in SAP XI route data flows complex EAI processes to SAP BW and, where necessary, trigger the data load process in SAP BW.
- Options for transformation of message content between sender and recipient. Mappings help us to adapt values and structures of our message to the recipient.
- Using proxy communication with SAP BW. Proxies are executable interfaces generated in the application systems for communication with the SAP XI Integration Server. They guarantee that the data is delivered only once and in the correct sequence. The SAP XI Integration Server keeps the serialization as it was established by the sender.
Integration aspects of MDM-BI
Today, companies operating within heterogeneous IT landscapes are commonplace, and the demand for streamlining communication within such an environment is great. True Enterprise Application Integration must be geared towards the technical harmonization of a diversified infrastructure and the consolidation of business-critical data.
SAP Master Data Management (SAP MDM) – a key capability of SAP NetWeaver – enables information integrity across the business network. It enables companies to store, augment, and consolidate master data, while ensuring consistent distribution to all applications and systems within the IT landscape. It leverages existing IT investments in business-critical data, delivering vastly reduced data maintenance costs through effective data management. And, by ensuring cross-system data consistency, SAP MDM accelerates the execution of business processes, greatly improves decision-making and helps companies maintain their competitive advantage.
SAP MDM works with the SAP XI which enables intersystem communication in highly heterogeneous, multivendor technology environments. We can federate company business processes by inserting master data object distribution mechanisms into other systems.
SAP MDM works out of the box with SAP BI, bringing together a powerful business intelligence platform, a comprehensive set of tools, and industry-leading Data-warehousing capabilities. Users can seamlessly leverage harmonized data from SAP MDM for analysis and reporting within SAP BI. SAP MDM leverages SAP Enterprise Portal technology to offer a role-based, personalized user paradigm, presenting users with business processes and information based on their roles as users, administrators, etc.
Additionally, SAP MDM leverages the knowledge management capabilities of SAP NetWeaver to enable linking associated content, such as part specifications, for example, to associate master data. Integration of SAP MDM with the knowledge management capabilities of SAP NetWeaver allows companies to manage all facets of unstructured information from collaborative authoring and publishing to advanced search and navigation.
Integration aspects of BI-EP
We can integrate business-relevant content from the SAP Business Information Warehouse seamlessly into a SAP Enterprise Portal. The SAP Enterprise Portal enables us to access applications from other systems and sources, such as the Internet or intranet. Using one entry point, we can reach both structured and unstructured information. In addition to content from Knowledge Management, business data from data analysis is available to us from the Internet and from the Intranet.
The integration of SAP BW content into the SAP Enterprise Portal enables us to work more closely and more promptly with company colleagues when you need to do so. For example, this can help when we need to insert notes and commentary for key figures and reports, run approval processes automatically, and in doing so, take part in decisions within a broad company context.
The following types of content from SAP BW can be included in the content area of the Enterprise Portal:
- BEx Web Application As an iView
- Precalculated BEx Web Applications as a document in Knowledge Management
- BEx Web Applications as a link in Knowledge Management
- BW Workbooks
- BW Documents
- Web interface (from BW-BPS)
I had read in a featured article by Mr. Shai Agassi that the entire concept of Enterprise Service Architecture ESA can be seen in analogy to a human body with various components of the NetWeaver forming different parts with the XI is the network of vessels, MDM forming the backbone, BI and KM forming the cerebral component and EP being the ocular component. In the similar context, I feel, I have designed workout schedules to harness these various components to their optimum towards an efficiently functioning body. The integration of various components can result into novel solutions for strategic or technical issues.
This article is a harbinger of the solutions that can be formulated using these individual NetWeaver components in their individual capacities for niche, strategic solutions required in the industry.