Keywords: SAP R/3 4.6c, SQL2005, SharePoint Portal Server 2003, Business Scorecard Manager 2005
Our SAP R/3 4.6c runs on oracle. Current SAP reports were developed in ABAP and presented in SAP GUI. In fact, there are some challenges as follows:
1. The SAP GUI is not very user friendly, especially to light users who are not very familiar with the navigation menu. They sometimes feel frustrated to key too many clicks to find a report.
2. Some users only focus on using some specific interfaces/screens for viewing reports or data. They also need a SAP license per person.
3. There are new needs to implement BW function from business units.
4. The development time is relative long and outsource cost is high.
And other constraint is that we have implemented SharePoint Portal Server 2003 as our intranet platform. So far we do not have the urgent need or plan to use Netweave 2004 portal which we are lack of resource. Another constraint is our IT engineers own more Microsoft knowledge and skills than SAP stuffs. In SAP development, we totally depend on outsourcing vendor.
So we need some new solutions/products/ideas to meet these challenges in a more cost-effective way.
Access SAP – SQL 2005 / .NET Data Provider for mySAP
Following SQL 2005 launched in Oct 2005, the new feature pack, Microsoft .NET Data Provider for mySAP Business Suite was also released.
This is a potential key to the solution to above challenges.
As I described in my previous series of tips Connect SAP and SharePoint with .NET Connector (see reference), we could use .Net Connector to access SAP data via three methods: RFC, BAPI, and SOAP/WSDL. It is shown in the color of brown in below Figure.
Microsoft .NET Data Provider for mySAP Business Suite provides a new tunnel to connect SAP. There are basically three methods: RFC, BAPI, and Query-Tables. It is shown in blue in the below Figure. We will focus on SQL 2005 methods in this tip.
Create Reports Report Server / Process Data Analysis Service
There are two basic approaches to present the SAP data/reports/tables after .Net Provider for SAP accesses the SAP data via RFC/BAPI/Query Tables.
1. Directly use SQL 2005 reporting service to create and publish the SAP tables to SQL 2005 report server (see red line in following figure)
2. Use SQL 2005 integration service to extract data from SAP into SQL database, use SQL 2005 analysis service to analyze new created SQL database containing SAP data to create cubes, use reporting service to create report model and last use report builder to create and publish reports on SQL report server. (see black line in following figure)
Present Reports SharePoint / Business Scorecard Manager 2005
Finally use report explorer web part and report viewer web part to present reports created on SQL 2005 report server to SharePoint.
Another presentation product is to use Microsoft Business Scorecard Manager 2005 (BSM). BSM is a good product to present business KPI (Key Performance Indicator) to senior management executives. Because SAP data is extracted in SQL database and analyzed into cubes. KPI score cards can be built based on these cubes and then presented on SharePoint BSM web parts.
In next tip, I will discuss how to use SQL 2005 to access SAP.
1. Microsoft SQL 2005, Microsoft, http://www.microsoft.com/sql/prodinfo/default.mspx , accessed in Dec. 2005
2. Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server 2003, Microsoft, http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/office/sps2003/default.mspx, access in Dec., 2005
3. Microsoft Office Business Scorecard Manager 2005, Microsoft, http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/FX012225041033.aspx, accessed in Dec., 2005
4. Microsoft .NET Data Provider for mySAP Business Suite , Microsoft, http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms141761.aspx , accessed in Dec., 2005
5. SAP Connector for .NET, http://www.microsoft-sap.com/overview_sap_connector.html , access in Dec., 2005.
6. Connect SAP R/3 4.6C and SharePoint 2003 – Part I: Prepare Environment, Ted Teng, Connect SAP R/3 4.6C and SharePoint 2003 – Part I: Prepare Environment , accessed in Dec. 2005
7. Connect SAP R/3 4.6C and SharePoint 2003 – Part II: Define SAP Proxy, Ted Teng, Connect SAP R/3 4.6C and SharePoint 2003 – Part II: Define SAP Proxy , accessed in Dec. 2005.
8. Connect SAP R/3 4.6C and SharePoint 2003 – Part III: Develope SharePoint Web Parts, Ted Teng, Connect SAP R/3 4.6C and SharePoint 2003 – Part II: Define SAP Proxy , accessed in Dec. 2005.