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Business Case-Integration Need of BI and SAP XI?-Episode2

This is the continuation of the series Business Case-Integration Need of BI and SAP XI?-Episode1.Needless to say you have read the business case before reading the solution approaches. This solution is based on SAP NW 2004S.Most of the middleware tools like Tibco had already come up with the ETL as one of message layer. For more info visit Tibco Website . Here we see how we leverage the same solution using the SAP XI+BI dual stack on single instance of SAP WAS NW 2004S.

Solution Approach1-(SAP dual stack XI+BI) + (SAP Standalone BI): In this approach we use ETL layer of SAP XI+BI dual stack for pushing the full employee data load and an ABAP Proxy for sending employee delta records to the business partners and standalone SAP BI with cleansed records that are apt for business analysis.
The solution approach is designed two folded:
1. Sending Delta Employee Records.
2. Sending Up-To Date all Employee Records and searching the employee information.

Sending Delta Employee Records: Employee information data is extracted from SAP, Oracle and the four legacy systems through SAP XI. SAP XI pulls the information from SAP, Oracle and the other 4 legacy systems using the relevant adapters who send it to the business partners and SAP standalone BI simultaneously. If there are any errors users are alerted appropriately as required by the business.
In addition to sending the data it also can validate/transform the data that is required by the target system. SAP XI pulls the employee data from SAP, Oracle and four legacy systems through an ABAP proxy and file adapter respectively. The data is then consolidated and transformed into the format required by the 3 business partners and SAP BI. Data is zipped as an e-mail with password protected and sent to the business partners by SAP XI using an e-mail adapter. Now data is also transformed into the format required by the SAP Standalone BI and sent using an ABAP proxy or SOAP adapter.
Delta Employee Records

Send complete dump/Search Employee Information: On an adhoc basis any of the 3 business partners can request the complete employee info through an ABAP Webdynpro user interface that takes the request and pulls the file for them. We use the ETL Layer of SAP XI for pulling the complete employee dump and file adapter to push the complete employee dump in groups of records to the business partners. The same ABAP Webdynpro UI can also be used for searching the employee information. IS team can also search the employee information using the ABAP Webdynpro that pulls the relevant employee information from the Oracle, 4 legacy systems and SAP. After successfully sending the data we will delete the data from PSA tables of SAP XI+BI dual stack.
Full Employee Dump

Solution Approach Advantages/Disadvantages :
1. Solution is completely automated and doesn’t require any manual intervention.
2. Redundant data that is not used for business reporting is not stored in the SAP standalone BI.
3. Standalone BI is shielded from the regular ETL process (as it is done by SAP dual stack XI + BI and sends it to SAP Standalone BI) that directly improves the performance of the BI which is predominantly used for huge historical data analytics.
4. Helps IS team to carryout their activities efficiently as the solution is fully automated.
5. Robust error handling can be done in SAP XI for alerting the required support group if any error occurs while loading the data or dumping the delta files.
6. Files can also be archived for some days for re-processing when an error occurs during the data load or pushing the relevant files.
7. Enables the IS team to take business decisions by storing only relevant information in BI and not simply dumping the files in the same format as received by the source systems.
8. Enables future integration to be easy if one more systems have to be plugged in with this architecture.
9. System failures can also be notified that enables business to act quickly.
10. Building cross component applications on top of SAP XI using SAP CAF is matter of hours.
Disadvantages :
1. POC has to be built and tested for the feasibility.

Solution Approach Assumptions :
1. Complete employee information dump is not requested only on adhoc basis.
2. The volume of the delta and complete employee information is not very huge.
3. The employee information complete dump file is pushed only to the business partner who requested.
4. There are not too many fields that are to be picked up additionally for SAP standalone BI reporting.
5. We don’t require any additional information then the current GED functionality.
6. SAP, Oracle and four legacy systems are responsible for the data integrity.
7. BI will hold only the necessary fields used for analytical reporting.

Conclusion: This is strictly a solution for the given business case and probably have to be tested for high volume data as SAP XI has to be highly available for these kind of scenarios. We just try to demonstrate an example business case where we need to fit SAP XI and use the ETL layer of SAP XI in a BI landscape. Note that solution approach should be based on various business factors and have to be evaluated for feasibility.
In the next series we propose a solution without SAP XI and then draw out a comparison matrix that concludes the recommended approach for the given business case. Thanks for reading!

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  • In your weblog you make comments to “the ETL Layer of SAP XI”.  Knowing your weblog is only an overview, I am assuming this is your dual instance of XI+BI and not an inherent capability in XI.  XI is not an ETL tool, but purely a messaging tool.  For ETL SAP has partnered with Informatica.  Would you agree?