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ZOHO Meets SAP NetWeaver

A long time in the making, this blog I mean, but finally I’ve decided to force myself to complete the series and post it for everyone to get a good look at. The series I am talking about will come in a few different parts with videos, code, and clarifications attached.

  • Making sure your NW04s Preview system is ready and “open”
  • Making sure you have an account with Zoho
  • Creating the ABAP code (or better installing it with SAPLink)
  • Sending the data and viewing it
  • Receiving the data
  • Zoho API, taking a closer look

So first what are all these about. Well these are about an experiment I did back in October when attending the Office 2.0 convention in San Francisco. Oh another new term perhaps? Office 2.0 is more of a thought that a thing although there is a wonderful description by Ismael Ghalimi

Imagine a computer that never crashes, or gets infected by a virus. Imagine a computer onto which you never have to install any application. Imagine a computer that follows you wherever you go, be it at school, at work, abroad, or back home. This computer does not exist today, but it will in the future, and this future might be much closer than you think.

Now SAP attended this conference, actually we were a large sponsor of the conference as well and I believe we had the most people in attendence having around 10 of us there. A force to be reckoned with if you will – nothing like 10 Enterprise guys hungry to know something show up at a conference showcasing some of the most innovative technologies and applications out in the Web 2.0 space at the moment. The biggest question I got asked (was at our little “booth” most of the time) was “Why is SAP here?” A valid question and one that some of you may be wondering yourselves right now. Well the standard one liner I said to everyone was “because we have a clue”. The answer which most (all but one guy who had to go to the bathroom) stayed to hear (the guy came back later in case you wondering) was along the lines of the following: “Well first SAP is here because we are interested, curious and we understand that this is certainly an area making waves and will continue into the future. We’d like to see who’s here, what they are offering and what might or might not relate to us. SAP whether you know or not has been hot on the Web 2.0 space for years – yep years before the term was coined but we’ve been doing many of the things happening now – no not to “toot” our own horn but it’s just a fact nothing more. But we’re not here for that we are here though to see and interact we want to collaborate and communicate just like we do on SDN.” “SDN, oh SDN is our developer community” “Yes it’s well over 600,000 people and deals with all the varying technologies around SAP” “No, anyone can join it’s free membership with forums, blogs, articles, downloads, the works – we are even adding a Wiki – wait we added it this morning – so it’s all live now” Normally at this point I would go off into SDN and show everyone all around and explain what we do how the community interacts with each other and brings added value. How people made changes and work around’s in BSP to later find similar aspects added into the next service packs. How SAP is embracing Scripting Languages and now the new [then] Business Process Expert Community. As well as how we are standardizing on services and making our platform more available – the podcasts, video blogs, etc. At this point I would normally have a captive audience of 3 or 4 people so I could spin off into a little experiment I had put together. The main idea of what I did was to demonstrate how easy it was to connect my NW04s system (the one running on my laptop – that blew some minds in itself) to Zoho. Now Zoho is the leading online office suite company who were the first to launch the complete package of office style applications as well as the first to offer full Sign on and now they’ve also launched an API. Zoho were at the conference as well so I finally got to put a face to the voice/email and was able to walk them through parts of the demo I made up – the hotel Wireless was not as “open” as we all hoped so I could not show everything unfortunately. I promised them and a multitude of others I would do the demo up and blog it, this is the first of those blogs.

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  • I always get a little knot in my stomach when SAP talks about how they were Web 2.0 pioneers.  I know it’s labeled as fact, the only piece that I know of is the whole “Delta Handling” bsp thing, which I don’t even know how many people use it.

    More importantly as an SAP customer I love to hear them looking into these areas, I don’t want SAP to throw 100s of Millions of dollars into researching totally unrelated areas.  I want them to observe the best of what’s out their and either acquire, open up to or co-opt the best technologies.


    • Buhh! If someone gave me 100s of millions for researching I’d have that Mac we saw in Las Vegas already LOL

      I think you know already (with SDN, SDN Day, etc.) SAP does embrace the grassroots movements quite well , check out the Widgets and everything no wasting of money around here 🙂

    • FWIW The “delta handling bsp” thing is used in the CRM IC WebClient and I think SAP have 1 or 2 clients using that product. Well – I have worked on three of them and I sure there are others;)
      • Actually the delta handling bsp thing is used even more widely than just BSP.  Similar technology is used within Web Dynpro to create the flicker-free refresh.  With Web Dynpro being a closed framework, every UI element can be designed for delta handling – making it actually work much more reliably than in BSP.
    • Hi,
      I’m trying to understand SAP relation with WEB 2.0 world, using some criteria. I miss some information around out-of-box capabilities like:

      is there a WiKi platform? Is there a Blog platform? How about Tagging, Linking and Ranking content via a the portal (i.e. what capabilities are there to add tags to content by content owners? Are there tagging capabilities for content viewers/users? Are there capabilities to link specific content to other enterprise content or user published content? Are linking capabilities done automatically by search crawlers? Are there content ranking and Ranking engine?)
      Or, furthermore, are there capabilities for individual users or community of users to create Content Areas managed by community leads?
      Can personal/community applications (collaborative content applications) be created?

      What capabilities are there for social networking? Capability to ask users to join personal or community network? Is the users network profile shared and visible? Is it possible to request or publish content (like job posts, information requests, business tips) to the social network? What Contacts Management capabilities or integration are provided (import Contacts from MSOffice, share Calendar or Schedule)? Can different collaboration security roles (External to Enterprise, customers, private) be added to a user network and linked to security policies of content?

      thank you for your help,

      • Hi Emanuele,

        All valid questions and points. Many of these “out of the box” features are simply not there yet but I would not count them out for long.

        SAP is taking a serious look at this area and investigating many of the possibilities to make working easier for each and every user.


  • Craig,
    you make two points with this
    one, shows the openess of the SAP offering. (this is technically cool etc)
    Two, and this may help Dan’s knot..Web 2.0 is not just about technology AJAX blah, but about, dare I say it, community and conversation.SDN is one of the best examples of this in the enterprise software space. In that sense Craig is right.
    • As I attempt to make sense of these concepts as well as the social impact of these developments and trends, I find myself looking at the blogs and commentaries of folks who claim to have originated the terms Office 2.0, Enterprise 2.0.
      Tim O’Reilly and Andrew McAfee are really worth reading for anyone interested in the subject.

      Even the originators seem to have to redefine and refine.  This is what Tim O’Reilly had to say in : Web 2.0 Compact Definition: Trying Again

      and McAffee here in describing Enterprise 2.0:
      The Impact of Information Technology (IT) on Businesses and their Leaders where he speaks of Enterprise 2.0 as “the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers.”
      So maybe the grandmother in me is coming out and this is “old hat” for some but I am really excited when Craig, Thomas, and Dan show me how people collaborate, blog, codeshare in the new modalities….and I for one, am grateful that this community and its members keep us informed about these developments….
      Tim O’Reilly writes: “the process of getting advantage from data isn’t necessary a case of companies being “evil.” It’s a natural outcome of network effects applied to user contribution. Being first or best, you will attract the most users, and if your application truly harnesses network effects to get better the more people use it, you will eventually build barriers to entry based purely on the difficulty of building another such database from the ground up when there’s already so much value somewhere else.”
      I ferverently hope ours is such a community.

      • For the Office 2.0 term you won’t find many who disagree – the term was clearly from IT|Redux and Ismael (remember our attempts during Sapphire to “meet” someone – that was him)

        And I DO think ours is such a community and I think this year you will see a merging of ideas from the BPX and SDN sides with some interesting outcomes…

  • I also got the same question at JavaOne when SAP (Japan) joined JavaOne conference the first time several years ago introducing SAP Web AS.

    On Web2.0 topic, currently most offerings are per application basis and not the real environment yet. But I think it’s just a matter of time to achieving a “real” Web2.0 desktop.
    Some experiments:
    and my favorite one (japanese)

    What Im curious right now is how ABAP will evolve in the context of Web2.0. Will it?

    • From one aspect of Web 2.0 – ABAP already has with the creation of SAPLink (thanks to Dan and Ed) from the other aspect “Delta Handling” is there and more is to come of course.

      It boils down to “how much” vs “what you consider the most important aspect of Web 2.0”