SAP processes run best in medium/big sized companies organizing lots of activities. This companies can also afford the Consultants providing best knowledge to implement processes. Since I am in the SAP-business I have never seen smooth integration of small companies being either customers, vendors or both -> that means classical B2B or A2A with small sized partners.
10 years ago our customer Bogner-Edelstahl in Vienna was interested in a real low budget solution to integrate their trade branches in Hungary, Czech, Poland and other countries. The cost having a permanent network setup was to high, and also they didn’t want to spend money for expensive SAP licenses.
We had the idea to use existing technology in a new combination -> you can say also in an innovative way:
- SAP-R3 as central system
- SAP ALE
- SAP Internetgateway (that was a simple program to use SMTP)
The MS-Access Application could do basic things like simple warehouse management, orders, invoices, and so on -> that was our MINI-SAP developed by the experienced SAP-Consultant Michael Stranka ( http://web.archive.org/web/20040507190440/www.easy.at/osprojekte.asp ). This MS-Access solution could generate IDOCs and sent the documents via SMTP-Mail to SAP-R3. With mail filtering and forward to SAP-Applications the Order process could be fully automatized. The resulting process needs up to 2 minutes from sending the order till having a finished picking list in the cetral warehouse run by SAP-R3.
Based on that experince the idea has grown to have a process based on SAP-ALE technology which led to the Missing-Link-Server running on WINTEL-Systems. Having this solution it is very easy to integrate any smal company or any system into processes run by SAP.
- Böhringer-Ingelheim has connected a packing system to SAP-R3 using MLS, today the use 2 systems, one connected to SAP-Netweaver, the other direct to SAP-4.5
- Integration of SAP-B1 into SAP-R3 4.6c has been done by using MLS because SAP-Neatweaver was to not available on customers site.
- Michael Stranka provides a simple MS-Access solution based on MLS to provide a system for real small companies to be integrated in SAP-logistic processes. The system should be available in April 2008.
wholesaler with lots of small customers ( plumbers, electrician, landlords, hairdresser et cetera -> each small company having at least a WINTEL-System (WINNT, WIN2000, WINXP, Vista) might have an online connection based on SAP-ALE
easy & fast integration of non SAP-System connected to SAP Netweaver or SAP-Systems direct
Integrate SAP-B1 into SAP-ERP R3 et cetera
electronic signed invoice documents
I like the idea to provide services for big companies to integrate lots of small customers/vendors.