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How SAP employees retrieve information at a click

Now that the SAP-Babylon deal is public knowledge, I would like to tell you more about how SAP makes use of Babylon technology to provide its employees with one click retrieval of different kinds of information. These solutions are an integral part of our The need for, and the beauty of Knowledge Embedding approach. Here are a few examples:

  1. Support issues – SAP uses an ERP application as the backbone of its Online Service System (OSS), its internal and external support system for its customer base. We analyzed that retrieving information from this ERP system involved too many navigations and clicks, too long time, and most importantly – a context switch from the employee’s work. The solution we came up with was quite straightforward – we tied the ERP system to Babylon (via BAPI, SAP .Net Connector and a very simple piece of VB.NET code). This way, users can retrieve information from the ERP system with one click. Moreover – the one click activation can be done from almost any UI (Excel, Word, Outlook or web pages are just a few examples). This solution now serves thousands of SAP employees around the world, and receives amazingly positive feedback from employees and managers alike.

OSS Babylon

  1. Expose SAP metadata – in this case, the need was to expose SAP Business One database metadata (table columns, relationships between tables, etc.) in an easy to consume way. Before we implemented this Babylon solution, our developers and support guys would need to inquire the actual database for this kind of metadata, which turned out to be a nuisance. With the Babylon service in place, what they need to do is simply point their mouse at a table name and activate Babylon, and the relevant metadata immediately pops up.
  2. Expert finder – we built a Babylon glossary which extracts employee expertise data from two different internal systems, and exposes it with a click.
  3. Best practices – we bundled into Babylon format multitude of guidelines, best practices and tips, which are of help to our target audience. One interesting case is the way this glossary serves as a field level help system. The problem we encountered was the following: in order to comply with line-of-business guidelines, users needed to use certain valid values in different fields of our support system. However, these guidelines were hard to remember, thus – to follow. We compiled these guidelines into the Best practices glossary, and now users can quickly find out what value to write in which field. The result is not just enhanced end-user productivity, but also better compliance and more accurate reports from the support system.

CSN Help

Apart from language translation, SAP now uses more than 20 Babylon glossaries, to support various business processes. The nice thing is that creating such glossaries – which expose information from different underlying systems – turned out to be very easy, using the Babylon authoring environment.

To conclude, consider the following (true) case –

A developer was assigned with a support ticket. His superior sends him a mail “what’s going on with support ticket #264505?”. Without leaving the context of his work (clearing his email queue in Microsoft Outlook), the developer retrieves the information about this support ticket with one click. Babylon presents him with this information, and there he sees that the issue (so claims the first-level support person) is probably related to SAP Business One table ORDR. A second activation of Babylon presents the ORDR table metadata. The developer reads on, and finds out that the bug occurs in a certain type of database (e.g. IBM DB2), so a third click (Babylon activation on the database name) results in a list of the SAP employees who are considered to be experts in this database technology.

All in all, our experience shows that in this kind of scenarios, using Babylon can  streamline the support process, by considerably reducing effort and time invested in information retrieval, and  – maybe more importantly – by minimizing the number of context switches.

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  • Hi,

    A few questions..

    1. What is the role of Bablyon in SAP’s product strategy? Will it be included in KM or other products?
    2. What is the relationship between Babylon and TREX? Will they integrate with one another?
    3. How does Babylon fit it with SAP’s general UI strategy?



  • Hi Ariel,

    would it be possible to share the Babylon SAPTerm glossary?
    SAPTerm is a database every SAP customer can access for free.