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The formal relationship between SAP and Microsoft goes back to the year 1994. Since then SAP and Microsoft deepened the relationship in many ways including joint commitment to Web services as the foundation of the next generation of enterprise software. With the implementation of their respective Service Oriented Architectures (SOA) both companies now offer a foundation for standardized interoperability.In this block I would like to give an overview on the technology SAP recommends – the Enterprise Service Explorer for .NET– the benefits of building .NET applications to partners and customers – leveraging the Platform User License – and eventually on how to certify – through SAP Integration and Certification Center – promote and sell – through SAP’s EcoHub – your applications.

Please note that the recommendation for the Enterprise Service Explorer for .NET does not mean that existing technologies (e.g. PDK for .NET, .NET connector) cannot be used anymore. Solutions build with those technologies might even apply for Platform User Licensing and publishing through EcoHub. However for new projects we would like to recommend having a look at the Enterprise Service Explorer for .NET. For further details and updates on existing technologies please have a look at the .NET interoperability area (http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/sdn/dotnet) within SDN.

So the recommended steps for a .NET ISV / developer to build and sell an application are as follows: 

  1. Choose a development tool / technology (e.g. ES Explorer for .NET)
  2. Become a partner and get certified (through SAP Integration and Certification Center (ICC))
  3. Apply for Platform User License (PUL).
  4. Publish your solution on SAP EcoHub.
Enterprise Service Explorer

As mentioned before SAP and Microsoft deepened their relationship in many ways eventually including development tools for .NET developers (e.g. PDK for .NET, .NET connector). Those tools were and still are great tools for specific scenarios but they lack the standardized approach required in a (Web) service driven (IT) world.    To cope with the requirements of the future SAP now provides a new development tool to leverage SAP’s Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), the SAP Enterprise Services Explorer tool for Microsoft .NET (ES Explorer for .NET). The ES Explorer for .NET is available as an add-in for Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 as well as for Microsoft Visual Studio 2008. With the ES Explorer for .NET developers can discover SAP enterprise services from SAP’s service registry and consume them in their applications. In addition the tool allows publishing .NET based services in SAP’s service registry. Thus the tools is not only an important element of SAP – Microsoft interoperability but in addition our recommendation for SOA. 

Version 2 of the sneak preview of SAP Enterprise Services Explorer tool for Microsoft .NET can be downloaded here.

Additional information on SAP Enterprise Services Explorer tool for Microsoft .NET can be found here.

Getting Certified – SAP Integration and Certification Center (ICC)

No matter which technical approach (ES Explorer for .NET, .NET connector, PDK for .NET, …)  you take it is always recommended to certify your solution(s). Actually it is mandatory to benefit from platform user license or SAP Ecohub. For details on the certification process please have a look at the ICC pages on SDN (http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/sdn/icc).

An overview of all integration scenarios can be found SAP Integration and Certification Center (SAP ICC)–Integration Scenario – Interface Reference Table.

To directly apply for ICC services online you can click here

In addition to the benefits that platform user license and SAP EcoHub offer a certification offers some additional benefits:  

  • It allows you to use the appropriate logo for the SAP Certified Integration
  • You will receive a SAP Interface Certificate
  • It satisfies one of the criteria for becoming an SAP software partner or content partner
  • It ensures a listing in the SAP online partner and product directory
Platform User License (PUL)

The Platform User License (PUL) allows users to access business process platform offerings from SAP through a non-SAP or third party software that utilizes SAP’s enterprise services or BAPIs. Being cheaper than the standard SAP application user license PUL offers different benefits – especially to partners with certified solutions:

  • Creates up-sell opportunities to the current installed base
  • Partners have the opportunity to be included in the larger deal opportunities

To the customer PUL mainly offers the benefit of:       

  • Providing a fair-market pricing option to extend the user footprint and adoption while complying with SAP end user licensing agreement requirements.  

For details on the different PUL options please click here.

SAP EcoHub

With SAP EcoHub SAP provides a community powered online marketplace. All solutions offered on SAP EcoHub are provided by approved partners of SAP and evaluated by other SAP customers. Thus SAP EcoHub provides a transparent, reliable and secure way to customers to buy solutions from SAP Ecosystem. .NET ISVs can leverage SAP EcoHub to promote and sell their solutions.

Question remains: What do I have to do to publish my solutions on SAP EcoHub?

  1. Become a partner! More specifically you have to enroll in the SAP PartnerEdge Program (http://partnerwithsap.com/)
  2. Certify your solution! For details on certification see the related paragraph above. The SAP Integration and Certification Center (ICC) can support you.
  3. In step 3 you can already list your solution on SAP EcoHub:
    a) Contact the SAP EcoHub team (EcoHub_Partners@sap.com). The EcoHub team will then provide you with login details.
    b) Using the login details you can now upload your solution to SAP EcoHub. In addition to the actual solution you can provide content such as collateral, success stories and whitepapers. It is recommended to add screenshots and a link to a demo to maximize the impact of your solution on SAP EcoHub.
  4. Eventually you have to sign the legal agreement to allow publication of your solution content on SAP EcoHub. 
Hints

To drive awareness and demand for your solution you should:

  • Ensure your solution content is search optimized!
  • SAP EcoHub offers different so called presence packages to promote your solution on SAP EcoHub. Contact SAP EcoHub team (EcoHub_Partners@sap.com) for details.
  • Execute marketing campaigns to drive awareness and traffic to your solution pages on SAP EcoHub.
  • Highlight your customer success.
  • Leverage discussion forums, blogs and wikis to build micro-communities focused on your solution.
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