Some interesting ‘Lean Offline’ scenarios can be realized by using SAP Interactive Forms by Adobe & SAP CRM. One of these is creation of Sales Prospects, which works like this – the user keys in all the relevant prospect related information in an Interactive Form. This information is then extracted to an XML file and is attached to an E-mail that is addressed to the SAP CRM system. Once this E-mail is received by the SAP CRM system, this prospect is created and the generated prospect ID is then E-mailed back to the user. One of the advantages of using this scenario is that even if the user is not connected to the internet, the E-mail containing the prospect information will reside in the outbox of the user’s E-mail client and will be automatically sent once internet connection is available.
To realize this scenario, the following components are required:
- SAP CRM 7.0 which includes the ‘CRM via E-mail’ (new with 7.0) & the Web Service Tool.
- Adobe LiveCycle Designer to design Interactive Forms.
- Your favourite E-mail client.
Once these are setup properly, one could start using Interactive Forms with SAP CRM to realize lean offline scenarios. Out of the many possible scenarios, creation of a Sales Prospect is illustrated below –
The user fills out a pre-designed Adobe Interactive Form with prospect information.
Upon filling the form, the user clicks the Submit by E-mail button, after which an E-mail is composed with an XML file as an attachment. The XML file contains all the user entered data from the Adobe Interactive Form, which can be processed by the CRM via E-mail application.
- Is required by the CRM system to create the Sales Prospect. The CRM System receives the email, checks the authorization rights of the sender and creates the Sales Prospect automatically.
After the Sales Prospect is created in the SAP CRM system, an E-mail is sent back confirming the operation and also providing (in this case) the Sales Prospect ID.
Once the user is back at the office desk, he can – if required – continue to add more details to the Sales Prospect that was created earlier.
From a technical point of view, this scenario can be realized within a couple of hours, since it only takes three steps:
Creation of the necessary web service interface – A web service has to be created for the binding of the Interactive Form. Web Services can be created based on the function modules (need to have a defined signature with Input / Output parameters) with SAP Netweaver Web Services Wizard or the CRM Web Service Tool. The web service is later used to design the Interactive Form, the underlying function module to create the data in the backend.
Creation of the CRM via E-Mail service – With the transaction E2C, a CRM via Email service has to be created. This service object contains basically all relevant information for the scenario – the Name of the service, the needed interfaces and the authorization information – to ensure that only authorized people can execute the scenario.
Creation of the SAP Interactive Form by Adobe template based on the web service schema – Finally, the SAP Interactive Form by Adobe has to be designed – based on the schema of the web service. It is required to use a web service schema and not a web service data connection. A ‘Send by email’ button has to be added to the form and the needed properties have to be assigned. Required properties are: the default system email address where the form should be sent to (maintained in SAP Connect) and the service name – as email subject.
Based on the service name, the CRM via Email transaction triggers the needed steps to create the Sales Prospect in the CRM system. Certainly, an authority check gets executed upfront.
A dedicated SAP Interactive Form by Adobe license is required for this scenario from SAP.
Adobe Document Services need to be installed on the NetWeaver java stack.
Current Adobe LiveCycle Designer has to be downloaded from SAP Service marketplace.
To ensure maximum secure e-mail communication, SAP recommends implementing a secure e-mail proxy to enforce digital signature and encryption. This has to be done following local laws and restrictions.
— With acknowledgements to Thilo Berndt, the co-author of this blog post, for his valuable input.