The Architecture of the new Automotive Dealer Portal
Shiny layouts, easy navigation and some handy features for daily users are aspects of the new Automotive Dealer Portal, but what comes with the new technology, the SAP Web Dynpro?
Is it you who is asking for some insights of the skeleton of the new Automotive Dealer Portal? I think so, otherwise you can stop here and switch to your next read.
From here on, I will write using the term dealer portal, instead of Automotive Dealer Portal, makes my life easier.
However, before digging into the details of the new dealer portal, let’s take a look at the suggested dealer portal system landscape:
The System Landscape for the New Automotive Dealer Portal
What does this picture mean?
You see one box.
No more separate SAP Web Application Server and no more separate IPC server installation, as required before ERP2005. The multi system approach for the dealer portal is over.
However, if you want to separate the Dealer Portal frontend from the ERP backend, you need to install a complete Ehp4 system for the Dealer Portal and maintain according Dealer Portal customization. That EhP4 system then can run in the DMZ and needs to be connected via RFC connections to the backend, the EhP4 System.
There are some packages, functions and other switches that need to be activated, respectively installed. Here is a simple overview how to get to a system that is ready for customization.
First step, the SAP ERP 6.0 must be installed via the SAP Solution Manager, then Enhancement Pack 4 has to be installed via the same tool. Then in the ERP system, you decide which Business Functions you want to use. The tables give an overview what has to be switched on and installed for which case.
- The Business Function WTY_DP_1 will activate the Business Function Industry Specific Sales Enhancement EA-ISE.
- The Business Function Auto_DP_1 will activate the Business Function DIMP-SDUD, what will also activate the Business Function LOG_SD_CI_01. The lean order program interface “LORD” what is part of the Business Function LOG_SD_CI_01 is used.
=> You can see the statuses of the switches in the “switch framework”, transaction code SFW5. More about Business Function Set and individual Business Function and its dependencies can be analyzed with transaction “Display Business Function”, SFW3.
Business Packages installed in the SAP Enterprise Portal:
Note, with the next SAP Enhancement Pack, EhP 5, there will be some changes.
These dealer portal Business Functions include user interfaces and Web Dynpro applications including options for adjustments and customization for all three applications. The Business Packages include menu structures, roles and views for the SAP Enterprise Portal. The installation of the SAP Enterprise Portal is required for the Business Function Auto_DP_1. The warranty application can run without its Business Package; instead of the SAP Enterprise Portal, the SAP Netweaver Business Client then has to be deployed to the users. All these Business Packages can be downloaded from the SAP Service Market Place.
The SAP Internet and Pricing Configurator (IPC) comes with ERP 6.0. The JSPs run on the J2EE, the IPC server is part of the Application Platform (AP) – no more Virtual Machine installation required.
The definition of what users can do and how they are supported is done via authorizations, role assignments, menus and further user-specific personalization.
- Authorizations for the dealer portal are defined related to back-end applications.
- The menu structures for all three dealer portal applications come with the three Business Packages for the dealer portal. In the SAP Enterprise Portal, dealer user-IDs are to be assigned to the roles that are related to the pre-defined menu structures.
- Exception Warranty: The Business Function Warranty provides a role, the “SAP_COCKPIT_DPWTY”, what can be used for the users who access through the SAP Netweaver Business Client.
Beside those settings and assignments, nothing else needs to be done for the dealer users.
Changes to delivered roles and menu structures can be done by copying. You then can simply change your copies.
- Personalization refers to settings each user can make for his/her own user. Pre-defined personalization is, for example, about the VMS organizational role assignment, and some other useful settings.
Finally, with the new dealer portal, log-on and log-off functionality is there, as in the SAP Enterprise Portal respectively of the SAP Netweaver Business Client, is available and applicable.
Architecture of the new dealer portal Business Functions
All three Business Functions access the “back-end” functionality directly. Compared to the old dealer portal, that was mainly done by wrapping available BAPIs, now, often a direct call to the Warranty, Vehicle Manager and SD function modules (APIs) is established.
The big advantage is that customization (enhancements) on the “back-end” side is now available in the same way for the “front end”. Specifically the extensions of the VMS structure “VLCDIAVEHI” don’t need to be added to the VMS BAPIs’ structures (incl. mapping the extensions) as before. For Spare Parts Ordering, the LORD interface is used as “back-end” integration. This enables a direct access via the front-end to extensions residing in the back-end.
All this is done through the “model layer”. The model layer has per call to the back-end, BAdis for customer-specific adjustments implemented. So, the dealer portal is open to add any customer specific requirements.
The new dealer portal‘s design follows the model-view-controller technique as enforced with the SAP Web Dynpro technology (more information on SAP Web Dynpro Technology for ABAP can be found in the SAP Netweaver wiki.
So, what is in the view-controller layer in the picture above?
Beside many new web dynpro components that carry the functionality of the three dealer portal applications, some pre-defined SAP web dynpro components have been used:
- ALV List: Sorting, filtering, column selection and some other settings for those tables can be defined as individual views and also by a system administrator, then available for all users. With this tool, those data tables can be print and downloaded, for example to MS Excel.
- Powerlist: The work lists have been built using the POWL web dynpro component.
- The Floorplan Object Instance Framework OIF gives the framework to display objects, like vehicles, and its details, like pricing schema. The OIF is filled by other dealer portal web dynpro components. Resulting layout and navigation is very common for all dealer portal applications and as this pre-defined web dynpro component is used for most of the SAP web user interfaces, the dealer portal user interface does have a very similar look&feel as other SAP web user interfaces built with the same technology, the SAP Web Dynpro for ABAP technology.
- The Floorplan Quick Activity Framework QAF is used when the OIF could not be used. Simple example is the vehicle search screen.
=> You should go for system access if you want to dig into the details of the dealer portal web dynpro components.The web dynpro components are linked via navigation table settings. This is done in the IMG. Instead of one IMG knop for all three dealer portal applications, we decided for three branches, each underneath of the according back-end application IMG tree.
|Spare Parts Sales||Warranty||Vehicle Management System|
Screws to turn to customize it
Customization is always a mixture of customer-specific table settings, done in the implementation guide IMG – you see the structures above- , and additional, customer-specific code.
All three branches have application typical settings, but in common, a table for the navigation settings:
In this table, the assignment of typical application functionality as build in web dynpro components, according views and a launchpad entry is done. Here, the user navigation from which to which process step is defined.
In a simple table.
More information about the dealer portal?
You’ve seen the concept of the one-system approach, the set-up of user access and basics on the architecture using SAP Web Dynpro for ABAP.
Is this enough information to be at the right level of comfort with the dealer portal? There are some places to look for further and more detailed information on the new dealer portal, and I believe, system access is also a good source to look at.