At 10jumps we use Drupal heavily. Drupal offers very flexible, robust and rich UI experience. It is the platform we feel confident of proposing to our clients for their websites. One of our recent research work at 10jumps alongwith Acquia was to fiddle around with Drupal and SAP integration.
Why SAP? The core team at 10jumps have extensive SAP knowledge coming from SAP world.Well just not that! SAP offers the most used ERP solutions in the world.
Why Drupal and SAP? It is still missing in the Drupal community. SAP does sound intimidating at first to integrate with Drupal. But we have dug deep into the intricacies and have found out that it is possible.
Such an integration not only gives the flexibilty of using Drupal as the main platform to build the front-end but also gives us all the benefits that SAP ERP has to offer. Many businesses small or big use SAP ERP ( HR, CRM, SRM, SCM, Business Intelligence and more).
Now, with Drupal ( Drupal Commons specifically) it can make it possible for them to integrate various scenarios into SAP ERP and provide flexibility of using different front-end solutions.
What is Drupal Commons?
It is Acquia offering. As per the acquia website: Drupal Commons is a single ready-to-use solution that provides familiar tools from the social web to help you create positive buzz, loyalty, and satisfaction in your community. Drupal Commons pre-assembles for you all the features refined across tens of thousands of Drupal community sites. Plus, you can go way beyond that; since Commons is based on the wildly popular Drupal open source web CMS platform, so you get unlimited freedom to add or change how it looks or works to meet the unique needs of your community.
SAP & Drupal Commons can make an unique duo and provide the user all the rich and flexible Drupal Commons features (also free !!) alongwith SAP backend support. The following video shows the integration scenario between Drupal and SAP HR system. This video was also featured in a SAP hosted Acquia demonstration.
Some Technical details about the process of integration:
SAP ES Workplace: The prefect site for understanding and testing all SAP delivered services:
SAP has a site called “ES Workplace” – Enterprise Services Workplace where all the ES delivered by SAP are consolidate in one place. The aim is to improve adoption of these services and for learning and testing purposes.
The first step is to get access to the system using http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/sdn/soareg. The system that hosts all these services is HU2. You can also use sap_esw/eswork123 if you do no want to register.
The Enterprise service bundle for HCM Master data (Human Capital Management) can be accessed with http://esworkplace.sap.com/socoview(bD1lbiZjPTAwMSZkPW1pbg==)/render.asp?packageid=DE0426DD9B0249F19515001A64D3F462&id=A42BC625EB3346748253B1180B293C65
Also available are numerous simple samples that covers all the steps involved in a business process. For example: Create Leave Request business process uses nearly 7 services to perform the business operation.
All the Drupal scenarios use services from the HCM Master data ES bundle.
Since the SAP webservice and the Drupal commons are in different network we do not use Single sign on, rather we use a username/password authentication mechanism to connect to the SAP webservice. For this testing purpose we use the same user name/password for all our connections. Ideally we would be using the SSO, and each user would be connection to SAP using their own credentials.
All the SAP webservices are defined using a standard WSDL with one or more SOAP Action defined in it. All the SAP specific variables are defined using their own namespaces like “http://sap.com/xi/SAPGlobal20/Global“. Each SOAP Action takes optionally one or more arguments. To invoke a SAP webservice, you need to invoke a SOAP Action passing relevant parameters, and get back a return XML. Each of these services can be tested right in the ES Workplace (ofcourse only using IE) using the “Test with WS Navigator” button, which is a really useful tool to understand the workings of the webservice.
These webservices has been used inside the Drupal module to connect and communicate with teh SAP HR system and get data inside Drupal Commons.