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Dear Web Channel community members,

 
many good questions arrive us every day through various channels. In this blog we collect all the questions and provide the answers.
 
Disclaimer
We will do our best to understand and investigate upcoming questions and try to answer them as accurate and correct as possible. However, there is no guarantee answers are always 100% correct, applicable to your specific business case, context, configuration, landscape or scenario mix, etc. Therefore please take the answer provided here as valuable information but not as the unbeatable truth, as a piece of the puzzle so to say to make up your own opinion and decisions.
 
 
 
   
  • What are the main differences between Internet Sales/Web Channel (ISA/WEC) and the successor SAP Web Channel Experience Management (WCEM)?
    • Web Channel Experience Management (WCEM) is the successor of Internet Sales/Web Channel/ISA and has been redesigned from scratch and uses the latest internet standards like Web 2.0, AJAX etc.The differences to Internet Sales are so comprehensive that I have compiled a blog about the Evolution of SAP’s E-Commerce solutions, with special focus on WCEM.
 
  • Is it possible to run SAP Web Channel Experience Management without a CRM, meaning with an ERP backend?
    • Yes, this is possible from Release 1.0. The WCEM UI and technology are the same for any backend, but you should be aware that there are functional differences when using SAP ERP as backend. Please read the blog CRM vs. ERP – backend options and restrictions for detailed information.
 
  • Which ERP and CRM release is required for SAP Web Channel Experience Management?
    • You find this information in the Release Restriction Note for WCEM, see WCEM WIKI in section “Installation”
 
  • Which browser versions are supported by SAP Web Channel Experience Management?
    • Almost all recent browsers are supported. You find the details in the SAP Note 1622315.
   
  • Are preconfigured webshop configurations available?
    • Yes, WCEM supports configuration templates. Predefined standard templates are available. In addition customers and partners have the option to create their own templates.
     
  • Does WCEM support the creation and management of multiple branded storefronts sharing a centrally managed infrastructure, with distinct presentation, product assortment, and business rules?
    • WCEM supports the creation and management of multiple branded storefronts as well as microsites, sharing a common infrastructure with distinct presentation, products assortment and business rules through the concept of applications in the web channel builder tool. Multi-sites are natively supported as part of the architecture design principle. Roles and authorization are supported and enable different users to manage the various aspects of the shop lifecycle. The web channel builder tool empowers business users to setup and configure shops without the need for any technical know-how.
 
  • Is a SAP Enterprise Portal required to run WCEM? Conversely, can WCEM applications be embedded into a portal?
    • No, an SAP Enterprise Portal is not required for WCEM. WCEM runs as an independent JAVA J2EE solution. Either a SAP CRM or ERP is used as backend system. But of course the WCEM (from 2.0) can be embedded in an SAP Enterprise Portal using single sign on.
   
  • Is a PI (formerly known as XI) required for a WCEM scenario, or to transfer master data?
    • A PI is only required when ERP is used as backend and the Multi Channel Product Catalog (based on MDM) is used a catalog management system. PI is used to transfer the material master data from ERP to the Multi Channel Product Catalog. There is no PI required between WCEM and ERP, as all communication between WCEM & ERP is based on JCO/RFC APIs.
    • When using CRM as backend system, no PI is required for the communication between CRM, the Multi Channel Product Catalog and/or WCEM. 
 
  • How can the WCEM solution be implemented, e.g. on-premise, hosted, SaaS, hybrid, etc.?
    • WCEM can be deployed both on-premise as well as a hosted/managed solution. 
 
  • What are the hardware requirements for WCEM 2.0 in terms of sizing?
 
  • Which language versions of WCEM are available?
    • From Release 1.0 WCEM is available in 30 languages.
    • The following languages are supported in the SAP Standard delivery:

                 WCEM supported languages.jpg 

  • Social Media Integration
    • WCEM is designed to be extended by 3rd party systems, which are mandatory for almost any business. With the WCEM extension concept (see WIKI section Development and Extensions) you can include 3rd party systems like social media services, content management solutions, KM solutions, web analytics, etc. very easily and without modification. However, for social media data there is no out-of-the-box backend integration, if that’s a part of the question.
    • This how-to-guide describes how to integrate the Facebook and Google+ plugin within WCEM You will see how to customize and extend one of the WCEM modules in order to include the social media links in the page displaying the product detail, e.g. a button for sharing product information on Facebook and/or Google+. This example can be easily changed to be used with other social network engines.

  • What consumer touch points beyond the web based storefront does WCEM provide?
    • The following additional customer touch points are supported: mobile tablets, mobile phones (via CSS), in store kiosk, Interaction Center (CSR).  The solution can provide HTML5 output and offer complete freedom in terms of UI customization. Mobile URL re-writing is supported and mobile variants of the shop can be delivered. Native apps can be developed on top of the SAP web channel framework by plugging into the object layer of the architecture. Location-based services can be leveraged to deliver contextualized and personalized experiences to the user.
 
  • Are the applications (web shop, complaints etc.) offered in WCEM standard also available as Mobile Apps?
    • Mobile is a very important topic for WCEM. But because external facing Mobile apps, in particular consumer shopping apps, are quite individual, it’s hard to provide standard apps for this purpose. However, customers and partners who develop their own apps can connect them to WCEM to get the needed catalog, CRM and ERP business functionality in a secure and scalable way. Some customers already did this with the help of Web Channel’s extension concept (see WIKI section Development and Extensions).
    • Building a Mobile Web app based on WCEM is a task similar to adapting the HTML pages delivered by WCEM to a company’s specific needs. A dedicated stylesheet for mobile browsers taking into account the design suggested by a web agency can be established in the same way as it can be done for individual desktop browser versions. Usually, mobile devices have smaller resolutions than desktop browsers. Therefore, in addition, HTML pages are supposed to be optimized for mobile screens which in most cases means removing some of the page content or moving it to separate pages. Adjustments like this can be realized by the WCEM extension concept (see WIKI section Development and Extensions)

 

 
  • What about Search Engine Optimization?
    • WCEM supports customers with their SEO strategy thanks to the following capabilities:
      • The entirety of the catalog navigation is built in a SEO friendly manner  (‘GET’ navigation)
      • Support for metatags
      • Support for 3rd party URL rewrite tool
     
 
 
 
 

3rd Party System Integration

 
Check the development and extension guides in the WIKI for detailed information how to integrate a 3rd party solution.
    
  • Web Analytics
    • Can a Web Analytics solution be integrated?
      • Yes – 3rd party web analytics solutions to track the user’s behavior can be easily integrated using our innovative extension concept. Most web analytics solutions are integrated using a small java script, e.g. Google Analytics and WebTrends. For a demo event we integrated the web analytics solution from WebTrends with a small javascript in only 30min (done by WCEM architects though). Watch the webinar recording with SAP and WebTrends.
      • Check the development and extension guides in our WIKI for detailed information how to integrate a 3rd party solution.
 
  • Carrier Tracking systems
    • Is it possible to integrate with a Carrier’s website to track the shipment
      • With the WCEM extension concept you can integrate 3rd party solutions in the corresponding WCEM modules very easily.
      • Check the development and extension guides in our WIKI for detailed information how to integrate a 3rd party solution.
 
  • 3rd party Loyalty program
    • How does the Loyalty Management feature integrate with a 3rd party solution for reward redemption? E.g. a company assigns a 3rd party like Air miles for claiming the rewards?
      • The current solution supports own Loyalty programs. In case you want to integrate other Reward programs this can be done using the standard extension concept.
 
 
  • Content Management System

   

    • Is a Content Management System (CMS) required to run the WCEM webshop?
      • A CMS (Content Management System) is not mandatory if no dynamic content needs to be shown. Product information and pictures are stored in the catalog management system and will be retrieved from there.

 

    • Which parts of the webshop pages are provided by a Web Content Management System (CMS)?
      • Which content is delivered by CMS can be defined in a project. A typical setup would be to define specific parts of the web pages for content from CMS which then can be used to show marketing content like specific advertising. This advertising can be made dependent on different things like the page itself and/or the user. If e.g. the user belongs to a target group then a more relevant advertising can be shown. With the right CMS it is also be possible to base the advertising on the click behavior in the shop. So if e.g. a user has viewed several products from one product group, an advertising for one of these products or a similar product can be shown.
 
     
 
 
Stay tuned for updates. You can bookmark this blog to be informed about major updates.
 
Many topics of interest are explained in detail in corresponding Expert Blogs.
Please also visit our WCEM WIKI and our Service Marketplace area for customer/partner specific information.
 
 
     
Best regards,
 
Dr. Ingo Woesner
Product Manager
SAP Web Channel Experience Management – Rollout
Suite Development – Application Innovation
SAP AG
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