Recently we came across a customer who asked us “Hey, I have SAP NetWeaver Gateway. I can build services with Gateway Service Builder and can consume those services via SharePoint BCS very nicely. so why should I use/invest in this one more product Duet Enterprise? I can develop many Interfaces with just Gateway and SharePoint BCS!“
Below is a list with explanation as what exactly you will NOT get when you use only NetWeaver Gateway for SAP and SharePoint integration scenarios.
This might not be a comprehensive list and I might have missed something but lets just use the comments section below for more interesting discussions!
I will also not go into licensing part of Duet Enterprise here.
So here it goes:
1) Authentication (Duet Enterprise Add-ons for SSO):
a) With SharePoint Duet Add-on we get an extension for BCS called Duet Enterprise Odata Extension Provider. This component takes SharePoint user’s identity, interacts with SharePoint Secure Store Service to extract the Duet Root Certificate. Then, this component creates X.500 user certificate (supported technology by SAP NetWeaver) and sends to BCS Runtime. BCS Runtime then embeds this certificate to the HTTP request header and sends to NetWeaver Gateway.
b) SAP NetWeaver Gateway Duet Enterprise Add-on (which creates a Consumer ID for SharePoint) then reads this user’s identity, extract the User Context by using mapping tables of gateway. Gateway, then, translates SharePoint User’s context to SAP User Context (All processing is done by a background user in gateway system).
Gateway mapping tables are populated with Duet Enterprise out-of-the-box User Mapping options (Transactions/IMGs which also include Mapping Options using direct AD Attribute for SAP User names, if maintained of course!)
2) Authorization (Duet Enterprise Add-ons for Authorization):
a) Duet Enterprise SharePoint Add-on provides:
Out-of-the-box Web parts which Read SAP Roles
Extension of people picker feature to provide options to give permissions for SharePoint sites/lists with these SAP Roles
Extension of User Profile Store with field for SAP Roles
Timer Job to Synchronize SAP Roles to SP user Profile Store
b) Duet Enterprise SAP Add-on provides:
Already created SP consumer ID for Gateway
Options to assign and synchronize roles to Consumer ID
3) Reporting Capability: SAP and SharePoint add-ons for Duet Enterprise, provide out-of-the-box reporting capabilities (Asynchronous). This means that SAP ERP and BW Reports could be exposed to SharePoint as the defined formats of your choice (such as excel and PDFs ) and could be seen as documents in SharePoint reporting site.
These reports are response to an Asynchronous report request made from SharePoint. Report delivery could be configured in Gateway/Duet Enterprise Server (For Central Hub Deployment of Gateway). Currently, drill-down reports are not supported out-of-the-box (but, I assume it will come in near future).
4) Duet Enterprise Workflow Add-on: This is one of the most widely used features of Duet Enterprise. This add-on, again both on SAP and SharePoint, provides a mechanism on Gateway system (Central Hub) to configure workflow tasks to be sent to SharePoint and receive this contextual information of SAP workflow in the form of a SharePoint tasks. This is a deep form of people-process integration between SAP and SharePoint.
5) Tools support in SAP and SharePoint such as
a) Tracking of every request/reports from SharePoint all the way to your Backend
b) Duet Enterprise 2.0 Configuration Wizard (Available from Duet Enterprise 2.0 SP2 Onwards)
c) DE Check Configuration Tool
d) Mapping options between different workflow status in SAP and SP
e) Reporting and Workflow Administration options
f) Out-of-the-box support for SharePoint Online
6) Firm Road-Map and commitment from SAP and Microsoft for Feature Enhancements (for new features in Next Releases)
(Note: Below list is the outcome of only my guess and should not be taken as any commitment from SAP and Microsoft)
a) Deep Integration with MS Office Products
b) Out-of-the-box support for SAP BO
d) Enhanced Reporting and Workflow/Logging/Monitoring capabilities
e) Advantage from Gateway Road-map
7) Out-of-the-box (but not enabled) OData Services for some scenarios (For Ex: Customer, Inquiry etc.)
To conclude this Blog, I would just say, its not mandatory to use Duet Enterprise and you can use gateway/bcs only for SAP-SharePoint Integration. BUT, if you have a good road-map for both SAP and SharePoint in your organization, it will certainly take a lot of investment/planning/maintenance for building some of the features mentioned above. You must evaluate licence costs against above features to make an informed judgement.