Introducing SharePoint / Office Web App Model
In my last few presentations to customers and partners about SAP NetWeaver Gateway and Duet Enterprise I not only talked about the out of the box content and the interoperability layer, but I also started to talk about the new SharePoint / Office Web App Model that Microsoft introduced with Office 2013 and Office 365.
After playing around with it — also using the new NAPA development tool — I am quite impressed. If you quickly want to see what is possible, just take a look at some examples and the above (marketing) video from Microsoft which shows how to integrate for example a simple Bing Map or some other APIs in your Office application.
As of today there are lots of apps that you can load from the Office Store which you can integrate in Excel, Outlook SharePoint, Word, …
The beautify of these new Web Apps is that they run both on your thick client (e.g. Outlook 2013), but also in your Web Application (e.g. in Outlook Web Access).
So why not combine this new Web App model with SAP data? Instead of playing around with information on Bing Maps, you could enhance the Office tools that you use with real business critical data coming from SAP! …and with SAP NetWeaver Gateway we have the perfect technology at hand to expose this SAP data via OData to any consumer.
After some introductions from my friends at Microsoft (-> Thanks Joyanta and Jürgen!) I started to create my first SharePoint app followed by an Outlook app. It is simply amazing what you can do there — and how easy it is.
As always there are several ways how you can do it (if you want to leverage OData for the data integration). Either you connect directly to your SAP NetWeaver Gateway system or you leverage the interoperability layer that Duet Enterprise provides on top.
Both approaches are possible but like in a lot of cases the Duet Enterprise integration can already take care of the “technical” integration aspects (security, SSO, cross origin policies, …) that you have to solve by yourself when connecting directly to SAP NetWeaver Gateway.
Regardless of how you integrate, I quickly want to show some of the examples that I had created. This is mainly to get you excited about the possibilities. In a follow-up blog I want to guide you through the process of developing the Outlook app — just using a browser. You don’t need a Visual Studio or something like that. Using the new SAP NetWeaver Gateway Developer Center you already have an OData service that you can leverage and using the Office 365 Developer Site you can even start with the consumption in SharePoint or Office applications.
So just lets take a look.
At first I used NAPA to connect to an OData feed (again: either coming directly from SAP NetWeaver Gateway using Basic authentication and some “tweaks” on the browser or Duet Enterprise where I have all the interoperability aspects taken care of)
and visual this in SharePoint.
Very simple, but it already shows what you can do with a few lines of code to create a nice UI (this was mainly to get me started :-)).
As a next project I created an Outlook 2013 application. This application should interact with SAP data in an automated way. I already had access to the list of Products (via the previous OData feed) so this time I wanted to react if in the Body of my Email a Product was mentioned (click on the pictures below to see them enlarged; in this case I am checking via regular expressions for something like “PRODUCT:[Letter][Letter]-[Number]” in which case I am showing the app “Retrieve SAP data”).
and via a click on the App additional information from the backend should be displayed
One project further I wanted to get more information on the sender for this email. So again I took the email address and used this to look up additional information in the SAP system
That’s it. These are just a few very simple scenarios, but I hope they show some of the potential of what you can do with this. When you see the code and time that is required to build these examples you will be even more impressed 🙂
(Actually at SAPPHIRE Now we showed together with Microsoft some more examples of a Word 2013 or Excel 2013 integration.)
If I was able to wake your interest, then I hope you are looking forward to my next blog in which I want to provide a step by step instruction on how to get started with these scenarios.
[Update] The new blog is now available. Please take a look at Getting started with Microsoft Office Web Apps and SAP NetWeaver Gateway
Hi Holger, tnx for sharing this is a very nice blog. I do see the power here. i noticed that my own O365 small business preview version comes with Duet Enterprise capabilities by default (beside some local installation of cource 😉 This would also handle interoperability and reporting and workflow capabilities.
Main question i have is:
- Is SAP going to provide standard content via the SharePoint store? Since they announced SAP Fiori last week it would be relatively easy for SAP to deliver to add WebApps baed on the same Netweaver Gateway Models (https://help.sap.com/saphelp_fiori/fiori10_install_en.pdf)
You know that most SAP customers are looking for end to end solutions and this fits in perfectly.
Any insights here ??
That is a great question and actually I was asked similar questions like this
in the past few days by some partners and customers.
As of now we do not have plans to create similar packages for Duet Enterprise. We always said that for Duet Enterprise we are very much leveraging the Partner echosystem.
However, having said that no-one prevents you from taking the services from an SAP Firoi app and building your own app in SharePoint. This again could be a very interesting offering from partners.
In general I think there are two things to consider:
integration via Duet Enterprise wanted to have a SharePoint like user
experience. Look and feel, experience and behavior should be exactly like
anything else you do in SharePoint. Similar like opening a document in
SharePoint it should be possible to work on SAP data in
SharePoint. In addition to that the data integrated in SharePoint
should behave like “SharePoint data”. A SAP workflow integrated
in SharePoint should act/behave like a SharePoint task. This is something
that obviously is not possible and not intended by SAP Fiori (or better the UI of SAP Firoi).
NetWeaver Gateway for the data exposure and brings some great looking UIs
for the consumption. In a way this is just like as you already say an application
template that can be used in SharePoint. However, all the specific
integration aspects in SharePoint are not taken care of. This is exactly
where an interoperability framework that takes care of Single Sign On,
Supportability or Security comes in. And for SharePoint that is exactly
what Duet Enterprise for Microsoft SharePoint and SAP provides. I have to
admit, I haven't tried it myself yet, but SSO from NetWeaver Gateway to a
UI in SharePoint is exactly what should be possible... In the worst case you really just take the services and build a completely new UI on top in SharePoint.
Like said these a just a few personal thoughts on this topic. I also
have not yet spent too much time on this topic, but hopefully I will have some
time in the near future to take a closer look.