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Contents

1 Introduction

2 Audience

3 Scope

4 Prerequisite

   4.1) Technical Skill

   4.2) Software

5 Technical Overview

   5.1) Architecture of WCEM

   5.2) Web channel Core Framework

   5.3) Module Management

   5.4) Configuration Data Management

   5.5) Module Configuration

6 Advantages

7 Disadvantages

8 Future Scope

9 Future Versions

10 SDN Links

References

1. Introduction

SAP Web Channel Experience Management (WCEM) is the latest E-Business Suite by SAP. It is a state-of-the-art web solution that was re-architechtured from scratch using the latest Web 2.0 and Java standards to allow a pixel perfect UI. It delivers end-to-end processes for E-Commerce, E-Marketing, E-Service, and Web Channel Analytics on a robust and easily extensible Web Channel platform, including 3rd party solutions.

2. Audience

            The document can be used by the Technical Consultants as a startup material, for those who have who have a knowledge of SAP ABAP, SAP CRM, Web 2.0 Technologies and Servlet Architecture in JAVA Environment ( Especially JSF 2.0 ), for starting development in SAP CRM Web Channel Experience Management.

3. Scope

SAP Web Channel Experience Management allows us to create and deploy Web shops – a form of electronic commerce which allows consumers to directly buy goods or services from a seller over the Internet using a web browser. Thus, enabling us to turn the Web into a profitable sale, service and interaction channel. The solution offers a full range of e-marketing, e-commerce and e-service functions to your Web shop customers.

Also, SAP WCEM allows us to set up Web shops for the consumer scenario or the contact scenario. In the consumer scenario, Web shop customers act for their own account. In most cases, they will be private persons ( B2C Scenario ). However, they can also be self-employed bricks-and-mortar shop owners, for example. In the contact scenario, Web shop customers act on behalf of an organization they are related to ( B2B Scenario ). In most cases, the organization will be the company they work for. However, the organization can also be a family, a club, or other. Consumers and companies alike get access to easy and powerful online self-services. With the line blurring in terms of user experience between the two groups, both types of Web shop customers get an innovative, intuitive and rich user interface allowing the casual users to purchase and get support online and the business users to manage their ongoing relationship with the vendor, with more sophisticated options.

4. Prerequisite :

     4.1. Technical Skills:

Following are the Technical skills needed to deploy and run a Web channel management application.

  • JSF 2,
  • CSS3 / HTML5,
  • JavaScript,
  • Velocity (for generating the HTML),
  • GenIL and a another Search Framework (SAP specific for backend interactions),
  • O Data (for Web-Services) using ATOM or JSON as the output,
  • Ajax,

     4.2. Softwares :

Following are the Softwares needed to deploy and run a Web channel management application.

  • Netweaver Development Infrastructure (NWDI) – 7.3
  • Netweaver Developer Studios (NWDS) – 7.3
  • Web Channel development workbench plug-in
  • MDM Connector
  • MDM Java API
  • WCEM MDM Repository (Predifned Rep. Structure for WCEM)

5. Technical Overview:

     5.1. Architecture of WCEM

Image 1.JPG

The SAP Web Channel Experience Management platform is based on a typical 3-layer architecture:

  • UI and interaction layer
  • Business object layer
  • Back-end object layer

The intention of the 3-layer architecture is the logical process separation of a Web-based application. All 3 layers communicate with each other through well-defined interfaces. This allows a high degree of extensibility and reusability. That means, for example, that a particular business object can be replaced or extended by a custom implementation,without adjusting the dependent UI and interaction layer or the back-end object layer.

Besides this, flexible configuration data and module management are available to support extensibility and reuse of already implemented business processes. To enable business users and administrators to easily manage the deployed application with their modules, a Web-based application, called Web Channel Builder is available. In addition, several common services such as search framework and user management are part of the framework and can be used in each implemented module.

    

     5.2. Web Channel Core Framework

The Web Channel framework is built on the Web Container of SAP NetWeaver Application Server (AS) Java. Web Container allows clients to execute request/response-oriented programming code based on the servlet technology, so that a servlet receives a request in the form of an HTTPServletRequest and returns a response in the form of an HTTPServletResponse. This technology is the basis for Java Server Faces (JSF), which is a Java standard framework for building server-side Web applications. By using JSF, the UI development is driven by Facelets, which apply a component-driven pattern.

The UI and interaction layer is based on JSF 2.1 and represents the highest level of the Web application with a focus on the user interface to render the requested content. Several extensions were implemented by SAP on top of JSF to provide suitable functionality for state-of-the-art Web applications. Because the framework integrates deeply the JSF technology, we recommend strongly to get familiar with the standard JSF to get a better understanding of this layer and the programming model.

The architecture of JSF implements the model-view-controller design pattern, where the views and controllers are contained in the UI and interaction layer, but the model is contained in the business object layer. That means that the business object layer represents and holds the processed business data within a user session, and provides business functionality that is not connected to any back-end system details. If business objects have to communicate with a back end, they will never access them directly from their level but instead using well-defined interfaces provided by corresponding back-end objects.

The back-end object layer implements these interfaces to provide multi-back-end functionality. Although these implementations are backend-specific, the interfaces themselves are not. The back-end objects are mainly responsible for exchanging data from/to a back-end system like SAP ERP or SAP CRM. At this level only, specific logic related to these back-end systems is implemented, for example, the call of an ABAP function module.

To summarize, the UI and interaction layer typically communicates with the business object layer to receive the requested data. Then the business object layer communicates with the back-end object layer to access business data that is not yet available, the backend layer then accesses the  data that is persisted in an underlying back-end system. All the intercommunications between the layer occur through the standard SAP built interfaces.

     5.3. Model Management

All business functionality built upon the Web Channel framework is based on the modularization paradigm. Modules, as encapsulated building blocks of SAP WCEM, provide reusable units of functionality, which can be assembled into an application at runtime using the Web Channel Builder tool.

Technically, the module concept provides an encapsulated development approach at design time and a decoupled deployment model at runtime.

The main advantages are –

  • High degree of interchangeability and technical decoupling
  • Improvement of maintainability
  • Optimized development-deployment cycle
  • Well-defined usability parts

         Image 1.JPG

Each module has a unique module ID and a standardized structure modeled by module parts. Each part contains different aspects of a module, and each part contains certain information or pieces of functionality that are available to other modules or the runtime framework. The following parts are available:

MD part (metadata)

Metadata related to the entire module is stored within the MD part. As well as some fundamental data like a module ID or module type, references to other configuration files and dependencies on other modules are also defined in this part.

UI part (UI implementation)

The UI and interaction layer of a module is developed in the UI part, and certain view components and pages can be made public to other modules. The UI part itself does not contain business functionality, but only implements the presentation layer and uses view component handlers that are defined in the UI repository and managed by the Web Channel framework.

Technologies used: JSF 2.1, Web Content Management.

BO part (business and back-end implementation)

All the modules business and back-end object layer functionality is developed within the BO part. Business objects can be made available to other modules by defining and implementing interfaces.

INTF part (interfaces)

The INTF part owns all module interfaces related to the functionality offered by a module that can be used by other modules. Other modules may only define references to the INTF parts, but never directly reference the UI part or the BO part.

DPU part (deployment unit)

Each module has its own deployment unit, which is achieved by the DPU (deployment unit) part. As a build result, an EAR or SDA file will be created that contains one JAR file per module part (MD, UI, BO, INTF). Since each module has its own deployment unit, modules can be deployed decentrally and independently of each other.

     5.4. Configuration Data Management

Configuration data management (CDM) is a framework component that provides the functionality of creating, maintaining, reading, and persisting Web Channel-related settings. CDM is used by the administration tool Web Channel Builder to create and store settings, and it is also accessed by the modules during runtime to read the module settings.

The following CDM entities have a hierarchical relationship to each other:

Application

An application represents a long-term-focused frame with only a few global settings, such as back-end type (SAP CRM or SAP ERP) or user storage system. Each application has a stable ID, which is used when accessing the Web site to determine the current active configuration.

Configuration

Each application contains one or more configurations. One of the most important pieces of information on configuring header level is the “valid on” date and time, where the starting point of productive availability is defined. Additionally, each configuration has its own settings such as UI themes, pages with layouts, and most importantly, the selected modules as a basis for the available business functionality.

In general there are three groups of configurations:

  • Pending
  • Active
  • Expired

    

     5.5 Module Configuration

Web Channel Builder

            It is used to set up Web Channel applications and function as Web sites. Web Channel Builder allows us to combine various modules and configure them in one application. You can create various configurations of Web Channel applications, which allows us to make changes to the functions that are available in your Web Channel application and to change the appearance of the application by, for example, changing the theme or the page layout.          

The following picture shows a Web Channel Builder setup for configuring a WCEM application.

     Image 1.JPG

            Each configuration defines which modules are part of it. Each module can have again module-specific settings, which contain all the Customizing data for a specific customer scenario.

The following picture illustrates the hierarchical CDM entities: application (“B2C Shop”), configuration (“Easter”), and module configuration (“Marketing”, “Catalog”, …). Additionally, the three kinds of configurations are shown: pending, active, and expired:

Image 1.JPG  

6. Advantages

    • A great user experience with a pixel perfect UI, with a UI technology based on the latest web standards like Web 2.0, AJAX, Java Server Faces
    • Scenarios are now simply configured by non-IT staff with many options with a web tool “Web Channel Builder”. All available modules from E-Sales, E-Marketing and E-Service can be used in a scenario without disruption. And we can have as many scenarios as we want to. Test new scenarios and UI variants upfront on your local PC, and schedule the release time of new scenarios.
    • A great search and navigation experience. Especially, when using the Multi Channel Catalog based on SAP MDM.
    • State-of-the-Art E-Commerce and E-Marketing features like advanced realtime product recommendations based on BI data, gift cards and wish lists, loyalty management.
    • Integrated E-Service features like a “My Support” Home Page, ticket based service management, installed base management, contract determination, contact users, Guided Flows, Community Management, Knowledge Management with eGain.
    • Multi channel features like physical store integration with a graphical map-based Store Locator, In-Store Availability,
    • Generic Article support for SAP Retail customers, structured article, sets, lots, etc.
    • Enhanced Payment Methods (e.g. PayPal), Quick Check Out and others which can be easily implemented via the Payment module.
    • A powerful, well described and easy applicable extension concept to build partner and/or customer extensions based on standard shop modules or to create your own modules. The modularization concept is designed to use ALL modules and their extensions in any scenario without additional project effort, just by configuration in a new web tool called “Web Channel Builder”.
    • Simple integration of 3rd party solutions like a Content Management system, knowledge management, web analytics, image server, PIM, Social Media platforms, … by leveraging the new extension concept.

7. Disadvantages:

      1. You cannot search at any time for any Sold-To and then switch from it, then continue with other operation on a webshop.
      2. After selection you have to Logout and login again to be able to switch to another Sold-To.
      3. The Version WCEM 2.0 can support complete B2C Scenario and only some features of the B2B scenarios. Greater support for the B2B scenario is provided by WCEM 3.0. 

8. Future Scope:

            The WCEM 3.0 has been fully functional and is globally available from the date May 29, 2013.WCEM 3.0 is developed to provide a complete support to both the B2C and B2B Scenarios.

9. Future Versions:

            Presently WCEM 3.0 is now available. Till to date, there has been no official announcement on any future versions of WCEM.


10. SDN Discussion Links
:

Getting started with WCEM.

http://scn.sap.com/thread/3364010

Setting up and Debugging a WCEM Application

http://scn.sap.com/thread/3364011

Version of the software needed to develop WCEM Application.

http://scn.sap.com/thread/3367046

References:

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9 Comments

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  1. Andreas Halbig

    Hi,

    thank you for this summuration of information.

    The Version WCEM 2.0 can support only B2C Scenario, and is not developed to support B2B scenario.

    this is not correct, WCEM 1.0 had a B2C focus and with 2.0 a lots of B2B functionality was introduced – 3.0 just enables some additional features.

    Presently WCEM 3.0 is now available. Till to date, there has been no official announcement on any future versions of WCEM.

    The Service-Pack 1 for 3.0 was straight after the end of the Ramp-Up of 3.0 annoucned (3.1). You will now get more often Service Packs rather then bigger jumps in the version number, but this does not mean you get less features. Maybe we see the next version Jump 4.0 with the introduction of a newer more advanced PIM system especially after the most recent newest – it might take until  2014.

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      1. Andreas Halbig

        I responded late in the night and forgot to say, that you did a good job. It’s good to see, how fast you established ground and found your way with WCEM – it’s very valuable!

        I personally see some more items for the  “disavantages” list, nothing dramatic – i probably would call it “recommendation/optimzation” as it actually is not a real disadvantage. It’s helpful to be aware about, that the HTML code is a bit bigger as it looks like on screen as it was designed to be adjustable with CSS in any direction (more generic) and not  optimized to the maximum for the high traffic loads – nothing critical for B2B and smaller B2C projects. The big B2C players  will completely write & apply their own theme – within this process you should  try as developer to also adjust the velocity scripts to generate only HTML code that you need.

        Regarding your “sold-to” problematic, you can “easily” enable this with some few lines of code. You need to perform a logout and login on fly without making the customer aware about it, which must kill your current session. Everything you see on screen is linked to your sold-to (even the pricing and available calalog items/nodes) including business roles – that makes everything quite problematic. That’s why SAP did not simply provide you a switch out of the box. I personally hope this feature will be added someday to provide a best-practive approach

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      1. Andreas Halbig

        Hi Nikhil,

        i personally use a System in the cloud, but it’s within a private cloud that won’t be accessible to you – unfortunately I did not spend time to evalulate any hosting providers for such service – but why not setting up your own environment? You can simple install WCEM and a IDES system on Amazon EC2 – it’s your own requirement and low cost for maintanance.

        Btw. You will be able to get your hands on a WCEM system, if you take the SAP WCEM training session with SAP – i would recommend everyone to do that.

        Regards,

        Andreas

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        1. Nikhil Prateek Kulkarni

          Hello Andreas Halbig

            So whome to contact for the training Sessions. Is there any Contact person or Email id where in i can ask more details. I am C user in SAP INDIA working for one of CRM Projects.

          Thanks and Regards,

          Nikhil Kulkarni 

          (0) 
    1. SHA MARR

      Hi All,

      I have a question. We are using ECC for sales and CRM for just interactions, service tickets. No materials and pricing in CRM but only customers.

      WCEM can talk with both CRM for Interactions, service tickets and ECC for Sales order at a time. We need a single portal whcih can communicate with CRM and ECC.

      Is it possible, what is the best option. We do not want sales in CRM as it will be a big scope change.

      Please advise.

      Sha.

      (0) 

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