Why the integration between SAP MII and Excel Services
The SAP MII environment provides a way for customer to manage the calculations and flow of information from a multitude of real – time plant operations systems. Very often business users don’t have live access to system data and as a result have out of date views of the plant operations. By combining the SAP MII near real-time environment and the familiar business user reporting environment of Excel Services in Office 365 business users can now access enterprise and operations information on demand. From inside the Excel Services environment users have the ability to map responses of SAP MII query templates into tables and refresh them as needed. This will populate the latest data in aggregated and pre-calculated forms for quick and easy consumption and report building using Power View. Power View is an interactive data exploration, visualization, and presentation experience that encourages intuitive ad-hoc reporting.
The Resulting End User Experience
From inside the Excel environment you have the ability to map responses of SAP MII Query templates into tables and refresh them as you see fit. This will always populate the Excel environment the latest data that is accurate (IT Managed), aggregated, and in pre-calculated form for quick and easy consumption so the user can focus on report building using the latest Excel visualization tools (ie: Power View). From the MII reporting environment it is common to have web based reports with various KPIs that represent performance values across various dimensions and time ranges as shown in this example Production Cockpit report, note the value in the KPI as this is driven by the MII 14.0 KPI framework:
Additionally on this web page you can add HTML 5 controls like the Excel Interactive View which will allow you to pull up a user-interactive view of data right from the web page (2 lines of HTML):
The SAP MII 14.0 KPI Monitor (MII Menu -> Alerts and KPIs -> KPI Monitor) will allow a user to create views of various KPIs over different dimensions and time ranges based on what IT has configured. These KPIs can be tiered to provide an aggregated rolled-up view of values across the dimensions and other KPIs as defined by information flowing directly from the operations systems or from user input into MII in order ensure data is accurate and visible in real time and is managed by the IT team to ensure quality and accuracy of the data:
The KPI data can come from any system that MII can communicate with including manual user input where no automated means exist. These KPIs can also be feed by the Plant Information Catalog (MII Menu -> Catalog Services -> Plant Information Catalog) which provides enterprise context to sensor network data that can be viewed and managed by the business user community without impacting the existing SCADA/Historian configuration. The PIC serves as a way to join the SAP ERP EAM Asset Hierarchy (Func Loc, Equip, and Meas. Pts.) & PP(-PI) (Work Center/Capacity) hierarchies with the plant operations business names and Historian/DCS/SCADA/HMI sensor network structures providing a single view of sensor network data across the enterprise. This sensor network data along with the associated ERP meta-data can be used to feed calculations of KPI values across various operational dimensions.
SAP Plant Information Catalog (PIC)
The SAP MII 14.0 Plant Information Catalog (PIC) allows users to combine information from various sensor networks and SAP PM & PP(-PI) data together into a single operations view (the ERP integration with PM and PP(-PI) comes in SP04 which is planned for November 2014). This catalog can be used to populate the KPI framework with live equipment measured data values and dimensional information so that it can be accurately reported to local users and also to the central long-term environment of BW or HANA. The catalog also provides a means for business users to manage and update their reporting information without the involvement of the IT team but still goes through an approval process that is managed on productive system. To view the configuration of the PIC from the MII Menu select Catalog Services -> Plant Information Catalog and you will see a screen similar to the one below. Here tag search and discovery can be done in order to find out which tags map to various assets and what types of monitoring sensors exist for that particular assets and how they map into their respective ERP definitions. It also helps to provide a business user namespace to a sensor network whose naming convention is typically not business user friendly; traditionally this naming convention is very Electrical Engineering centric and various across different systems and geographical locations:
Now that the data is live and exposed for users from an IT delivered web page for sharing and collaborating on data how can a user take the next step and perform (securely) their own analysis on this data? The answer is by leveraging the work that IT has already done around creating KPIs and managing data visibility while scaling to meet the speed of the business user demands across the organization. As a result of these pressures the IT department is often left understaffed to deliver and manage all of the visualization requirements that the business users have so we are providing a way to do both using the same IT managed data. The MII product has the ability to connect directly to a wide range of shop-floor systems and provide SAP ERP information and context to these systems. Conversely, it can also provide a way for these systems to natively interact with the SAP ERP backend. All data visible to the MII environment is then exposed via HTTP services or to other business systems for users to consume, and in this case this means via the Office 365 Excel interface. Documentation on how to setup and consume these REST services from Excel is documented in detail here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/office/jj670097(v=office.15).aspx
In the “MII Façade” view on the right side of the screen select the entity you wish to update live from the MII instance and press the Get OData button then Reload Table button, finally right click and Reload the Power View page. This will now show you updated information that will match the MII reports and also a couple of examples we have built in order to showcase the solution:
System Architecture and Positioning
Now that you understand the scenario and how it works it’s time to move onto the technical details about how we can best leverage and manage security when working with SAP NetWeaver Gateway, MII and the Microsoft Office 365 products. The recommended architecture for this scenario is a central Microsoft Office 365 Cloud that is supporting Office users across the enterprise and distributed instances of MII providing visibility to the local operations systems (Local reports for local users from local systems). The SAP NetWeaver Gateway and Mobility Platform solutions also play a role in the overall solution.
Positioning with SAP NetWeaver Gateway & the Mobility Platform (SMP)
The SAP NetWeaver Gateway and Mobility Platform products typically reside centrally at an enterprise so that applications can be built centrally and deployed locally to the various business users regardless of the device and platform. These devices and their applications can then retrieve data on-demand from the central SAP NetWeaver Gateway server or from the local MII instance depending on the type of SAP business data required by the application. This is outlined in the architecture diagram below:
SAP NetWeaver Gateway and MII Working Together
The SAP NetWeaver Gateway product provides the same OData feed for the ABAP stack as MII provides for the JAVA stack. It also typically resides at the central enterprise level close to the central business suite, whereas MII typically resides local to the manufacturing operations systems as shown in the previous Mobile Architecture for SAP Manufacturing diagram (See SAP Mfg Implementation Architecture for additional details). The SAP NetWeaver Gateway team also is planning (Q3 2013) to release an additional SAP Add-on to the market that will plug into the Microsoft cloud infrastructure to help IT better manage security and user permissions/authorizations across the Microsoft and SAP boundaries to simplify the user experience (this demo uses HTTPS and SSO authentication). This SAP Add-on module for the Windows Azure Cloud environment is planned to be releasse in Q4 2013 and to work for both the SAP NetWeaver Gateway & MII products for simplifying the user authentication between the Microsoft and SAP environments and will also facilitate secure communication of data between these environments:
Well I hope that you have enjoyed this Blog and look forward to publishing more for the SAP MII community to enjoy in the future. Please feel free to reach out to either your SAP or your Microsoft Account Teams for further information on this solution and they will be happy to assist you and provide the proper insight and support you need.
Also, if you feel like something was omitted from this Blog please let me know.
Additional Reference Content