In the last few months we have done some amazing things and I am happy to publish this first blog on SCN about the new SAP Gateway for Microsoft.
SAP Gateway for Microsoft
The SAP Gateway for Microsoft, GWM, provides a framework that extends the known and proven enterprise readiness that our customers are used from their business suite experience into the Microsoft world. The gap that each and every customer and partners had to bridge individually in the past, can now be closed via GWM (see http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-47563).
We have started to deliver a framework that provides single sign on, security, but also scalability and monitoring aspects to applications integrating in any C# based projects. We even provide templates that simplify the creation of the most common Outlook scenarios with only a few clicks.
With this you can easily create an Outlook integration which retrieves customer information from a SAP systems,
or an invoice approval requests that shows up as a task in Outlook,
a Windows desktop widget that notifies an administrator that a new user was created in her SAP System (following http://scn.sap.com/community/netweaver-gateway/blog/2012/12/03/gateway-pushing-notifications-made-easy),
a PowerPoint add-in that creates beautiful slides with charts coming from a BW System, …
For the business the possibilities are endless and for the IT there is nothing to fear – everything is still relying on SAPs proven enterprise ready framework. So anything that is based on GWM can easily scale.
Quite often projects directly driven by the business with not the strongest development background start small and with very few users. So supportability, globalization and monitoring aspects are usually not important. However, once the project attracts more and more users these topics become relevant – and that is exactly where GWM comes in and helps. Projects based on GWM allow for a quick and easy integration into SAP Solution Manager, End-to-End tracing and single activity tracing by this ensuring an enterprise ready solution from the very first line of coding.
But lets start from the beginning…
When we started our development journey developing the very first joint product between Microsoft and SAP, Duet for Microsoft Office and SAP, about 8 years ago the product, concept and ideas were extremely well accepted in the market. There was a lot of interest at our customers in being able to finally bring SAP data in the tools and products that their end-users were using on a daily basis. Although the product was used by a lot of customers, we received several requirements from our community. Mainly, the extensibility of the scenarios or the ability to build scenarios, as well SharePoint integration were the clear asks from you.
So listening to these requirements we sat down and introduced Duet Enterprise for Microsoft SharePoint and SAP in 2011. Duet Enterprise follows a very different approach. Instead of delivering pre-build scenarios it provides a framework that can be used by customers and partners to create any scenario possible. This concept turned out to be a huge success. Not only are customers finally able to really get the scenarios they are looking for, but also partners see a perfect opportunity to leverage their application-, industry- and scenario- specific know how to develop solutions without having to struggle with interoperability aspects. On top of that the templates that SAP and Microsoft provide help even further to bring beautiful scenarios to life. Today we have a very healthy partner ecosystem that supports a lot of customers around the globe to bring great user experiences to end-users.
This was all possible because on the SAP side we introduced SAP Gateway: an easy to use component that allows exposing SAP data in a simple, but secure and enterprise ready format. Similar on the Microsoft side the data can be consumed in SharePoint — and Duet Enterprise provides this secure interoperability platform, so that an enterprise ready end to end process is ensured.
This interoperability platform is what the IT department loves. Now they are finally able to provide their business with a secure enough interface that — while allowing the business to be flexible enough to address market requirements — still complies with legal, auditing, scalability and security standards. Since the Duet Enterprise platform is a proven, reliable and already many times “secure audited” platform any application build on top already adheres to certain security standards. That is certainly one of the reasons why Duet Enterprise is used by several chemical or pharmaceutical companies (which have to adhere to certain auditing and validation legal requirements) or even military related organizations (which obviously have extremely hard security requirements).
A lot of features like SSO, SSL, … but also cross-site-forgery-token-prevention ensure that the communication with SAP is secure. But this of course can only be leveraged if the client side is ready as well.
Looking at scenarios beyond SharePoint
When we talked to our customers and partners very often did we get the feedback that it is hard to develop the necessary code on the client to extend the enterprise ready functionality beyond the core SAP system and SAP NetWeaver Gateway. In a recent study developers expressed that only very few of them actually are specialized on security, authentication or authorization related topics. All these areas are fairly new and developers much rather like to avoid investing in these fields.
On the one hand you have literally millions of .Net developers and partners who know how to build beautiful applications. But they are lacking the know-how to populate these applications in an enterprise ready fashion with SAP data. On the other hand companies cannot trust that every developer knows what enterprise ready features really mean and running securityaudits for each and every little application is also not feasible.
Much, much more than “just” SharePoint
We also heard that although SharePoint is a very good place to collaborate, companies are also using other (Microsoft) products on a daily basis. Of course Office is core for many companies (Outlook is probably the tool that is running most of the time on my laptop), but also new products like Office 365, Apps for Office, the tiles and applications of Windows 8, LightSwitch, … are either already or becoming more and more interesting.
So we took all that into account and the result is the SAP Gateway for Microsoft, GWM
While we developed the product we already conducted several customer and partner validations and got some extremely good feedback. Customers and partners who had worked in the past with only Microsoft products can now very easily consume SAP data using SAP NetWeaver Gateway Productivity Accelerator for Microsoft — and provide scenarios that are ready to use with all the enterprise readiness features.
Even internally at SAP we see that colleagues who are using GWM do not have to “consume” their time on fulfilling SAP security and supportability related product standards to ensure the high enterprise ready quality that customers are used to from SAP, but they can simply take the SAP Gateway for Microsoft libraries and concentrate on the applications.
This not only speeds up the development time, but also ensures that no security holes are implemented by mistake by an inexperienced “security developer”.
I can only recommend to give it a try (http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-47563). GWM is now available and widens up the possibility. Adding to the great experience and Integration that Duet Enterprise for Microsoft SharePoint and SAP continues to delivers for SharePoint, SAP NetWeaver Gateway Productivity Accelerator for Microsoft now continues this journey towards any C# based application.
Stay tuned for more updates and if you happen to attend one of our SAP TechEds in Las Vegas, Amsterdam, or Bangalore, I would like to invite you to meet me or my colleagues at the Duet Enterprise and SAP NetWeaver Gateway booth (as well as our sessions) to hear and learn more about our great new offering: SAP Gateway for Microsoft.