Honeywell and SAP Business One: Loosely-coupled voice solutions
For the past few years now, with respect to SAP Business One and Extensibility, we have presented and discussed “loosely-coupled” solutions. Loosely-coupled solutions are solutions that use SAP Business One for SAP HANA and the Service Layer as the main integration API. The Service Layer builds on core protocols such as HTTP and OData and is in stark difference to solutions built using the SAP Business One SDK, in that loosely-coupled solutions are not co-located with the SAP Business One core utilizing the DI and UI API interfaces. Loosely-coupled solutions are located separate from the SAP Business One core i.e. hosted elsewhere … you choose where that hosting occurs as well as how it occurs. In this manner, the SAP Business One system is treated as a “black box”. For more detail on loosely-coupled solutions, please see “Moving your SAP Business One on-premise solution to cloud”.
To highlight loosely-coupled integration, this article discusses a real-world example of how Honeywell utilized SAP Business One for SAP HANA, the Service Layer and SAP Cloud Platform (SAP CP) to build their “Guided Work Solutions voice-directed mobile applications”. Honeywell discusses why they chose SAP Business One for SAP HANA, the Service Layer and SAP Cloud Platform for integration to their voice solutions.
Honeywell Voice Solutions is taking our 25 years of expertise with our enterprise voice solution, which utilizes proprietary software and hardware, and entering the small to medium based market with a voice solution for Android/iOS. Specifically, Honeywell is emerging into this market with the Guided Work Solutions voice-directed mobile applications. Honeywell partnered with SAP Business One who had already developed a product for SMB customers that is affordable, easy to use, and implemented with ease. SAP Business One was already in the market and we could bring something new and exciting into the SAP domain, voice. For Honeywell Voice Solutions, picking is our sweet spot, so we wanted to start with the Picking functionality within SAP Business One.
As we started to educate ourselves on SAP Business One, we were looking for an easy interface to connect our mobile to SAP Business One for SAP HANA system. We had connected with other host systems and wanted a REST interface. This led us to the SAP HANA version of SAP Business One which provides the Service Layer interface. On our journey, we were fortunate to be teamed up with a panel of SAP Business One experts including Eddy Neveux, Idit Saguey, and Terence Chue. We used SAP CAL (cloud appliance library) to deploy a SAP Business One HANA instance onto AWS. The CAL gives you a Linux machine and a Windows frontend machine that was preconfigured with software preloaded. All it took was a click of a button. Here is the system architecture. Our Honeywell Sentience cloud handles the licensing, logging, analytics of the solution. Since we are a voice solution, it also has a template manager to handle the voice templates (unique to each user).
In addition, we used the SAP Cloud Platform (SCP) to deploy a simple Node JS server that demonstrated that we could proxy from the mobile device to a secure SAP Business One HANA instance. Currently, we are expanding the Node proxy to interface with SAP Business One SQL using the SAP Business One Integration Framework interface.
What is the end solution? From the information that we are provided by querying SAP Business One, we can direct the user to a location, confirm a product, direct them to pick a quantity, and send the result back to SAP Business One.
Looking back over the process, we were lucky to work closely with Eddy and Idit because some of the functionality that we needed wasn’t obvious on how to use it. With the good collaboration, we also helped to identify some limitations in the process for future consideration. The Service Layer interface had 90 percent of the functionality that we needed to obtain the picklist and obtain the items in the order and the respective quantities. For items not available in the Service Layer interface, we used HANA Studio and the Semantic Layer to add some queries. For example, we needed to obtain the bin locations for the items in the picklist so that we would be able to direct the worker where to pick from.
We took this workflow to the SAP BIZ.One Conference in Orlando. It was widely accepted. As we start partner relationships, we look forward to working closely with a SAP Business One customer. Although we started with picking, we plan to implement an end to end solution with SAP Business One. The implementation was quite easy once we understood the pieces, thanks to the SAP Business One team.
Jeff Pike – Senior Principal Software Engineer, Voice Solution Architect
Lori Pike – Software Engineering Manager, Mobile Applications
Eddy Neveux – SMB Solution Architect – North America