“The flexibility of BPA Platform is remarkable. The things that you can do with it are out of this world. It never ceases to amaze me. Every single week are creating a new report or adjusting something; automating a task that someone has requested. It’s a constantly evolving platform for us. I always equate BPA Platform to being a staff member that never sleeps. It’s like an incredibly efficient person, or team of people, checking data, that never stops.” Malcolm MacLean, Global Head of IT, Graff Diamonds.
Above is one of the testimonials out of the many that I am sharing what customers have to say about the certified product BPA Platform by company Orbis Software Ltd (T/A Codeless Platforms). It has been a great experience to work on this Q&A with Stuart Tarrant, Head Of Communications from Orbis Software Ltd (T/A Codeless Platforms), to know about their company and their journey since May 2011 with SAP Integration and Certification Center, part of Partner Innovation and Lifecycle Services .
1) Thank you very much for accepting our request to discuss about your journey and experience with SAP ICC, what is Orbis Software Ltd (T/A Codeless Platforms) all about?
Founded in 1999, Orbis Software Ltd (T/A Codeless Platforms) is at the forefront of business process automation and rapid application development. With over 450 global partners, more than 7500 customers use Codeless Platforms’ BPA Platform (formerly TaskCentre) and Applications Platform, ranging from diverse global organisations to the small local enterprise.
2) When and how did Orbis Software Ltd (T/A Codeless Platforms) began their journey with SAP ?
As a direct response to SAP Business One customers enquiring about TaskCentre, we invested significant time and resources into developing TaskCentre for SAP Business One. This was released in 2006 and was specifically designed and priced to help SAP Business One channel partners meet customer demand for BPM and workflow capabilities within SAP Business One.
In conjunction with our customers and partners, we continued to develop the software. In January 2011 we joined the SAP PartnerEdge Programme, and in May 2011 the SAP Integration and Certification Center (ICC) certified that TaskCentre 4.5 had proven to interoperate with SAP Business One via the SAP Business One Software Development Kit (SDK) 8.8.
In December 2017, BPA Platform retained its SAP-Certified integration with SAP Business One for SQL, and also achieved SAP-certified integration with SAP Business One 9.2 for SAP HANA®. In February 2018, BPA Platform achieved certification with the SAP Business One® Cloud solution.
3) How did you get to know about integration certification and why was it important for Orbis Software Ltd (T/A Codeless Platforms) to apply for certification?
Customers who want to purchase add-ons for SAP will usually look for certification, because it means that the product follows specific SAP rules and the add-on behaves in the SAP software. It also gives us assurance that our code is working correctly; that we aren’t doing anything we shouldn’t do. That’s why it’s important for us to have certification. It instils confidence that our product is working correctly within the SAP system. Once you’re certified you are also listed on Certified Solutions Directory , so having certification certainly opens us up to more customers. Customers probably wouldn’t buy an add-on if it didn’t have certification. One of the main reasons for this is that if they are using an add-on that isn’t SAP-certified it might negate their warranty and support.
4) Can you tell us a little bit more about your certified product BPA Platform and its integration with SAP Business One?
BPA Platform 2018 uses the DIAPI to provide integration between SAP Business One and other systems using a number of modular connectors. It allows SAP Business One objects to be replicated in external systems and external system objects to be replicated back into SAP Business One.
BPA Platform is comprised of four capabilities, enabling businesses to achieve more with the systems they have in place.
- Data Integration & Synchronisation – integration with hundreds of applications, web services and systems.
- Notifications & Alerts – automate communications with customers, partners and suppliers.
- Report & Document Automation – automation of business processes that cross SAP Business One and practically any other business application.
- Workflow & Human Interaction – authorisation workflows that can start and end inside or outside of SAP Business One.
Most processes are achieved in a 100% ‘code-free’ experience. However, scripting can be called upon where standard functionality is unable to achieve a given solution. Business processes can be automated by dragging and dropping icons onto a canvas and linking them together in a process flow. Video: Introduction to BPA Platform
5) How long has been your experience with SAP ICC and if you can share your experience with us?
We have been working with SAP ICC since 2011 and have always found the people extremely helpful and easy to deal with.To start the certification process one has to fill out a number of documents, answering a wide-range of questions. This is to make sure that, before you get on a session and run through it, the product conforms immediately rather than constantly failing a session and having to repeat it. Once you’ve completed the forms, you can be a lot more confident that you have sorted out most things before you run through the formal certification. Once the documentation is agreed, you then have a session with the SAP ICC team on a shared machine. You formulate a test plan and then run through this with the team to make sure that everything is working as expected. Once they have observed the product being demonstrated, and are happy with it, they issue the certificate. It’s very straightforward and definitely worthwhile.
6) How did the certification help in improving the quality of the product and positioning it to customers?
Since 2006, we have made significant investment into developing BPA Platform in line with the evolution of SAP Business One, to help ensure that BPA Platform can continue to provide automation and integration capabilities for SAP Business One users.
The certification and membership of the SAP PartnerEdge programme provided us with access to a wealth of information and resources which helped us to further support the global SAP Business One partner channel.
The certification from SAP ICC ensured:
- The tight integration of BPA Platform with the SAP Business One architecture
- The stability of BPA Platform on both SQL and HANA databases, as well as running in the cloud landscape
- The implementation and provisioning of BPA Platform according to SAP development standards and guidelines
All this combined means that customers are confident of investing in BPA Platform, as they actively seek reassurance from the wider SAP community; certification plays an important role in delivering that. It has also led to greater partner engagement. Post certification, the SAP Partner community proactively enquired about our product and channel community, and it has made it easier for them to propose, sell and support.
7) What next for your certified solution BPA Platform?
We have strong relationships with our SAP Business One customers and partners, gaining significant insight into the pressures and issues they are facing. They are constantly requesting new tools, connectors and additional functionality, therefore we are developing and upgrading BPA Platform on a regular basis. It’s a constantly evolving platform that aims to help SAP Business One users improve business efficiency, reduce costs and gain a competitive edge.