Events-2-Business Framework – Create Shopfloor Confirmation in SAP S/4 HANA
Companies are driving the digitization of the factory, plants, warehouses, and business networks and creating an ecosystem by linking Information Technology (IT) with Operational Technology (OT). Bridging the gaps between different landscapes and processes with integrated frameworks is key for building a seamless, efficient, bi-directional collaborative ecosystem.
This scenario is built to trigger service tickets in SAP CX automatically for repair or maintenance based on critical events determined by IoT device.
The intention of the initial project was to set-up an event-driven framework based on SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) to respond to and integrate with events generated from industrial production processes in plants, warehouses, and logistics into enterprise business systems, triggering associated business processes to enhance enterprise operations and enable rapid decision-making. Target of this generic framework is to configure new scenarios rather than developing them individually. With the framework we reduce the implementation time significantly.
This scenario is fully built on the framework without individual development or modification.
See blog initial project shared by PVN PavanKumar (SAP Labs India)
See my blog about Events-2-Business Action Framework –
Create Plant Maintenance Notification in SAP S/4 HANA
Our aim is to adopt event-driven architecture, by building an open-source framework on the SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) which can integrate events generated from non-SAP platforms and solutions into SAP business processes thereby extending the value of existing SAP applications and processes. The events may originate from various sources such as IoT platforms, mobile and web applications, enterprise systems, and industrial production, logistics platforms, and so on. Thus, this framework helps in making business intelligent and interconnected to improve overall process efficiency. The Event-to-Business Framework can run on your own BTP or as SaaS solution provided by NTTDATA Business Solutions.
Figure-1: “Events-to-Business Actions” Framework
Industrial processes in factories, plants, warehouses, and logistics generate critical events from disparate and discrete industrial systems and there is a need to trigger business processes as a response to these events.
Create Shop Floor Confirmation (here with NTT DATA IoTConnect App)
- Simulation of a packing process in shopfloor which needs a worker confirmation
- We simulate the recording of
- Packed good parts
- This leads to a partial confirmation on a shopfloor order
- App triggers data record for each case and report to MS Azure IoT platform
- Stream each event and interpret content enriched by business rules to create functional transaction for “Shopfloor order confirmation“
- Trigger posting mechanism in SAP S/4 HANA
Figure-2: Process Steps
Sensor/IoT devices determine conditions
IoT devices with sensors monitor the operation-critical figures of an equipment and transmit them to an IoT platform for further activities. We simulate the case with an IoS App, developed by NTTDATA Business Solutions.
Figure-3: Simulate Shopfloor Confirmation
Ingest the data in an IoT platform
(here Microsoft Azure IoT Central)
Figure-4: Data Export to SAP Event Mesh
The event data is ingested in a platform, such as an IoT platform. In our scenario we use Microsoft Azure IoT Central. But any other platform, which can export data managed by rules, can be used. We select the records which are relevant for the process with Data Export functionality. In this step we also enrich the data string with content we need in the next steps of the Event-to-Business Framework. The data string is published on to SAP Event Mesh.
Activities in Event-2-Business Framework
Figure-5: UI modeler
As shown in Figure-5, this framework provides an out-of-the-box UI modeler that is intuitive to configure different types of actions like workflow or process execution that can be taken in SAP backend systems as an outcome of the incoming events from external sources via SAP Event Mesh.
In this scenario with our preconfigured actions, we create a shopfloor confirmations in a SAP S/4 HANA system. For flexible configuration we use main actions (for each transaction), which can be chained with pre-action and post-action activities.
Figure-6: Action Categories
Figure-7: Actions to create Shopfloor Confirmation
This framework leverages business rules capability within the SAP Build Process Automation, which lets you automatically choose a business action that should be executed for an incoming event based on the configured decision tables.
For the creation of a Shopfloor Confirmation you need the Main-Action to feed the API with all required fields to execute the transaction. The data to feed the API has its source in the IoT platform (see Enrichment) or is derived from business rules. A Pre-Action fetches the derived data from the business rules. The Post-Action is used for actions after the successful execution of the Main-Action. In this case we use it to update the production order and confirmation number in the device in MS Azure IoT.
Figure-8: Business Rules
Figure-9: Error Log
Every transaction processed is recorded in the (error) log. From the log lauchpad you can control the details of the event with its payload. A restart function is on the SAP development roadmap.
The architecture is based on leveraging the services of SAP Business Technology Platform which includes event-based integration with SAP Event Mesh, the upcoming event bridging functionality of SAP Integration Suite (Beta), Advanced Event Mesh (to be updated), Business rules capability in SAP Build Process Automation coming from SAP Workflow Management, SAP Destination Service, SAP Private Link service, SAP Connectivity Service and Cloud Connector and a Node.js extension application on the SAP Cloud Foundry runtime.
Figure-10: High-level architecture with SAP S/4HANA on-premise and private cloud
The following steps depict the information flow across systems
(1) Event is triggered from Microsoft Azure and is published on to SAP Event Mesh.
In Event-to-Business-Action framework (extension app),
(2) processor module endpoint is subscribed to SAP Event Mesh to receive the event.
(3) processor module leverages the Business Rules capability of SAP Build Process Automation to derive business action (For example, Purchase Order Requisition creation in SAP S/4HANA system) based on certain characteristics of incoming event.
(4), (5), (6), (7) and (8) processor module triggers the defined action in the SAP S/4HANA system using the SAP Destination Service and SAP Private Link Service.
In case SAP S/4HANA is on-premise and private cloud (refer to Figure-6) – communication with SAP S/4HANA happens via SAP Connectivity Service and Cloud Connector.
(9) and (10) are on the SAP development roadmap. SAP S/4HANA publishes an event (e.g., Plant Maintenance Notification creation) to Microsoft Azure Event Grid via SAP Event Mesh Connectivity Bridge for further processing by Microsoft Azure applications.
Key Advantages of This Architecture
Developers implementing this framework architecture would benefit from the following design considerations.
- A flexible and generic framework that can be easily extensible for any Line of Business (LoB) scenario /workflow/process and any source system events.
- Event-driven integration architecture with SAP Event Mesh as a central hub, including a bi-directional flow of events (Microsoft Azure to SAP S/4HANA and vice versa). We are also evaluating on leveraging Advanced Event Mesh (to be updated soon).
- Enriched with resilient and high availability architectural patterns.
- Network security-focused design with SAP Private Link specifically for RISE with SAP customers between SAP BTP on Azure (any region) and SAP S/4HANA on Microsoft Azure
Scenario Setup and Deployment
To get the entire scenario working, there are prerequisites and initial configurations required in SAP Business Technology Platform, Microsoft Azure, and SAP S/4HANA.
Please refer to the published GitHub repository and Discovery Center mission of the initial set-up (see blog).