Thursday, October 28, 2010

SAP project "Gateway" and Duet Enterprise

Project "Gateway" was prominent on the agenda of this years SAP TechEd. In an interview with, SAP’s Chief Technology Officer Vishal Sikka got into more detail on the role and proposition of Gateway, and the relation it has with the Duet Enterprise product.
Some remarkable statements, and messages derived from this interview:
  • Gateway is the bridge from the existing system, e.g. [SAP ERP] 4.6c application with all customizations, to the new world – SharePoint, Facebook, Twitter; without requiring your SAP customers to upgrade to a new version which is inherently service enabled.
  • Gateway is a mechanism to enable an existing SAP system that is dark to the outside world, and to put windows on it.
  • SAP Enterprise Services are usually large, and they are designed for process consumption, not for UIs.
  • The Gateway, think of it as a protocol adapter, that you can attach to a legacy SAP system and have it speak to the world outside.
  • Duet Enterprise is a product we have built with Microsoft that has the Gateway inside it that has the abilities to connect the world of SharePoint.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Duet Enterprise Overview presentation at SAP TechEd 2010

Virtual SAP TechEd 2010 presents the recorded 1-hour session CD109 - Duet Enterprise Overview: Consume and Extend SAP Applications Through Microsoft SharePoint and Office. The presenters were from SAP AG, Microsoft Corp and CapGemini. In this session the business goals of Duet Enterprise are outlined, at high-level the advantages it brings for companies doing or considering SAP / Microsoft interoperability, discussion of the architecture and runtime flow, and the development toolset + process. Accompanied by (life and pre-recorded) demo's.
Some of the take-aways of this presentation:
  • Duet [Enterprise] Service Consumption Layer is the first version of SAP's project "Gateway", embedded in Duet. The aim of project "Gateway" is provide simplified access to SAP:
    SCL, internally referred to as 'Gateway Layer'

    Framework built as an NetWeaver ABAP add-on, enabling simplified access to SAP software from any device or environment using standard market protocols

  • Primarily, Duet Enterprise is working as an Add-On on both sides; NetWeaver stack and SharePoint stack
  • [SAP service-enabling] Business entities from SAP available as Web Services; [SAP consumption] Discover SAP information as External Content Types in BCS, and connect to SharePoint/Office.
  • The ready to use Duet Enterprise capabilities, are also building blocks that you can use and even build upon in your custom solutions
  • SharePoint Duet Enterprise front-end development distincts 3 Solution Types:
    1. Simple - by end-user; within the SharePoint GUI
    2. Intermediate - by Power User; via SharePoint designer
    3. Advanced - by a .NET developer; via Visual Studio

  • Study on the effort it takes to develop SAP/SharePoint integration learns that without Duet Enterprise it costs 6 times
  • Create solutions very fast to address business (needs) very quickly. Not create very big applications, but small ones and do it fast
  • SAP services are fairly complicated, with nested and complex structures. SAP WSDL's kinda have their own definition, slightly away from the WS*-standards
  • Duet Enterprise can either map SharePoint users to SAP users through the Duet Enterprise User Mapping component, or connect to a LDAP that this mapping.
See also slides of the presenation

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Steps HowTo begin with SAP / MS interoperability

Important aspect of applying SAP-Microsoft interoperability within a company IT landscape, is how to start. Almost always the Microsoft and SAP departments form their own community in the company, with only limited contacts and co-operation between them, and no clear understanding of each others platforms, technologies and capabilities. See also earlier posts of Kristian Kalsing [1] and of myself [2] addressing this issue.
Raymond Smith [Microsoft Corporation] published an interesting article on this: Building an SAP/Microsoft Interoperability Team. In his article he distinguishes and details on the following aspects:

Aspects of Building an SAP/Microsoft Interoperability Team

  1. Build a SAP Interoperability Lab
  2. Determine a Proof of Concept Business Process
  3. Build Your Interoperability Team
  4. Cross Train Developers
  5. SAP Interoperability Training
  6. Determine Architecture
    • Security
    • SAP Architecture
    • SharePoint/.NET Architecture
  7. POC Development
I recognize [most of] these steps from own experiences with SAP / MS interoperability implementations. For the details, I strongly advice to read Raymond's article.