Learn the process in how we create external SAP portals for our clients. In this case study we address specific problems and develop business software solutions to counter them.
Creating an External SAP Portal
One of the good things with using SAP Business One is its versatility. Although SAP Business One is already full of features most companies need, it cannot address everything, particularly if a company’s needs are industry specific.
Because of this, SAP Business One added the ability to extend its functionality so that software developers can interact with it programmatically, thus solving any industry specific problems that it cannot solve.
There are available tools for programmers two of which are SAP DI Server and SAP DI API, short for Direct Interface Application Programming Interface, which allows for the ability for point to point integration with specific interfaces for each business object.
Many SAP Objects depending on your SAP Business One version are available for programmatic interaction within this API. Here is a link to a table of the SAP Objects.
SAP DI API can be connected to any external database, mobile or web applications using a set of specific configurations.
The Brand Packaging Industry
In this case study we will discuss how our client in the branding industry wanted to have the ability for its hundreds of employees to access Item and Business Partner properties.
Due to the sheer number of employees this company had relative to their size of operations, they wanted to find out the most efficient and cost effective way to let these employees gain access and manipulate these items and business partner data while still retaining SAP’s strict data policies.
First the company wanted to give managers the ability to review these employees’ entries before they sent them directly to SAP.
So we created an external portal for the companies’ employees to access that was completely separate from their SAP system. This portal would serve as another filter to check for data entry inaccuracies, providing additional business rules for the employees to follow.
The portal gave the company the ability to view pending lists of entries by lower level employees, upon which higher level employees with more permissions could then approve. On approval the data would then be sent directly to SAP.
Thanks to the DI API, the integrity of submissions is maintained by the built in SAP business logic.
Second, the company had wanted to create tools in conjunction to their manufacturing process. In one case they needed functionality related to barcodes. This was not easily addressed by SAP Business One due to its industry specific nature, so the portal’s functions were extended to do exactly that.
UPC and EPC codes could be generated by this tool, saved, and in theory could freely be associated with SAP data in the future. This gives the company the ability to make changes in the future easily without incurring additional software development costs as the ability to coordinate barcode data and SAP can easily be extended by the portal.
Third, one of the challenges was international, country specific needs. Their India Business Partners for example needed additional tax information to be entered. This was something the company really wanted to customize since additional business rules needed to be implemented. We were able to add additional country specific data specifications and ensured that data entered was UTF-8 character encoding that SAP could accept, eliminating errors coming from keyboard differences.
All these functionalities greatly improved the company’s efficiency and led to better coordination of the business to business (B2B) resources that the company needed when manufacturing their Items and coordinating Business Partner entries globally.
The company was able to decrease their business costs since they did not need to purchase hundreds of SAP user licenses. This was because the portal funneled the data interactions to a manageable level. When SAP data needed to be created or updated, only a few user licenses would be needed.
We were also able to create a system to efficiently enter the data in an efficient queue. This made it possible for bulk transactions to be entered without data loss or errors.
The integration possibilities are endless since by its nature software development is limitless.
Today software development is pushing the boundaries of technology and SAP Business One is one of the pioneers in pushing innovation as a leader in ERP software.
With technologies such as machine learning, cloud integrations, etc. the future is bright.
We can carry companies into the future with SAP integrations. We have the expertise and the years of experience. If you are interested in furthering your company’s innovations contact us for a FREE consultation. We can discuss how SAP extensions can propel your efficiency and help you in this ruthless and cutthroat competitive world.