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Business architecture integration

The business consulting services consist of:

 

  • Detailed analysis of requirements for integration external systems with SAP backend
  • Preparation of canonical data model and common set of attributes used to describe business documents
  • Preparation of configuration matrix – definition of attributes that are used for scenario determination on the left and the requirements for final business document in SAP backend on the right side (with all validations and business logic). Usually such configuration matrix contains two or more levels, separately for document headers and items.

 

There are many ways of simplifying the company’s processes, one of them is the right architecture and integration between IT systems. Consulting in this area is one of the key competences of int4. Our principle is to build adaptive, flexible and configurable solutions which are resistant for fast business changes. We are a technological company, however we recommend a new technology only when it improves our client’s business.

 

Most of nowadays SAP ERP implementations are single clients, where a bunch of external systems are interfaces with the single instance of SAP ERP. Such approach requires holistic and long-term planning & design.

 

Our first recommendation is to limit the role of the middleware and implement the connectivity and technical delivery of messages in and out to SAP backends. The interface logic should be implemented directly in the SAP backend, as close as possible to the business data & functions. Such approach simplifies the monitoring and improves the performance.

 

The starting point is creation of the canonical data model as the common language, that all systems can communicate to. This step must be preceded by detailed analysis of global and local requirements, but also the canonical data model must be ready for further extensions.

 

Secondly, when we speak about the SAP backend, our recommendation is to group interfaces per functions. Then, for each group, design and implement the common interface engine. The common interface engine would be able to interchange documents with a large number of systems with the same core (via the middleware). The example of functional groups are FI bookings, sales order creation etc.
Technically we implement an engine that reads incoming message and based on the content, finds proper document template in the configuration matrix. Following chosen template instructions, the engine calls set of validations and transformations and creates a document in the common output format.
Finally, based on the output format, the engine executes the standard SAP input method (BAPI, Enterprise Service, etc.) and creates the business document in the system.

After initial coding to build the engine, rest of the work is simply a configuration process. Later on, without development, it allows quickly adding a new scenarios or changing the behaviour of the existing ones.

 

Having the interface configuration in one place gives a central knowledge base about all global business scenarios and their local variances. This is very important, as after short training, it allows new members of interface or support teams to get the full picture, without analyzing usually out-of-date technical documentation or thousands lines of the existing interfaces code.
The common interface engine avoids the hardcoding and keep the code clean. Every business functionality is separated in own coding blocks and it is activated based on interface configuration.
In future, this will allow the client to quickly react on business changes and also precisely modify part of the functionality, allowing rest of the interfaces and processes work without impact.

Finally, the clients receive standardized and a fully configurable solution, which can be modified without code changes. If we would like to compare the common interface engine to what we have in SAP ERP standard, similar interfaces are provided between built-in modules like Logistics (SD/MM) and Finance (FI-CO). There, the business data is transformed from logistic operations into finance postings.

 

The implementation can be performed using different SAP tools both for the middleware and the backend. Please see services that we provide in the integration and programming technologies.

 

This approach is a unique concept of int4 and was already successfully implemented at int4’s satisfied customers.

 


Contact

INT4
ul. Przelot 10
60-408 Poznan, Poland

 

office(at)int4.com

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