At the last OpenText Content
World I was asked to do a session about Microsoft SharePoint and SAP
Business Suite. When Adrian, my colleague from the SharePoint
line of business, and I discussed about the content of this session
we quickly agreed that SharePoint perfectly fits into the content
enriched business process story of SAP Extended ECM. In another
session, and based on this in my post
Improve Customer Interaction Efficiency, I described the
concept of content enriched business processes in the context of
customer interaction. Therefore we enhanced this context by
assuming that the professional services department uses SharePoint
for collaboration about customer projects. Looking more into the
details we identified quickly business processes like:
> Professional Services consultants put their weekly time
sheets into the customer's Extended ECM business workspace and
accounting, working in SAP Financials, takes these time sheets as
base for their billings to the customer.
> Another one would be that the consultants are able to access
the customer contract, which is managed by the account executive
via SAP CRM.
> A more complex business process would be the usage of SAP PS
(Project System) for Professional Services in combination with
> In addition to the SAP integration scenarios the consultants
could apply an enterprise wide RM taxonomy, provided by Extended
ECM's records management capability, on their final specifications
and customer approval letters.
You see, it's quite easy to identify business processes that can
be improved through an enterprise wide, SAP integrated ECM in
combination with SharePoint. Let's have now a closer look at the
SAP Documents in SharePoint
Inside SAP there are many documents managed, e.g. in a
typical customer transaction for Professional Services there are:
inquiries, quotes, service orders, service order confirmations, and
invoices. In addition we often find emails and other correspondence
attached to SAP transactions and general customer documents like
contracts and agreements attached to the SAP customer record.
Furthermore looking at the SAP CRM side there might be internal
documents linked to a customer record like an offer calculation
spreadsheet. In SAP Extended ECM we would use a customer business
workspace for managing all these documents.
In order to be able to access such SAP documents OpenText
Application Governance & Archiving for MS SharePoint provides a
web part for the visualization of Extended ECM business workspaces
inside SharePoint sites. The web part allows to access inside
SharePoint all documents stored in a business workspace, e.g. the
customer contract and the service orders. In our example, the
Professional Services department would embed the Extended ECM
customer business workspace into their SharePoint project and
What about Search? The SharePoint Search is smoothly integrated
with SAP Extended ECM and shows the end-user all the documents
residing inside Extended ECM business workspaces.
SharePoint Documents in SAP
Accessing SAP documents in SharePoint is great, but the
Professional Services department for sure would like to add
documents to the customer or even collaborate with other
departments on customer documents. I've mentioned above the
business process of adding a time sheet, which is used by
accounting for billing. How to accomplish that?
There are basically two ways to accomplish this. In a 2010
CMSWire poll 24% of the respondents said that they plan to use
SharePoint as a general collaboration portal, and 8% said that they
plan to use SharePoint for document management. Means we need to
provide a way for the companies that are using SharePoint as portal
and a way for the companies that are using SharePoint for document
- SharePoint used as Portal
The web part for the business workspace provides full ECM
capabilities; means an end-user can easily create documents, add
versions and do many other ECM operations in the business
workspace. This functionality is smoothly integrated into the user
interface of SharePoint - you find all these activities in the
ribbon of the SharePoint user interface and as context menu items
in the web part. Coming back to the actual intention to make
SharePoint documents accessible inside SAP: a document added inside
SharePoint to the business workspace is available immediately in
all applications supported by SAP Extended ECM, e.g. available
inside SAP ERP or SAP CRM.
- SharePoint used for Document Management
If the Professional Services department prefers to use
SharePoint as its collaborative document management system then the
concept is: use the business workspace a) for documents to be
shared and b) for accessing documents provided by other departments
Example: A consultant manages the project specification in a
SharePoint document library. If he wants to share the final
specification with others in the company then he "transfers" this
document to the customer workspace. This transfer can be done
manually, means interactively, or automatically. Best practice for
the transfer is automatically based on using a flag at the
document, i.e. when the end-user sets the document status flag to
"final", then the document will be transferred automatically into
the business workspace and thus the SharePoint document will be
accessible for the enterprise including users working in the SAP
Business Suite applications.
Actually, there are three technical options for transferring
SharePoint documents into Extended ECM business workspaces:
> Create Link: After a document has been
stored in the business workspace, the original document is deleted
in SharePoint and replaced by an internet shortcut pointing to the
> Move: After a document has been stored
in the business workspace, the original document is deleted from
SharePoint without creating a link document.
> Synced Copy: After a document has been
stored in the business workspace, the original document stays
unchanged in SharePoint and new versions of the document will be
synchronized automatically to the business workspace. All versions
can be accessed in SharePoint and the business workspace.
What about Search in this scenario? The search in SharePoint
will show you content from SharePoint and from Extended ECM
business workspaces in a combined result list. Thus, a consultant
will always get a complete picture about the customer without
switching between different user interfaces.
SharePoint and SAP Extended ECM cooperate smoothly
In summary, SharePoint and SAP Extended ECM cooperate
smoothly with each other. Whether you use SharePoint as a portal or
for document management, in combination with SAP Extended ECM you
are able to improve your business processes significantly through
tight integration with your SAP Business Suite applications.
There was huge interest in our session at OpenText Content World
presentation "SharePoint: Integration with SAP Extended ECM"
was appreciated very much. We had many positive face-to-face talks
afterwards. In all these talks the people told us that this an
absolute solid story and they can clearly see the business benefits
based on the improved business processes. I'd love to hear what you
folks out there think.
Presentation on SlideShare: "
SharePoint: Integration with SAP Extended ECM" (Internet
Explorer 9 requires "Compatibility View" enabled)
The author of the article is Thomas Demmler, Director,
Product Management SAP Solutions Group, OpenText Corporation.
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