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Qualifying business processes for SAP/SharePoint integrated solutions

Most large companies running on SAP/SharePoint are increasingly deploying
SharePoint as an enterprise-wide business productivity and
collaboration platform. With a growing number of business users
feeling comfortable in the SharePoint environment, there is an
opportunity to leverage
SharePoint as a platform for accelerating SAP transactions.
But
exactly which business processes does it make sense to automate
with an SAP/SharePoint integrated approach? When qualifying these
scenarios, ask at least the questions below. The more questions
with the answer yes, the more suitable the business process is for
an SAP/SharePoint solution.

Are non-SAP users participating in the
process?

If users are not entering data directly into the SAP GUI, then they
need another interface. SharePoint is a great platform for reaching
new users without deploying new UI technologies in front of the
users.

Are SAP users the bottleneck in the
process?

There are many scenarios where SAP users are simply entering data
into or retrieving data from SAP on behalf of other users. By
providing a more direct interface for the end users, significant
time and resources can be saved.

Does the process include collaborative
activities?

SAP was never designed to be a collaboration tool. If the business
process involves collaborative activities, then SharePoint probably
has some functionality that can benefit the solution.

Is unstructured data manipulated somewhere along the
process?

If the business process involves editing or reviewing documents
then the process often branches way out of the normal range of the
SAP system. SharePoint and its tight integration with Office can
help managing this unstructured part of the process.

Does the process require role-specific
interfaces?

SAP is a generic application designed to suit the needs of a wide
range of industries. Hence, there are many specific business
processes where the standard generic interface does not fit
particularly well. Customised role-specific interfaces in
SharePoint can help address this.

Is business data also sourced from systems other than
SAP?

Because SharePoint is agnostic of backend systems, it makes sense
to make it the mashup platform for user interfaces that pull
information not only from SAP but also from other applications.

Is part of the process conducted offline?
Standard SAP technologies do not provide many options for capturing
data while offline. Through SharePoint’s integration with Office
applications such as Outlook, Excel and SharePoint Workspace, there
are numerous options for building offline capabilities into a
solution.

For a more in-depth discussion of these qualification questions,
please refer to
this article
.

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