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SAP Mobility: Get It Right

By Rutul Thakkar August 22, 2016 by Kelly Kuhlman

At Reveal, we focus on our Business Maturity® Continuum and oVo® methodology to align people, process, and technology and transform supply chains. SAP Mobility solutions are a good way to bring people, process, and technology together. There are a few different tools offered by SAP, SAP partners and third-party sources available for application development, but in order to keep the application maintenance effort minimum and to keep SAP as the single source of information, we recommend using the tools offered by SAP.

These tools can be used in different ways. To avoid rework and to make maintenance easy, consider asking, “What are the data sources for application?,” “On which device(s) and platform(s) should the data be displayed?” and “Is this application for internal organization users or external users?” when setting up the tools.

Specific SAP Mobility Tools

Below are considerations to keep in mind before you set up these SAP Mobility solutions:

NW Gateway Deployment — SAP NW Gateway offers two deployment options: Embedded and Standalone. Embedded deployment requires installing Gateway components as an add-on on top of an existing system, such as ECC, CRM, SCM, GTS, etc. The Standalone deployment requires a separate system install for NW Gateway. When choosing the deployment option, consider all the possible data sources for the potential application. If there is more than one data source, then Standalone deployment should be considered.

Standalone deployment is also important if the user interface (UI) is developed using SAPUI5 tools and is to be deployed to ABAP repository because the UI should be deployed to NW Gateway, in that case, to make it easier to maintain and periodically update the application UI components. SAP NW Gateway components can also be easily updated when deployed as standalone without a need for the regression test that may be necessary with embedded deployment. So, select the deployment option that not only takes the data sources into consideration but also weighs UI deployment options.

OData — Build, for Now, Design for Future: NW Gateway Service Builder is a tool provided by SAP to generate and maintain OData services. It creates necessary runtime model provider, data provider and annotation classes for the OData services. It is essential that data provided by the OData services is not only sufficient for the immediate need of the mobile app but is also designed in such a way that it is easy to expand the features.

For example, let’s say that current app is designed to show customer data, related sales orders, and line items. Perhaps the data feed and entities should be designed in a way that delivery related to sales orders can be easily incorporated into the app. Another example if the current app has search capability based on a customer number/name, but perhaps it should also accommodate search by sales order to use in future. So, always design the entity sets and navigation between entity sets so that it is easier to expand in future.

UI Development — There are quite a few UI development tools available, but SAPUI5 development is becoming a very prominent tool. The tool is based on open standards and offers a consistent experience across different devices and browsers for applications. The application developed using this tool is also compatible with SAP Fiori, SAP’s next UI platform. The application can be deployed on the SAP HANA Cloud Platform, and it can also be deployed to ABAP Repository.

This is where the decision to have standalone NW Gateway deployment becomes important because, when choosing the ABAP Repository deployment method, it should be deployed to NW Gateway system. Applications developed using SAPUI5 are supported on multiple devices (smartphone, tablet, PC) as well as multiple browsers (Chrome, IE, Safari) and operating systems (Android, iOS, Windows). So, keep the device and platform in mind when choosing between SAPUI5 and other UI development technologies.

Also, keep in mind following OSS notes when deploying applications to ABAP repository:

  • 2047506
  • 2046730
  • 1666368
  • Also, check for OSS notes to update UI libraries.

User Authentication — Questions often arise about how user authentication should happen and how new users should be granted access to the application. If the application is developed using SAPUI5 and deployed to ABAP repository, standard SAP functionality can be utilized for user authentication. Once the application is deployed to ABAP repository, it can be modified via SICF to add standard login screen and authentication process.

For internal-use applications that require SAP credential, this is a very straightforward and integrated process. For applications that are open to external users, there is standard SAP User Self-Service. This service, which requires additional UI development, uses a two-step process where a registration link is sent to an email and upon user activation (which happens when the user clicks on the link in the email), an internet user is automatically created in NW Gateway and the corresponding backend system. Again, the application can be modified via SICF to use Internet User as authentication process instead of SAP user in this scenario. So, think about whether the application will be used by SAP users or external users, and use the standard functionality available for user registration and authentication before developing any custom solution.

Here are a quick few steps to configure the service in SICF to use standard SAP user login versus Internet user login, prompt user for login as well as link self-registration functions, such as new user registration and password recovery:

In SICF -> Edit the service and under Login Data tab select the use

SAP Mobility

Then under the Error Pages tab, select System Login and Click Configuration:

SAP Mobility Solutions

There are two options to display the login screen:
OData Services                    UI Development

Finally, click on Adjust Links and Images, provide the relative service path to enable the new user registration and password recovery options on the login screen (provided User Self-service functionality is implemented):
Mobility Solutions

Reveal Mobile Applications

When we talk about mobile applications, the first instinct is to consider data analytics. While data analytics may be the common use, mobile apps can also help improve supply chain function. For example, be sure to take a look at Reveal’s suite of mobile applications, myOrdersmyCustomers, and myDeliveries. These apps help companies improve customer service by enabling sales personnel and customers to get order statuses and capture proof of delivery as they happen. We integrate key performance indicator (KPI) measurements with our oVo™ Methodology and have developed the SAPUI5-based tool oVo Lighthouse™ as well.

To reiterate, while taking on an SAP Mobile application development adds a cool buzz to the project, consider the data sources, the UI use and users to decide upon the best approach.

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