Friday, November 13, 2015

Integrating Oracle WebCenter Content with SAP

Today many large and medium size organizations use SAP system to manage their business for achieving real time insight and enabling operational excellence around business processes.

SAP has changed the business dimensions, taking it to new heights like never before. Business processes have become more streamlined and fully integrated. But SAP never intended their software to manage the content of these processes. As a consequence, in many companies, disconnected silos of unstructured information continue to pile up for each organizational function. These companies face major challenges in the areas of document management, access issues and workflow automation.

For example,
  • Management of unstructured content (documents) like Invoices, the delivery receipts for purchases, sales proposals, contracts etc.
  • Automated document management process.
  • Improving the efficiency and reducing the cost by replacing the Paper based documents.
  • Manage the corporate retention policies.
  • Provide document access from other front-end systems like portals to non-ERP users.
  • Integrated document approval workflow.



As most organizations look towards bridging this gap and improve upon accessibility and management of unstructured information, Oracle WebCenter Content offers a great deal of flexibility and power to enhance an integrated ERP solution with a centralized document repository. 

The integration of Oracle WebCenter Content and SAP can help to address above challenges in an integrated enterprise landscape. This solution will also lay the foundation for a content management strategy that further leverage's your SAP investment. This Oracle WCC connector for SAP offers an end-to-end approach for linking unstructured content in Oracle WCC with transactions in SAP.

Connector Overview

The Oracle SAP connector integrates Oracle Webcenter Content system, with the SAP system, using the SAP ArchiveLink Specifications 4.5. It enables SAP business applications to process, and archive documents generated within SAP. With this interface, following documents can be archived and managed

·         Outgoing SAP documents (documents that were created by the SAP system, such as purchase orders, invoices, reminder letters, and delivery notes)
·         Incoming documents of all types (scanned paper documents, faxes, and electronic documents)
·         Print lists (generated by SAP system reports)
·         SAP data archiving files
·         Other documents created by the SAP system or users in different SAP modules and applications.


SAP ArchiveLink

SAP ArchiveLink is a component of the SAP system, to link external storage systems such as Oracle WCC content management systems to SAP. It refers to a cross-application interface that provides SAP business applications with content management and archive functionality. The interface facilitates process-driven management of business documents.

The SAP ArchiveLink performs the following
·         Processes incoming documents before, during, and after archiving
·         Links incoming documents to transactions in a SAP system
·         Links incoming documents to work items that are routed and processed, using SAP
·         Business workflow
·         Archives SAP-generated outgoing documents.
·    Retrieves documents linked to a transaction in an SAP application from Oracle WCC and displays the documents

The following table contains examples of the types of documents that are SAP ArchiveLink enabled.


SAP Module
Original Documents
SAP-Generated Documents
Financial Accounting (FI)
·         Credit Memo
·         Invoice
·         Payment
·         Line Item Journal
·         Full Audit Trail
·         Classic Audit Trail
·         Document Journal
Human Resources (HR)
Applications
·         Contracts and related
·         Correspondence
·         Photo of Employee
·         Regulatory documents
·         Certificates
·         No documents are generated.
Materials Management
(MM)
·         Credit Memo
·         Invoice
·         LIFO valuation report
·         Outline Agreement
·         Purchase Order
·         Schedule Line
·         Master Material
Sales and Distribution
(SD)
·         Complaint
·         Contract
·         Delivery Note
·         Delivery Schedule
·         Order
·         Schedule Agreement
·         Inquiry
·         Complaint
·         Contract
·         Credit Memo
·         Delivery Note
·         Delivery Schedule
·         Order Confirmation
·         Quotation
·         Schedule Agreement
·         Inquiry
·         Invoice
Workflow (WF)
Any document
Any document




Architecture Overview 

The Oracle SAP connector is based on SAP ArchiveLink 4.5 HTTP Content Server interface.
It adheres to the SAP guidelines for using general industry standard such as HTTP to establish communication with external storage system (content servers).
Servers and documents are addressed using URLs. Data is transferred in the Request-Body or in the Response-Body. The URL specifies the function to be executed on a document.
Listed below are some of the architecture highlights of the connector
       Built over HTTP as an interface to integrate ORACLE CMS (UCM) and SAP
       Supports all the functionality of the SAP ArchiveLink 4.5
       Supports all Oracle CMS (WCC) functionalities
       Easy Configuration setup in SAP for using Oracle CMS
       Loosely coupled Design
       Real time synchronization
       Document and Access protection managed by R/3 system.
       Complete data exchange
       Easy to extend for SAP Imaging needs



Process Flow

The interface implements various functions exposed by the ArchiveLink interface to associate any content/document with a transaction in SAP. Each request to Oracle WCC from SAP is addressed over http request which determines the necessary action and metadata. The content in the request is encrypted as per SAP definition. The overall process remains consistent for the different operations executed from SAP for fetch, create, delete and update content in Oracle WCC.

The diagram below depicts a typical process flow from SAP to Oracle WCC.



Source and Target Applications and Versions
Source System
Version
Target System
Version
SAP-ERP
Archive Link 4.5
Oracle WCC
11.1.1.7.0


Security

Access protection and document security in this end to end scenario is managed by SAP R/3 system.
Security is based on the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). SAP sends an HTTP request as a URL to Oracle WCC. The URL contains the type of request (for example: Info and parameters of the request, such as the ContRep and docId). To avoid URL tampering, SAP can append the signed Message Digest to the URL, which is known as secKey.  

The following parameters are always signed in the secKey:
contRep
Content repository
accessMode
Access mode
authId
Client ID
expiration
Expiry time (UTC)

SAP sends this URL to the J2EE Server, which verifies the URL using the public key. This public key is sent by SAP during initial configuration of the archive and stored by content Server in a keystore file.  

The security check is extended from the ArchiveLink interface and is independent of the Oracle WCC security

While creating a document, SAP can also specify for what access modes this security check has to be performed by content server. Security check is performed for create, read, delete, and update access modes. For example: SAP instructs content Server, that delete should be protected (such as, the URL with delete request for this document has to be signed) while read does not have to be protected.

For documents where SAP does not explicitly specify the access modes that should be protected at the creation time, WCC Server provides configurable default document protection values. The SAP user does not have to be concerned with these settings or with the process of signing a URL for archive requests.

Deployment and Configuration

Connector Deployment


The Oracle SAP connector can be deployed on any J2EE compliant application server. The connector is a java application that contains a set of Java Classes hence can be deployed on J2EE Application Servers as a java application. The adapter once deployed needs to be configured as the default CMS on SAP. The section below will describe the SAP configuration details.





The description and the values for the new archive (Oracle WCC) as listed in the table below:

Field
Description
Value
Content Rep.
Refers to the name of archive (can be one alphabetical character plus one alphanumeric character or two
alphanumeric characters).
Although the screen allows the user to
enter more than two characters, SAP
ArchiveLink can only work with two character identifiers.
Description
Refers to the content repository
Description
A general description about the archive mentioned in Content Rep. field.
Document Area
Specifies the document area to link with content repository.
Select from the dropdown box. Choose ArchiveLink

Storage type
Refers to the Archive type.
Choose HTTP content server from the drop down box. For other values, the screen changes.
Protocol
Refers to the protocol.
Enter the Name of the SAP ArchiveLink protocol.
Version no.
Refers to the SAP ArchiveLink version to be used.
Enter ‘‘0046’.
HTTP server
Refers to the HTTP server address.
Enter the domain of the web server under which Oracle WCC connector runs.

Note: Do not enter http:// or any path information.

The domain could also be the IP address or the IP alias of the web server machine.
Port Number
Refers to the HTTP port number on which the connector is running.
Provide the port number of the respective application server.
SSL Port Number
Refers to the HTTPS port number on which the Oracle WCC connector is running.
Provide the HTTPS port number of the respective application server.
HTTP Script
Refers to the program, which will listen to the Http request from the SAP.
This value is xyz/dispatcher where xyz denotes the application name provided during Oracle WCC connector deployment.
Phys. Path
Refers to the complete path of a directory in which SAP ArchiveLink can store files temporarily or for exchange with Oracle WCC.
The path must end with a (\) in Windows, or (/) in UNIX, because the actual file name is concatenated to this path value.
Provide the directory path of SAP ArchiveLink.
OutputDevice
Refers to the Archiving Device.
Specify an archive-specific archive device, overriding the default archive device ARCH.


Business Benefits

The ability to integrate unstructured content assets with SAP business objects can lead to significant gains in terms of optimized processes and reduced errors, especially when combined with Oracle imaging and scanning, which ensures easy access to supporting financial content (e.g., scanned invoices, customer correspondence, contracts) during a SAP Finance process, drastically increasing time to payment.

The Oracle WCC connector for SAP connects best of two worlds. Oracle’s Content Management Solutions for SAP enable you extracts more return-on-investment (ROI) from your original SAP investment while maximizing your Oracle Content investment. Some of the key benefits of this integration allows

·         User’s immediate access to WCC-controlled unstructured content.
·        Leverage the capabilities of Oracle WCC (Archiving, Retention, Workflow etc.) for structuring enterprise content.
·         Easy document retrieval in SAP
·         Increased Availability / Accessibility
·         Content/Document access for both SAP and non-ERP users
·         Automation of document management process
·         Document access for other front end systems like portals
·         Integrated document approval workflow
·         Increased operation efficiency
·         Increased Data Accuracy



10 comments:

  1. Could you tell me offline more about the Oracle SAP Connector (SAPCONN) for WCC, please? For me it is not clear, what technology is used and how do I get this connector. Please contact me via E-Mail volkerlinz1980@googlemail.com or volker.linz@oracle.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello, could you please share some details on the connector and its availability?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure !! could you please share your email id details & also if possible your requirement.

      Delete
    2. Hello, could you please share some details on the connector and its availability?

      I am having the same requirement to be configured.

      Delete
  3. Hi, could you send me a URL reference from Oracle about this SAP Connector? I didn´t find any reference about it in Oracle website. Thanks !

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi ,could you please send me the some details about the connector.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rahul, what additional details would you like to know about this connector.

      Delete
  5. Hi, could you please share any reference for this connector implementation with WCC and how can i get this connector via email haytham.gamal@hotmail.com or
    haytham.gamal2@gmail.com
    Thanks in advance,

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi
    Do you know either this connector and the solution is compatible with SAP S4HANA version 1709?
    Regards,
    Adi

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Amit/Nilesh,

    Could you please share connector details to me as well?
    Email-Id: shivam.jaiswal2275@gmail.com

    Thanks,
    Shivam

    ReplyDelete