WebMethods and SAP R3 Enterprise

I’ve recently learned of WebMethods and so far from reading their website, I have only an esoteric understanding of what it can do “out of the box”. Sounds like a bunch of sales buzzwords and mumbo jumbo to get a CFO to cut a PO.

Fundamentally, I’m tasked with deciding what technologies are used to do the following:

  • Take Orders into SAP R/3 via the Web
  • Give Customer Specific Pricing from SAP R/3 via the Web
  • Give Product Availability from SAP R/3 via the Web

I have seen nothing yet that explains how WebMethods can do this. My understanding is that WebMethods can enable web services on enterprise systems. Great! So can a lot of things. Why should I use WebMethods instead of the CRM solution built by SAP to do these things? Can somebody point me to real life examples of how WebMethods has connected to R/3 and can provide turn key solutions to do the above things? If WebMethods is chosen, do all the transactions have to be “wrapped” and coded from scratch?

Your help is greatly appreciated.
-jb

WebMethods with SAP Adapter provides technical connectivity plus mapping from XML data strcutures to
SAP R/3 internal data structure.
For the WebMethods to invoke functionality in R/3, the functionality needs to available in the form of BAPIs or RFCs.
CRM might be an overkill just for the functionality described below.

Regards
Sreekanth

Looking at your requirements (and assuming that you want interactive order functionality, not batch processing) ,then I don’t see any particular need to have WM participate.

SAP has native internet (HTTP/s) functionality, “out of the box” for order processing functions. (Depending on your release level, of course.)

Check out the WebApplication Server (WAS) information at help.sap.com

“…assuming that you want interactive order functionality, not batch processing…”

This implies that the webMethods platform is geared toward batch processing rather than real-time or near real-time processing. I think many here will attest that quite the opposite is true.

Integration brokers in general are designed to move data as soon as possible. Generally speaking, they don’t handle batch processing very well.

The reason for using an integration broker (of any kind, not just wM) is to reduce the number of point-to-point interfaces, provide a layer of abstraction (and hence flexibility), provide a consistent integration approach and enourage reuse of interfaces.

I’m sure wM and SAP have several case studies available. The SAP Business Connector (BC) is wM Integration Server under the covers.

John: Here’s a high-level overview of how wM could be used for the 3 tasks you describe.

  1. webMethods Integration Server is a service-based tool. It exposes services that can be easily invoked over http, ftp and other mechanisms. All wM IS services can be invoked as web services. So your web-based customers/partners can use virtually any tool to invoke the services you expose.

  2. wM IS has a variety of adapters. These adapters provide the connectivity to resource they are designed for. As Sreekanth pointed out, the SAP adapter provides connectivity and mapping facilities to interact with SAP via RFC and BAPI.

  3. You’ll hook up the services you expose, and the document formats you choose to expose, to the services you configure to connect to SAP.

The amount of programming you’ll need to do, using FLOW and possibly a small bit of Java, is fairly minimal and will consists primarily of controlling document flow and performing mapping as required.

HTH

Rob,

I did not have any intent to imply that WM is a batch platform or inappropriate for an interactive application. I only mentioned “batch” to differentiate interactive order entry from X12/EDI/XML doument-style transactions. (And to confirm that we are all on the same page in our thinking.)

Rather, my point is that R3 directly supports web based order entry, with it’s internal Web Application Server (WAS). The ability to do customer specific pricing and availibility checking are also standard.

Certainly, WM can play several roles in that process, but, in the case as presented, I do not see that it is required.

I also think that John’s “real” question should be:
“How can I do web based R3 order entry on the internet?”

John: Which R3 release are you using and why are you looking at WM before R3?

Thanks for the clarifications Foster.