How Esri Technology Interfaces With SAP's ERP Software
As demonstrated by the myriad of successful implementations by joint Esri/SAP users, Esri has several methods for interfacing with SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, whether it's a customized GIS application built using MapObjects, a more powerful ArcGIS application, or a Web-based GIS application built using ArcIMS. The City of Richmond, California, is an excellent example of the diverse array of interfacing options for integrated GIS/ERP applications. Here's how the city did it.
Creating Object Relationships Between GIS and ERP Data
At the City of Richmond, all GIS data is stored in a central ArcSDE server. Operational data is stored in the central SAP R/3 ERP system.
The first step in building fully integrated Esri/SAP applications is establishing object relationships between the ERP and the GIS systems--in other words, creating links between GIS spatial data and ERP tabular data.
For each ERP object, such as a record for a utility asset, there is an ERP key: an identification number or some other unique identifier that links common attributes to a record. For instance, a customer ID number may serve as an ERP key for linking all related customer attributes to an ERP object.
Saving the ERP key in the corresponding GIS database creates the object relationship between Esri and SAP; now both systems can tie in to each other and communicate with each other and exchange data objects.
As the diagram shows, linking GIS features to SAP can be approached in three basic ways:
Some of the data objects and relationships for the City of Richmond are as follows:
Aside from the relationships between the above ERP and GIS objects, there are built-in relationships between certain ERP objects that create even tighter integration between the ArcGIS and SAP R/3 systems. For example, when a GIS object is tied to one ERP object, it is by default tied to any other ERP objects related to each other. For instance, by calling up in GIS an ERP record on a storm drainpipe, a user can also access the related or corresponding ERP work order record.
The relevant SAP object relationships at the City of Richmond are as follows:
Work Requests<-->Functional Location (for Street Segment and Parcel Building)
The city uses five applications in which Esri and SAP interface: Visualize Data Manager creates the corresponding ERP object of a newly created GIS feature. It stores the resulting ERP key in the GIS feature record. Visualize Work Manager, Business License, and Capital Improvement Projects applications use ERP keys of GIS features to extract status information from the SAP ERP system. The My Work Place application uses the ERP keys of GIS objects to update the object information in the SAP ERP system.
Visual Data Manager
Visualize Work Manager
See main article, "The City of Richmond, California, Implements Enterprise Framework."