SAP ERP Integration Options
Esri's GIS and SAP's ERP software are an integral part of a powerful IT strategy. The power of SAP ERP including adapting to market changes, sensing and responding to customer requirements and extending processes beyond the organization, are further enhanced with the integration of Esri's GIS software.
A large amount of business data have a geographic component that can be utilized to visualize and analyze the information on a map. GIS allows users to view, understand, question, interpret and visualize the data in ways not possible through a spreadsheet or table.
SAP ERP and Esri GIS Integration Interfaces
There are five main technical interfaces available for integrating SAP's ERP and Esri's GIS software. The integration technical interfaces include: SAP RFC connectors, third-party connectors, SAP generic GIS connector, third-party EAI, SAP EAI and Esri's partner solutions.
SAP RFC Connectors
RFCs (Remote Function Calls) allow for remote calls between SAP ERP and Esri's GIS software. The remotely callable functions are named RFMs or RFC-enabled function modules. BAPIs are specific sets of RFMs that are linked as methods of the business objects in SAP systems and released for use by third-party developers. Basic RFCs can be used to integrate SAP's ERP and Esri's GIS software as well as the higher level and more stable BAPIs.
BAPI (Business Application Programming Interface) are a collection of interfaces to object-oriented programming methods that can be utilized by developers to integrate SAP's ERP to Esri's GIS software. The process definition and a lightweight interface can be created through customized development work. The identified SAP process should be matched to already available BAPIs. The integration interface doesn't require a large amount of custom development work and is therefore suited for companies with smaller integration budgets.
Third-party connectors include the iWay Control Broker (CB) from Information Builders which is component-based and allows director connection to packaged and legacy back-end systems. Control brokers provide an application level approach for greater control, performance and scalability. The benefits of integrating SAP's ERP and Esri's GIS include no additional middleware, high performance and easy deployment.
SAP Generic GIS Connector
The SAP GBC (GIS Business Connector) is a passive middleware that mediates between SAP solutions (designed for use with SAP ERP 4.5 and higher) and Esri's GIS software. The method is best used when there is flexible processing modeling with existing methods in both applications. Development of custom processes requires further development capabilities.
EAI (Enterprise Application Integration) is generally defined as the combination of platforms, business processes, standards and applications that result in the seamless integration of two or more enterprise systems. The EAI platform integration interface for SAP ERP and Esri's GIS can be utilized when there are non-standard processes that require custom development. This option is best utilized when there is longer implementation time frame due to the custom development requirements.
SAP Exchange Infrastructure (XI) is SAP's enterprise application integration (EAI) software used to facilitate the exchange of information between SAP ERP and Esri's GIS. SAP XI is considered an integration broker since it mediates between entities with varying requirements in terms of protocols, connectivity and format. Integration costs are reduced since the SAP XI provides a common repository for interfaces.
The SICAD-APX (application exchange) is an EAI (Enterprise Application Integration) solution from AED-SICAD (an Esri partner) that integrates Esri's GIS with SAP's ERP modules. According to AED-SICAD, the SICAD-APX solution is a cost-efficient EAI software for small to middle-sized utilities.
SAP ERP and Esri GIS Integration Considerations
There are a number of methods available to integrate SAP's ERP and Esri's GIS software. The diagram below shows the relative software and development costs associated with the different methods.
For further information on integration options and services, contact Steve Trammell at firstname.lastname@example.org.