What Makes a Great ISV Enablement Partner?

DataXstream is a company that specializes in SAP and most readers of this blog are SAP professionals.  So, I have some shocking news for you–news SAP doesn’t want you to know.  Are you sitting down?  Good.

SAP isn’t the only software vendor out there!!

Shocking, I know.  But there are other software platforms than NetWeaver; software languages other than ABAP and Java; and there was a time in the not-too-distant past where the center of the SAP universe, HANA, didn’t even exist!

While you are coming to terms that SAP is not the be-all and end-all, I would like to point out that no modern software system exists in a vacuum.  Because of this fact, attention has to be paid to how software systems interact with each other.  There is a seemingly endless supply of enterprise software solutions that supplement existing functionality, introduce new functionality, improve the user-experience, and, in general, bring value to the enterprise.  SAP’s predominance in the enterprise software market means that it these new enterprise software solutions need to interact with SAP–either getting data from SAP or sending data to SAP (or both).

But, SAP is not an easy software system with which to integrate.  The depth of SAP product offerings and modules make learning how to properly merge SAP functionality with an external software system difficult.  SAP NetWeaver is not known as a particular open or easy-to-access platform.  And while I personally laud SAP for their decision to enforce proper multi-tier data access restrictions (i.e. no direct read/write database access), this decision makes the SAP learning curve especially steep.

Many software companies desiring to integrate their software solution with SAP choose an independent software vendor enablement partner.  So, what makes a great ISV enablement partner?

  • Functional Expertise: In order to make the most of an integrated software solution, you must understand the needs of the business user.  Once these needs are understood, you need to transfer these requirements into software functional units of work.  Finally, an end-to-end workstream is defined across all participant software systems that will deliver the required functionality to your customers.
  • Technical Expertise: The best end-to-end workstream definition is only as good as the framework upon which the integration executes.  A great ISV enablement partner understands all of the technical aspects of SAP NetWeaver integration and development.  They will use this expertise to design and implement a solid, robust, scalable technical integration solution.
  • Go-To-Market Experience: Once the solution has been designed and built, it will need to be made available to the market.  A great go-to-market strategy involves market analysis, promotion, and working with the SAP ecosystem including SAP partnerships and certification.
  • Technical Sales and Marketing Support: Even the best software solutions don’t sell themselves.  Your ISV enablement partner should be there throughout the customer sales process to answer any questions and remove any barriers to sale.
  • Flexible Partnering Agreements: A great ISV enablement partner will work with you to craft a partnership agreement that benefits all parties while giving your customer’s the world-class solutions and support that they need.

DataXstream has been a leader in SAP ISV partner enablement since 2005 and has assisted dozens of software companies successfully enter the SAP market. Contact us today, to find out how we can unlock the SAP world for you!

What Makes a Great SAP Integration Partner?

An SAP integration specialist’s responsibilities are to design and implement a robust, extensible solution that uses the appropriate standards and technologies to guarantee ACID programming guidelines (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) while leveraging the available programming interfaces to the best of their capabilities.  This may sound like a daunting task.  That’s because it is.  Integration is a very complex, specialized areas of expertise in the SAP ecosystem.

A great SAP Integration Partner will offer individuals that design and build integration solutions that adhere to the following concepts:

  • Robust – A good integration solution can recover from data and/or transmission errors. A truly robust solution should automatically attempt reprocessing where appropriate and, barring automatic processing, alerts the support personnel to the exception with context-specific data to assist in the exception resolution.
  • Extensible – Change is constant in the world of business.  A good integration solution is able to rapidly adapt to changes in process, requirements, and/or functionality.  More often than not, the individual that initially implemented the integration solution is not available to make the changes.  A combination of good design, process and procedure adherence, and documentation lowers the total cost of ownership for the integration solution.
  • Standards – Good integration partners understand standards, how they should be applied as well as their strengths and weaknesses.  Integration solutions that conform to standards are usually more robust and extensible, and therefore easier and cheaper to support, than their custom counterparts.
  • Atomicity – Robust integration solutions require atomic actions.  That means if one part of the transaction fails, the whole transaction fails.
  • Consistency – A consistent integration solution leverages the application programming interface to ensure that all business rules and processing logic are applied to the data prior to posting it to the database.  It is also important that data created via the integration solution passes the same validation and business rules as data created via the user interface.
  • Isolation – Great SAP integration partners understand how transaction isolation can greatly impact overall system performance.  Providing isolation means concurrent execution of data transactions results in a system state that would be obtained if transactions were executed serially–or in other words the interface can be executed in parallel, and therefore, take advantage of SAP NetWeaver parallel processing.
  • Durability – A durable integration solution is not affected by errors outside of the transaction–whether these errors be related to environment (power, network, database, etc.), data (business rules, missing data, incomplete data, etc.) or other factors.
  • Programming Interfaces (APIs) – A great SAP integration partner understands available programming interfaces and standards, their relative strengths and weaknesses, and how they interact with other components of the application.  Not all APIs are created equal and a great SAP integration partner will choose the API best suited for the integration solution.

DataXstream solution architects and integration specialists are trained in every one of these aspects and have the experience necessary to ensure every integration solution is a great one.

SAP EDI EDPAR Table Walkthrough – How to Cross Reference External Customer Number to SAP Customer Number (Part 2)

Let’s say you are receiving EDI ANSI X12 850 Sales Orders from you customers that need to be uploaded into your SAP System using the ORDERS05 IDOC.  Most customers will have their own internal customer numbers that they send in their EDI transmissions to represent the Sold-To and Ship-To partners.

How do you convert these external customer numbers into your internal SAP customer numbers?

Some may hard code these conversions into their EDI maps.  This approach can be very high maintenance as customers can add new ship-to locations or reorganize their internal numbers which would require changes to your maps.

Others may set up a cross reference table within their EDI translation table to perform the conversion.  This works well at times, but then you are at the mercy of your EDI group to update the table with any new additions or changes to existing entries. [Read more...]

SAP NCo 3.0 – Best Practice Guide for Upgrade from .NET Connector 2.0

Duration: 1 hour

Speaker:  Craig Stasila, Principal, DataXstream

This one hour webinar will supply you with knowledge of features specific to the new upgrade, as well as an overview of the advantages that come with investing in NCo 3.0.

What Will Be Highlighted:

  • Changes and new features brought upon by the NCo 3.0 update
  • Demonstrations of best-practices for implementing new and existing NCo code
  • Live demonstration of inbound and outbound function calls between a .NET solution and SAP ECC

Available on Demand

Please complete the required form to view the webinar

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DataXstream to Exhibit at Insider IT 2011 Conference in March

SAP Insider IT 2011 Logo

Visit DataXstream at the IT 2011 Conference

What: IT 2011 Conference

When: March 15 – 18, 2011

Where: MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, NV [Read more...]

Case Study – Integration with SAP .Net Connector

Pure Fishing, Inc. – Integration with SAP .Net Connector

Pure Fishing needed a new and standardized solution to allow seamless interaction between their SAP systems and third-party warehouse management software that was more reliable and flexible then custom integration approach used in the past.

View More Case Studies

SAP Technical Consulting Services

DataXstream’s technical consulting teams have been committed to our customer’s success with SAP for over 15 years. Our focus on SAP technologies allows us to have a positive impact on our customer’s SAP projects and businesses. Our team members have a broad cross section of industry experience, working on both large and small teams, allowing them to quickly adapt to the needs of any SAP project. DataXstream’s investment over the last 10 years in SAP development capabilities gives our consulting teams an advantage by providing a solid foundation for advancing their SAP skills. This investment has given DataXstream the ability to build and maintain tools and project accelerators; allowing our consultants to set the right direction for your project, accelerate your timeline, reduce delivery risk, control cost, and ultimately, provide your business with meaningful SAP services and solutions.

“DataXstream was by far the best partner during our SAP implementation. Their level of knowledge was extraordinary, their dedication was unquestionable and their integrity was never a matter of concern for us. I would recommend their services to any company that is serious about SAP.” – SAP Project Manager, Wholesale Distribution Company.

SAP Mid-Month Go-Live: Got the T-shirt

Conventional wisdom says you don’t go-live with SAP financials in the middle of the month (strictly speaking I should say the middle of the accounting period, but I’ll say month as a generic term for the posting period).  I recently went through a mid-month SAP financials and logistics go-live and so far it has been a success.

Initially the project team had the expected you-can’t-do-that reaction when the idea of a mid-month go-live was suggested.  We took three main steps to determine whether or not we were crazy or had a viable go-live option:

  1. We asked SAP.  As one of the main participants on the project we got them to do an internal review with some platinum consultants with the objective of telling us why we could not go-live mid-month.
  2. We asked our project team, both client and consulting resources.  Again, the goal was to tell us why we couldn’t do it.
  3. We Googled like maniacs to find something to support and justify the conventional wisdom.  We failed to find anything substantial that would deter us.

Armed with the conviction that there was no reason we couldn’t go-live mid-month we set about defining the details of how we would pull it off.

[Read more...]

Configuring Availability Time Planning in SAP PI

A common problem in SAP PI is scheduling a particular interface to run at a particular time and date for adapters that poll (such as the file adapter). The communication channel is not a good way to handle this functionality as the polling period is reset if a change is activated or the channel is stopped and then started on the runtime workbench. The purpose of this blog is to demonstrate how to set up communication channels so that they “turn on” at a specific point in time and how to maintain this setting if the system needs to be restarted.

[Read more...]

DataXstream to Exhibit at SAP TechEd 2010

What: SAP TechEd 2010SAP TechEd 2010

When: October 18-22

Where: The Venetian/Pallazo Congress Center, Las Vegas, NV

Is virtualization in your company’s future SAP landscape vision?  How about an SAP upgrade? Are you having issues integrating SAP with other systems?  Do you want to know how Solution Manager can add tremendous value to your business?

The virtualization technology offered by DataXstream not only optimizes your SAP infrastructure, it also makes your company more sustainable.  At DataXstream we value sustainability and recognize the importance of sustainable business practices. Virtualization improves the efficiency of servers and reduces the energy and carbon emissions because fewer physical servers are actually needed to fulfill your business needs. The fact that fewer servers are used also offers the added benefit of less maintenance and back power are required. Thus, not only will you cut energy consumption, you will also cut costs. Integration is ideal if you are looking for a long-term development strategy that utilizes different technologies and methodologies. Solution manager, on the other hand, optimizes SAP performance while minimizing IT costs. Regardless of your SAP need, DataXstream is the answer to revolutionize your SAP infrastructure.

If any of these topics are relevant to you then come by booth 120 and talk to the industry’s leading technical consultants, DataXstream.

For more information visit our official Exhibitor Profile