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!

 please request more information here or email us at Info@dataxstream.com

NCo 3.0 Error: “Cannot get destination XXX — no destination configuration registered”

I have received a few inquires about users getting the following error when they try to execute the NCo Samples provided by DataXstream:

Cannot get destination XXX — no destination configuration registered

This error is caused because the .NET Framework is unable to locate the sapnco assembly file.

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SAP NCo 3.0: How-to Pass Table Parameters to SAP RFC

Since I posted step-by-step instructions on how to build an NCo RFC client, the  request I most often get is how to populate and pass a table of data as a parameter to an SAP RFC.  In this blog, I will walk through the steps to pass a table parameter to from a .NET program to SAP via NCo 3.0.  I will not be covering the basics of how to set up NCo 3.0 as a RFC client as I have already covered that.

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Build an RFC Client with NCo 3.0 for VB.NET – A Step-By-Step Guide

Recently, I published an article showing step-by-step instructions for how to consume an SAP RFC with the SAP .Net Connector 3.0 (NCo 3.0).  The article included code samples and a working code example for download written in C#.  Well, not everybody writes in C#.  There are some of you that would prefer to write in VB.NET.  So, I have heeded your call, all you VB.NET developers!  Here is your very own article detailing how to build an RFC client with NCo 3.0 for VB.NET.

The SAP .Net Connector 3.0 (NCo 3.0) offers many improvements over SAP .NET Connector 2.0. Unfortunately, SAP no longer offers example .NET code.  This blog attempts to fill that gap by describing how to build a simple RFC Client using SAP .Net Connector (NCo) 3.0 with VB.NET.  Click here to request a .zip file containing a copy of the source code.

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NCo 3.0: Reconnecting a Broken RFC Server Connection

Don’t you hate it when you’re talking on the cell phone and the call drops?   I was talking to my wife on the way to my client site this week and was telling her about this awesome blog post I was writing when the call dropped.  Bummer.  Since I really wanted to tell her about my blog, I wanted to complete the conversation.  But first, I had to wait for service.  Then I had to call her back, and have her answer.  Then I uttered the phrase that all cell phone users know, “What was the last thing you heard me say?”  It was a fairly messy recovery, but I was finally able to talk about my blog!

When two software systems integrate, we also have to deal with the “dropped call” problem.  SAP NCo 3.0 offers a few different levels of  data recovery options depending on whether NCo is the client or the server.  But before any data recovery can happen, the first step is to call the other party back.  This blog post describes the general process to reconnect an NCo RfcServer to an SAP gateway host.

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Build an RFC Server with NCo 3.0 – A Step-By-Step Guide


SAP .NET Connector 2.0 offered a couple of different sample projects that were instrumental in my learning process.  As I mentioned in my post detailing the steps to build an RFC client, SAP no longer supplies code samples with SAP .NET Connector (NCo) 3.0.  So, I decided to make available some code examples created by my colleague, Terry DeBruicker.

This blog describes how to build a simple RFC Server using the SAP NCo 3.0. The sample program implements RFC STFC_CONNECTION.  STFC_CONNECTION is a good example to use because it contains both importing and exporting parameters.

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Build an RFC Client with NCo 3.0 – A Step-By-Step Guide

The SAP .Net Connector 3.0 (NCo 3.0) offers many improvements over the 2.0 version of that product. Unfortunately, SAP no longer offers example .NET code.  This blog attempts to fill that gap by describing how to build a simple RFC Client using SAP .Net Connector (NCo) 3.0.  Click here to request a .zip file containing a copy of the source code.

The sample program displays details about companies defined by SAP. There are two BAPI calls involved, BAPI_COMPANY_GETLIST and BAPI_COMPANY_GETDETAIL.
Along with the SAP .Net Connector 3.0, we are using Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and the Microsoft .Net Framework 4.0 to build our sample.  Prior to starting, you will have to download and install NCo 3.0 (OSS login required).
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Introducing SAP .NET Connector (NCo) 3.0

This past summer, SAP announced a new version of SAP Connector for Microsoft .NET — NCo 3.0.  SAP decided to give us an early Christmas present when they officially released NCo 3.0 on December 22, 2010.  You can download NCo 3.0 at http://service.sap.com/connectors (you will need an OSS logon).

Included in the downloads are documents that discuss the notable changes from .NET Connector 2.0 and a very comprehensive help file (in .chm format).  Noticeably absent are complete samples, although SAP claims that the included tutorial will be updated.

Additionally, I already have my first NCo 3.0 project under way, so check back soon for more information about NCo 3.0!

Happy Coding!


Additional Information

Follow these links for more information about NCo 3.0 programming:

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

Coming Soon: SAP .NET Connector (NCo) 3.0

SAP is announcing a new version of SAP Connector for Microsoft .NET 3.0 (now called “NCo 3.0″). A beta program for selected customers and partners is currently underway (Q3, 2010) with the general release of the software coming soon thereafter.  I will highlight some of the major differences between the SAP Connector for Microsoft .NET 2.0 and NCo 3.0 (besides the obvious, and much-needed name-shortening).

EDITOR’S NOTE: NCo 3.0 has now been released.  Read more details here.

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