What Does a Software Provider Need to Know Before Beginning the Product Certification Process with SAP?

In conversation with members of the DataXstream as they wrapped up integrating and certifying a recent third party software product with SAP I began to ask the question: What does a third party software provider need to know before beginning the certification process with SAP?

It came down to three things:

  1. Know the business case. Because integration with SAP requires commitment, time and extensive knowledge of SAP it is important to have identified the business case and the software provider’s expected ROI
  2. Integrating a product with SAP is an involved process. SAP software is specific and so integration has to be done correctly.
  3. Integrating a product with SAP requires dedication, time, and know-how because it is an involved process.

The team seemed to agree that every third party software company is surprised by the scope of the project. To integrate a product with SAP requires a broad understanding of SAP product offerings and modules. SAP is designed to work very specifically and as a result the development process is intricate. Craig Stasila compared SAP to a Swiss Army knife “it is hyper configurable.”  Additionally it is important to approach the project from the perspective of the business user. For the new software to effectively bring value to the SAP eco-system, the developer needs to keep in mind the business user’s needs and the end user’s experience with the interface. An understanding of the technical aspects of SAP NetWeaver integration and development is required to design and implement a solution that is solid and scalable.

Understanding the business case to pursue integration and certification is imperative. Stasila described a conversation he had with a software development company that was approached by SAP. An SAP representative said, “you should get that software integrated with SAP.” The client had no idea what this might involve. They had no experience with SAP and were not aware of the level of complexity. However as part of their assessment phase Stasila had provided a list of priorities the client should focus on to improve their impact in the SAP space. The client then identified items on the list of priorities that they could do in house. The client is currently pursuing those priorities to improve their position.

So if a software company finds that the business case is there for certification with SAP what then? A typical 3rd party certification project looks something like this:

The software company reaches out to DataXstream. DataXstream will execute an assessment of the project to determine the high level scope of the project, develop a blue print and create a Rough Order Management Budget (ROM). If the assessment indicates that the software client should move forward with integrating and certifying their product with SAP DataXstream can work with the client to develop a full-scale project plan in detail. DataXstream can provide resources to execute the plan as well as experience with the SAP ecosystem to help with market analysis and promotion of the certified product. DataXstream is committed to our partners and provides sales support to help answer questions throughout the sales cycle of the certified product.

DataXstream is proud to have had the opportunity to partner with many software companies over the years whose products bring value to the SAP ecosystem. SAP is a leading provider in the enterprise software market; by certifying their product with SAP our clients increase the customer base for their product and gain market value.  Please contact us for more information regarding leveraging DataXstream’s SAP expertise to integrate and certify your product with SAP.

 

OMS+ Client Story

Fruit Grower’s Supply Company (FGS) is the largest agricultural supply co-op on the US West Coast. The cooperative was organized in 1907 as a result of the 1906 earthquake and fires in San Francisco. Today, the nonprofit cooperative association is open to the public and provides the agricultural items required to grow, harvest, package and ship various commodities of produce. Fruit Growers Supply provides over-the-counter sales, specialized ordering, and custom-design irrigation systems with six retail locations across California and Arizona.

Fruit Grower’s Supply determined a need to upgrade their SAP® environment and integrate a new Order Management / Point of Sale solution for each of their retail locations. Their legacy system was out of date and the company that performed the initial implementation had been bought out and no longer existed. Additionally, the legacy hardware FGS was using would no longer have support as of June 2014 and the company was tasked to maintain PCI compliance.

FGS created a committee of stakeholders to determine what to upgrade, evaluate potential partners and decide when to complete these changes to ensure minimal business disruption. The committee included the FGS Operation’s Center Director, IT Director, County Controller and Chief Financial Officer. The committee concluded that not only would it benefit the company to upgrade the legacy POS at that time, but that upgrading SAP and Windows would add additional efficiency. The POS needs were determined to be:

  • Increase customer service levels by supporting additional payment methods
  • Increase sales opportunities
  • Increase accountability by supporting end of day procedures and cash draw functionality

Specific needs critical to Fruit Grower’s Supply included:

  • The need to eliminate SAP interfaces
  • A centralized system
  • The ability to support specific client relationships found in their industry

The ability to support signature capture

Once the committee determined the company’s needs, they were responsible for selecting a solution to fulfill these requirements. The committee chose to partner with DataXstream because DataXstream was one of the only providers able to support all of FGS critical requirements. DataXstream’s skill set and knowledge of SAP upgrades met FGS needs. DataXstream also offered specialty retail knowledge, experience and had previous success with POS implementation at a specialty retailer. Finally, DataXstream demonstrated a clear understanding of the investment required for a successfully implementation and client history showing increased efficiencies and improved order management processes.

Fruit Grower’s Supply and DataXstream engaged in a two-week assessment period to better understand FGS’s needs. They agreed on a four-day cutover throughout Labor Day weekend to minimize the impact to FGS clients. Prior to cutover, the team submitted the implementation to three testing cycles. These testing cycles were also used as training opportunities for the FGS team.

Alex Perlovich, Director of IT for Fruit Growers noted that the assessment period was critical to the success of the project because FGS had the opportunity to require some proof from DataXstream that critical needs could be met. Tim Yates, CEO of DataXstream, noted that FGS did an excellent job providing detailed testing scenarios to test the product before delivery. The teams worked to upgrade SAP from ECC 6.0 to EHP7, implement a new hardware terminal with flexible controls, and migrate from the legacy POS to the new POS with minimal impact while maintaining some legacy processes.

At the end of any implementation the first question is: “What business value has been gained?”

Fruit Grower’s Supply lists the following benefits from upgrading their operating systems and implementing a new POS:

  • The solution was designed, developed and deployed to all of the company stores in 6 months
  • Seamless migration from legacy POS
  • Minimal impact to FGS clients
  • Retained ability to maintain legacy order processes
  • Sales order creation steps were reduced by 50 percent
  • Simplified return and refund processes were established; the time to complete a return and refund process was reduced from 15 minutes to less than 2 minutes
  • Significantly reduced the number of order fulfillment related support tickets from stores
  • Ability to add and refine features and functionality without adding hardware

DataXstream’s Order Management Solution (OMS+) is easily adapted to custom requirements for a variety of clients. It is a good fit for SAP clients looking for capability with permits, licenses, hazardous materials, partial orders, partial delivery, partial return or layaway. The solution is also a good fit for businesses considering SAP functionality, and any business, wholesale or retail, with complex order processing. DataXstream has recently been approached by municipalities exploring the possible use of the solution for sale of permits and licenses as well as restructuring the system to allow for one point accounts receivable.

 

 

DataXstream to Participate at Sapphire Now and ASUG Annual Conference – Booth 418

DataXstream_1313x488_SA15exh

When:  May 5-7th, 2015
Where:  Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL

The DataXstream team is preparing once again for SAP®’s premier event, SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference.We’ll be joining 20,000+ SAP customers, partners and personnel who gather each year for 3 days of strategy, networking, and education on applications, platform, and services.

In addition to learning more about DataXstream’s leading SAP Consulting and Integration Services, we’re inviting folks to delve into our OMS+ Solution. Purpose built for SAP® ERP, ECC and Retail applications, OMS+ brings advanced Order Management and POS capabilities to in-store sales, tablet, or on-line store.

Attendees can:

  • Schedule a 1-on-1 OMS+ Demo
  • Join us on Thursday, May 7th, for an evening networking event and a chance to meet the team and our OMS+ customers

If you’re going to Orlando and want to secure some time to see OMS+ live or meet with the DataXstream team, complete the form below.  Hope to see you there!

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SAP FICO

Location:  US Multiple Locations

DataXstream, an SAP focused organization, has experienced significant growth over the last 2 years.  We  are currently seeking an SAP FICO Consultant to add to the team.  This FICO role will be critical and will include a diverse set of responsibilities over multiple areas of the business:

Support 4 Expanding Business Areas of DataXstream:

  • ISV Enablement Business, including Vertex Product Development and Cforia Collections & Deductions Management
  • DataXstream Product Development for our OMS+ Order Management / POS solution
  • DataXstream Sales and Delivery Teams
  • Internal implementation of SAP at DataXstream

We are looking for a unique individual who is willing to roll up their sleeves and get involved with our very capable teams:

  • ISV support will include working with software vendors and their clients to develop new, innovative complementary solutions for SAP.
  • The DataXstream Product Team is rapidly developing our OMS+ solution which requires tight integration between SD and FICO. You will work alongside the Product Team to continue to improve design and expand functionality.
  • Work with our Sales & Delivery Teams to create demos and proposals for clients
  • Help build and select FICO resources and teams for delivery while assisting delivery teams with specific FICO projects
  • Work with DataXstream leadership to implement SAP internally over the next calendar year

Skills:

  • Loves to work with SAP
  • Interested in continuously learning and willing to put in the extra effort to expand SAP knowledge
  • Interested in helping others learn and expand SAP knowledge
  • Interested in helping DataXstream win new customers and business

The right individual has the potential to significantly expand his/her roles and responsibilities within the organization.

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  9. *By submitting this form you are agreeing to receive periodic communications from DataXstream. DataXstream will not share, sell or provide any of said information to a third-party for any reason. You can unsubscribe at any time by following the unsubscribe link at the bottom of all emails or sending an email to info@dataxstream.com with the subject line "unsubscribe".
 

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ISV Enablement

DataXstream has been a leader in Independent Software Vendor Integration to SAP / SAP partner enablement since 2005 and has assisted dozens of software companies to successfully enter the SAP market. SAP’s predominance in the enterprise software market means that third party enterprise software solutions need to interact with SAP- either receiving data from SAP or sending data to SAP or both.

DataXstream Offers:

  • Functional Expertise
  • Technical Expertise
  • Go-To-Market Assistance
  • Technical Sales and Marketing Support
  • Flexible Partnering Agreements

Want to learn more?

Read our Client Success Story Greenlee Textron

Visit our blog for “What makes a great ISV Enablement Partner” by Craig Stasila

Simplifying SAP UX Design is Easier Than You Think

User experience – UX, for short – is how a person feels when interacting with a digital product. What users expect is an easy, interactive experience that provides value with regular use. When forced to spend too much time navigating through a clunky web application, the result is frustration, loss of productivity and a perception of poor value.

If you’re tired of hearing complaints from customers, clients, coworkers or employees about web apps with a cumbersome user experience, you’re not alone. The good news is there are professional tools available to help UX designers streamline business processes, enhance visuals and simplify navigation to boost user satisfaction and loyalty. This article aims to familiarize and provide examples of some of the professional design tools available for enhancing UX on web-based systems.

Tools of the Trade:
Here are a few popular and easily accessible tools for UX professionals, developers, designers and interaction designers.

Fiori
Fiori is a collection of apps designed by SAP for broadly and frequently used SAP software functions. These apps offer a user experience that is personalized, responsive and simple, while enabling a holistic and consistent experience across multiple devices.

JavaScript
JavaScript enables you to add dynamic and interactive elements to websites. It can be used to enhance the user experience within web browsers by adding animation and effects, and also allows for communication between external devices and other platforms.

UI5
Not to be confused with HTML5, SAP UI5 is a library / framework of pre-built and customizable elements created using JavaScript that simplifies and accelerates the development of enhanced user experiences.

SAP Gateway
SAP Gateway is a technology that provides a simple way to connect devices, environments and platforms to SAP software based on market standards. It offers connectivity to SAP applications using any programming language or model without the need for SAP knowledge by leveraging REST services and OData/ATOM protocols.

ABAP Web Dynpro
ABAP Web Dynpro is the SAP standard UI technology for developing Web applications in the ABAP environment. This is the base of building a SAP specific webpage, but recently has the added ability to execute JavaScript.

How it’s done:
So what are some things you can do with the aforementioned tools? The examples below show how DataXstream developers used a combination of these tools to enhance the UX of our Order Management / POS application for SAP.

(1) ABAP Web Dynpro has enabled SAP web applications to utilize JavaScript. In the example below, both ABAP Web Dynpro and JavaScript were used to enhance the home page user interface.

ABAB, curtain effect, javascript

JavaScript was used to create a curtain effect. When the mouse is rolled over a blue icon, the box rolls up to reveal its contents. This can be seen in the first section.

Java Script, SAP, customization, SAP message

JavaScript was used to customize the standard SAP messages. Here the message is displayed in a pop-up that disables the background and forces the user to acknowledge the message.

(2) In addition to enhancing the UX with flashy interfaces, ABAP WD and JavaScript were used to communicate with a credit card machine. Below are snapshots of the interaction between the application and the credit card device.

OMS+, POS, credit card device, app display, SAP, SAP Retail,

Line items entered on the POS web app display on the credit card device.

UX, ABAP WD, JavaScript, credit card device, signature capture, SAP, SAP Retail, POS, OMS+

Once the customer provides a signature on the credit card device, it’s captured within the POS application.

cc machine, pos, oms+, sap, javascript, UX, ABAP WD,

The signature capture is also displayed on the retailer’s POS screen.

(3) In this next example, ABAP Web Dynpro, JavaScript, and SAP Gateway were combined to interactively display forms with the appropriate signature:

POS, ABAP, Web Dynpro, JavaScript, SAP Gateway
POS, OMS+, ABAP, Web Dynpro, JavaScript, SAP Gateway, SAP

POS, OMS+, SAP, signature

A PDF document within the POS displays the full order and signature.

In Summary:
SAP UI can be cumbersome, however simplifying digital apps to provide a better user experience, making it easier and more efficient for users, is not as daunting as you may think.

This year at TechEd && d-code, SAP’s premier technology education conference, DataXstream consultants presented a User Experience/User Interface Development session highlighting how DataXstream developers customized a standard Web Dynpro ABAP app using HTML islands. Participants learned to enhance standard floor plan manager components for Lean Order Management with HTML islands and saw examples of how HTML5 was used to enhance the GUI and communication with multiple external retail devices.

To learn more about DataXstream and view a pdf of this session, please click here.

michael_profile2Michael Champion
Michael Champion is a SAP Technical Consultant with DataXstream responsible for Product Integration and Development. His core skills include ABAP / Web Dynpro ABAP and Process Integration Development (PI/XI).

Fruit Growers Supply Selects Point of Sale Solution From DataXstream

FRUIT GROWERS SUPPLY SELECTS POINT OF SALE SOLUTION FROM DATAXSTREAM

DataXstream POS for SAP® ERP will increase sales opportunities and improve customer service  

 

WILLIAMSBURG, VA. – March 29, 2014 – DataXstream (www.dataxstream.com), the designer and seller of a fully integrated point of sale (POS) solution, announced today that Fruit Growers Supply has selected the DataXstream POS application. The solution works with the SAP® ERP application and provides traditional POS functionality as well as advanced order management capabilities. Built and deployed on the SAP NetWeaver® technology platform, the DataXstream POS application is easy to deploy through SAP portal technology or a browser and features real time inventory visibility across the supply chain. DataXstream’s solution helps organizations leverage live reporting of their business activities – an invaluable benefit for store operations and management reporting.

Fruit Growers Supply (FGS) based in Sherman Oaks, Calif. (www.fruitgrowers.com), is one of the oldest companies in the state to handle the unique needs of the agricultural community.  The company operates multiple retail and warehouse locations in California and Arizona.

“Our aged POS system had forced us into so many workarounds, resulting in a number of inefficiencies that had a negative impact to the top and bottom line,” said Alex Perlovich, IT Director at FGS.  “We were looking for a POS solution that could handle multiple types of payments (cash, credit, credit cards, EMV), as well as down payments with balance due at delivery, along with refund and return capability. We also wanted to have the POS solution that was flexible enough to handle complex order processes such as order on account with delivery over time directly from the POS terminal.”

The DataXstream POS application for SAP® ERP provides complete back office connectivity as well as comprehensive functionality for retail locations such as support for sales promotions and complex pricing. The system also supports better customer service through increased visibility to customer history and product availability, which is a common need in specialty retail environments.

“A key consideration for Fruit Growers Supply when selecting the DataXstream POS solution was that it is an add-on to the SAP ERP application environment and integrates with SAP ERP,” said DataXstream’s Craig Stasila, VP of Product Development.

About Fruit Growers Supply

Organized in 1907, Fruit Growers Supply Company (FGS) has grown along with the West’s citrus production. Today, the nonprofit cooperative association is open to the public and provides the agricultural items required to grow, harvest, package, and ship various agricultural commodities. With six retail Operations Centers providing over-the-counter sales, specialized ordering, and custom-design Irrigation systems, FGS continues to offer quality services and goods at highly competitive prices.

About DataXstream

Founded in 1997 and headquartered in Williamsburg, Virginia, with a development center in Indianapolis, Indiana, DataXstream has built a successful practice providing technical and functional consulting services for SAP solutions, software products for use in SAP solution environments, and a commercially available POS for use with the SAP ERP application. With trusted partners SAP, VMWare and Dell, DataXstream has provided tangible benefits to companies such as Lumber Liquidators, Eli Lilly and Computer Associates.

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SAP, SAP NetWeaver, and all SAP logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP AG in Germany and in several other countries. All other product and service names mentioned are the trademarks of their respective companies.

SAP Services

DataXstream’s consulting teams have been committed to our customer’s success with SAP for over 17 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 quality SAP services.

 

SAP Custom Development

Developing custom solutions for SAP is more than just knowing how to code or a list of development objects. It is about enabling unique business processes and requirements, and having the vision to understand how those processes will change as the business grows. DataXstream development teams reduce cost though smart, flexible, scalable designs, which in turn reduce development effort, test cycles, and time to implement.

“I have worked on many challenging projects during many years in Aerospace and need to say that it is rare to find a team with such extensive expertise and knowledge.” – Planning Manager, Aerospace & Defense Industry.

SAP Functional Consulting

DataXstream’s functional consultants understand how to implement SAP software and business solutions and enable customers’ businesses for success. The challenge for any business is balancing the unique requirements and differentiators of that business with industry best practices and software capabilities to provide effective solutions that enable that business for success. DataXstream consultants have SAP domain expertise, cross industry exposure, flexibility and leadership skills to deliver real value to your business through SAP software and business solutions

“I would recommend DataXstream to any company looking to enhance SAP functionality at any module. The employees are professional, timely, and know the right questions to ask.” – Director of IT, Manufacturing Industry.