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Businesses are aware of the advantages and benefits that SAP has to offer: decades of experience in all kinds of branches, proven know-how as well as innovative strength evoke confidence and enable adjustments to new requirements. In addition, the  leading ERP software lets businesses manage all processes such as procurement, production, distribution, service, logistics, finance and human resources.

The SAP eco-system is correspondingly vast and contains a considerable number of applications. These, however, are only flexible to a certain point and don’t always meet clients’ requirements. Yet while SAP also has the most varied planning and optimization tools, complex adjustments and the lack of certain features (e.g. scenario management) mean that busineses tend to shop around for other planning systems – and come across OPTANO.

SAP connection: Spinning digital threads

Often, companies don’t want to commit to just one software – not even to SAP. They want systems that offer the best possible features – and preferably at the lowest price. The result is a sophisticated system landscape with different applications which need to communicate with one another. As a rule, the ERP system (in many cases SAP)  is at the heart of all this. This is where the digital threads are sewn together. The question for businesses is: How to optimally connect external applications with SAP – in other words, what is the best way to spin the digital threads?

For OPTANO also, as an external application, connecting to the existing SAP system is a challenge. There are various ways of meeting this challenge,the one you decide on depends on the options the existing IT-architecture offers.

To help you make this decision, ask yourself the following questions:

The following questions must be answered here:

  • Data transfer: Where does the data come from and where does it have to go to? How large is the amount of data to be synchronized?
  • Data quality: What is the quality of the data? Are data validation and data checks necessary?
  • Aggregation: Which software works on which aggregation?

When planning in OPTANO, lots of different data is combined. This data often stems from various (SAP) systems which have so far worked on their own. Now, however, these systems have to communicate with one another – the digital threads need to be spun. The connection that has to be created has the task of managing communication: Collecting data from SAP (and from other systems, if necessary) preparing it so that the connected system (in our case this would be OPTANO) can understand it and transferring it there. Depending on the application, it may also be necessary to return the results to SAP.

The direction of the data transfer is an important aspect to bear in mind when deciding upon which interface to use. Here you have to differentiate between unidirectional and bidirectional synchronization. The data volume must also be considered: not all the methods used to connect software to SAP are mass data-compatible.

Different data export modes also need to be considered when creating the interface: from manual to automated ones. A manual mode is required if the quality of the data is inadequate and still needs to be checked. In contrast, high data quality is required for automated mode.

Both criteria – the direction and the mode – serve a purpose and can be implemented in various possible combinations.

What aggregation do you intend to plan on? You need to consider this before you choose a connection because it’s important to bear in mind that SAP often works on the basis of individual products. Let’s say, however. that planning in OPTANO is effected in product groups to reduce complexity, there has to be a corresponding aggregation (as is the case when you plan on a weekly or monthly basis).

The digital thread to OPTANO

Basically, when it comes to connecting  OPTANO to SAP, you have to decide on a case-to-case basis on what the most suitable method is as the requirements regarding data transfer, data quality and aggregation are very inidvidual. The aim of connecting OPTANO successfully is the consistency of the imported data, whereby validation and checks can also be performed in OPTANO – instead of directly in SAP export. Relocating the logic to OPTANO means that the savings potential for businesses is huge.

A file-based data exchange in CSV format, a software platform for data integration or web services? If we take into consideration all the aspects mentioned, we can select the right connection to SAP for OPTANO:

Excel/CSV Interface

The Excel or CSV interface is a flexible format. Here, mapping enables data transfer in OPTANO without any programing effort. Import and export in Excel/CSV format can be effected both unidirectionally and bidirectionally as well as manually to automatically. Furthermore, the Excel/CSV interface supports the transfer of mass data with millions of rows.

Excel-/CSV-Data Synchronization

Diagram – OPTANO connection with an Excel-/CSV interface

A software platform for data integration

ETL (Extract Transform Load) tools such as Scribe Insight enable the drafting and application of data integration solutions without any programming knowledge. The software platform Scribe Insight, uses any connection type which is supported by SAP administrators and uses SAP connection protocols such as Netweaver to make SAP data accessible. Off-the-shelf connectors and agile customization tools transform the software platform into a rapidly operational and flexible connection method which can function both unidirectionally and bidirectionally as well as manually to automatically.

ScribeInsight Data Synchronization

Diagram – OPTANO connection with a software platform

Web services

Exchanging data flexibly and rapidly via web: the SAP.Net-connector is used as a basis for communication.Data is transferred using REST, RFC or SOAP protocols. BAPIs enable access to SAP business objects and in this way enable OPTANO access to  data from SAP. Data exchange via the web is possible both unidirectionally and bidirectionally. By using internet standards (HTTP,XML, etc.) web services are suitable for different application scenarios but not always to transfer large data amounts.

SAP .NET Connector Data Synchronization

Diagram – OPTANO connection with a  SAP .NET Connector

Do you work with SAP and  are on the lookout for suitable planning software? Convince yourself of the knowledge and experience of our experts. We guarantee that we will find the right solution to the SAP connection for your project . Let’s spin the digital threads of your IT-network together!

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