Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) require a very special technical platform for managing their business processes. This should be fast to deploy, easy to use and scalable. SAP Business One is part of Smart Business Solutions and the ideal answer to these needs. An article covering SAP solutions for SMEs and an interview on SAP’s SME strategy can be found in SAP INFO printed issue103.
The client/server architecture used in SAP Business One ensures that load distribution to the system resources is both effective and stable and that transactions are processed efficiently. With this ‘fat-client’ application, the business logic runs on the user PCs, while the server side handles the database, backup services, e-mail connections and license management.
The sturdy, scalable MS-SQL 2000 database supports an unlimited number of simultaneous transactions and ensures process reliability at all times. To ensure the consistency of the client/server application, SAP Business One supports automatic version checking and an automatic upgrade process. The new client software is loaded from the server database.
Ready for Use in Record Time
SAP Business One can be implemented in just a matter of days. This is ideal for small and medium-sized businesses that generally only have limited personnel and financial resources. The some 60 customizing settings can be performed easily, thereby ensuring that the solution will go online within just a few days.
Simple operation means that even inexperienced users can quickly master the software. The input mask can be customized to ensure workflows provide users with optimum support. The alarm function, for example, can be used to set a workflow, a reminder or an approval process. Separate fields can also be defined for all objects, whether these are articles, business partners or orders. This means that information – for example texts, addresses, telephone numbers, file attachments, images or selection lists – can be managed for a whole range of business activities.
Values from a predefined search process can be entered and processed in all fields – including user-defined fields – by employing a formatted search. There are various ways available to do this:
- Values can be entered in boxes automatically using either various objects in the system, a predefined list or user-defined queries.
- Relationships between system boxes – e.g. the value in box X influences the value in box Y – can be defined.
- Boxes that can only be displayed in response to queries – e.g. user signature, creation date or total payments outstanding – can be displayed.
Open for Expansion
SAP Business One is supplied as a stable basic system complete with core functions. These include the company’s primary processes and country-specific legal requirements. To expand the system’s functionality to take into account industry-specific requirements or to link up external suppliers, a Development Kit for SAP Business One is available for programmers. This consists primarily of COM-based standard programming interfaces (Application Programming Interface, API). The COM objects that are available can be edited with Visual Basic, C, C++ and Java using a package for the Java Native Interface (JNI) and a corresponding object classification.
Two different programming interfaces are supported in the form of Data Interface API and User Interface API. Data Interface API supplies objects and methods which SAP Business One can use to read or edit the key data objects. It provides a means for accessing master data, transaction data and a series of general objects.
User Interface API, however, supplies objects and methods that can be used to access user interface objects such as input/check boxes and system-internal events. This enables the user to respond to all user interface events, e.g. to access a separate routine by pressing a push-button. User Interface API can also be used to insert new menu items, windows or boxes into the user interface and, consequently, to add additional functions to SAP Business One.
Seamless Integration into the mySAP Business Suite
SAP Business One can be augmented by a comprehensive Internet sales solution based on the J2EE Internet standard. This solution supports Business-to-Business and Business-to-Consumer scenarios. Direct communication is possible between the Web Shop and SAP Business One and data can also be exchanged (e.g. product catalogs, prices or customer information). Orders are created in SAP Business One based on the shopping carts created.
SAP uses various integration scenarios to ensure a seamless linkup between mySAP Business Suite and SAP Business One. Data Interface API and User Interface API are also used for this purpose. SAP Business One supports electronic data exchange and web-based collaboration both within a single company and across different enterprises. The system can be integrated, among other things, into a supply chain network involving business partners. It is also possible via web services to link up to marketplaces or to applications run by business partners. SAP customers thus have access to a standardized, integrated SAP applications environment. This enables multinational companies, for example, to use SAP Business One in their branches and mySAP Business Suite at their head office.
SAP Exchange Infrastructure Enables Process Integration
From May 2003 onwards, various advanced scenarios supporting accounting procedures and logistics will be available for SAP Business One. These will be based on the SAP Exchange Infrastructure. These scenarios will include:
- Consolidation: Data from subsidiaries can be combined into the consolidated accounts. The consolidation system supports various consolidated accounts that correspond to the legal requirements for external billing.
- Central accounting, decentralized logistics: In this scenario, several decentralized logistics systems (SAP Business One) take care of sales activities, while financial matters (bookkeeping) are dealt with in a centralized system.
- Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) with Collaborative Forecasting and Replenishment (CFR): Suppliers have access to their customers’ inventory and sales data and are therefore able to provide inventory planning and management services for goods on customers’ premises.
- Intercompany management: Conducting business beyond individual accounting groups means that processes can be supported between several companies within a single organization. The sales organization of a particular accounting group, for example, uses a customer’s order to generate an order record within its own company and orders goods from a factory assigned to a different accounting group, for example at head office or a central supply organization.
- Master data distribution via a distributed system landscape ensures data consistency throughout all applications.
A SAP Business One web server based on JE22 XML/SOAP messages is available for data exchange in these scenarios. With regard to mySAP.com installation, data exchange is performed with IDOCs.
Further information on SAP Business One is available via the SAP Service Marketplace at