ERP Everywhere

SAP NetWeaver Mobile
SAP NetWeaver Mobile: The link between partner software and SAP systems. (graphic: grasundsterne)

A few years ago, Apple showed the world how small programs known as “apps” can enable users to run software while on the move. Apps have since become commonplace in everyday business. For SAP partners, this a prime opportunity to program new, industry-specific software that integrates with existing SAP systems and makes it possible for employees to access them with their mobile devices. In the articles “The Best Business Apps for Your iPad” and “Best Business Apps for iPhone,” we told you about the mobile software currently leading the pack.

This time, we take a look at the link between partner software and SAP systems: SAP NetWeaver Mobile 7.1.

Just like SAP NetWeaver, SAP NetWeaver Mobile is a technology platform on which SAP software and third-party programs run. Whether it’s SAP ERP, SAP Customer Relationship Management (SAP CRM), or SAP Business One, SAP software is based on the programming language ABAP. SAP NetWeaver Mobile, meanwhile, facilitates the integration of additional industry-specific applications written in C++, Java, or other languages. It also enables users to merge business information from various databases.

The concept behind SAP NetWeaver Mobile

SAP NetWeaver Mobile replicates data from the back end, syncs it to mobile devices, and handles the corresponding processing.

The platform’s Data Orchestration Engine (DOE) directs data and transactions to users based on individual rules, which ensures that it only distributes needed information and transmits changes in the order they are made. When an employee is assigned a new customer, for example, all of the required information is automatically sent to his or her mobile device.

In addition, DOE automatically syncs changes to the devices of employees in the field every time they log in. Rather than transmitting complete data records, the engine only transfers new information – an updated phone number, for instance – which saves time.

Since the data is made available on a middleware server, customers can skip buying additional hardware. From PDFs and Microsoft Word documents to image files, the server sends along the latest data every time users synchronize their mobile software. Technicians on their way to a repair assignment, for example, can access their service manuals whenever needed.

Next Page: Highest standards of security

The highest standards of security

Meanwhile, Web services and other software programs run on SAP NetWeaver Application Server, which supports current Internet security standards such as HTTPS, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). From user administration and authorization to digital certificates and signatures, SAP NetWeaver Application Server ensures the highest level of security between clients and servers. The component also includes technology that enables multiple employees to work on the same project simultaneously while supporting separate access rights for each individual user.

Alerts for admins

Besides having lifted technical restrictions on large amounts of data and users, SAP has added a number of improved functions for system administrators to the new version of SAP NetWeaver Mobile. Admins will now find it even easier to manage field employees’ mobile devices, including aspects ranging from device, user, and application assignments to synchronization monitoring.

Security logs, data encryption, and a remote wipe function prevent the misuse of sensitive information should a mobile device go missing, and admins have the ability to monitor all of the data on the devices at any time. Using a central monitoring console, they can also distribute patches, configure devices, and address errors. Alerts automatically notify them of irregularities, such as if an employee in the field has forgotten to sync his or her mobile device with the server. The Web Dynpro framework, meanwhile, makes it easier to develop applications thanks to its basis in open technology standards like Java, XML, and SOAP. Users can access it through a custom system interface or a Web browser.