Innovapptive's product development team has adopted a time tested methodology by integrating business paradigms with technological framework to deliver instant mobility and cutting edge enterprise mobile apps to SAP customers. These mobile solutions enable existing SAP users to access their SAP Business Suite (back-end) data from the comfort of their mobile and other hand held devices to perform a variety of functions, thus saving time, cost and improving overall operational efficiency. The first step in the conceptualization of a mobile solution is the identification of key business processes, exposing these business processes to the outside world through OData services or any other web services and then enabling mobile devices to consume these OData services or web services, without compromising on security policies - thus delivering true business value. Innovapptive's mobile solutions are built leveraging the functionality of SAP NetWeaver Gateway, SAP Mobile Platform 3.0 and OData services. This article provides an overview of basic architectural building blocks for Innovapptive's mobile solutions including its integration with various functional components (modules).
1. Identification of key business processes
Though SAP has automated a wide range of business processes with each functional module addressing a specific set of processes, Innovapptive had identified certain key business functions covering diverse domains such as ERP, GRC, BPM, CRM and SRM. These business functions have been identified based on various factors such as commercial relevance, ease of adoption, return on investment, etc. Towards this objective, some of the key business functions that have been identified include inventory management, quality management, procurement, sales execution, employee self service, approvals and travel and expense management.
2. Exposure of business processes to the outside world
The next step is to expose the identified business processes to a variety of mobile devices. In order to accomplish this, Innovapptive has leveraged the power of OData (Open Data Protocol) service, which is a specific RESTful data access protocol that helps the creation and consumption of REST APIs. These REST APIs in turn allows resources (identified using URLs and defined in a data model) to be published and edited by web clients using simple HTTP messages. An Entity Data Model (EDM) is the starting point when designing an OData service. The EDM describes the organization and relationship of the resources within a particular business scenario. After an Entity Data Model has been turned into an OData Service, the Gateway system will provide you with a URL to access this service. When this URL is requested, the Gateway service will respond by sending you the Service Document. The Service Document is a high-level description of the resources exposed by the OData service. In order to consume an OData service, you retrieve the metadata that describes the service. This is done by adding the suffix $metadata to the Service Document URL. (OData metadata is only available in XML format, not JSON)
http://usphlrig21.phl.sap.corp:8000/sap/[...]<span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong>/$metadata</strong></span>
This will now return an Entity Data Model (edmx) XML description of the service:
3. Consumption of OData services by mobile devices
This is the final end user stage, which lets SAP users access data from the SAP Business Suite through Innovapptive’s mobile apps. For instance, if you are an inventory manager working on stock scheduling and deliveries, you could then access our mInventory app to connect to the Inventory module of the SAP server to access and track the data, and subsequently update the status back to the SAP server from the comfort of your mobile phone. From a technical perspective, this involves consumption of OData services by client devices for which Innovapptive has adopted SAP Mobile Platform (SMP) 3.0 and SAP NetWeaver Gateway to accomplish. SMP 3.0 works as a middle ware to build communication between the SAP server and the client (mobile device). Apart from key features including Kapsel SDK, Agentry toolkit and HTML5; the prime reasons why Innovapptive chose SMP 3.0 over other platforms is its offline capability (using OData standard protocol), extension cockpit and enhanced security standards. On the other hand, NetWeaver Gateway provides an API that is designed to enable easy access to rich business data and functionality in your SAP systems. It offers the flexibility to use any programming language or model to connect with SAP applications by leveraging REST services and OData protocol.
With a structured business approach coupled with best in breed technological platforms, Innovapptive is empowering companies that run the SAP Business Suite to embrace mobility by taking mobile user experience to the next level - by improving efficiency, cutting costs and improving their overall ROI.