Technological approaches to overcome legacy issues amongst ERP Based Applications and Microsoft Tech

Anirban Das

Enterprises of all ends are trying to integrate and manage all data within a single sign on system. The mission is appropriate as because they store their assets i.e. data in innumerable of incongruent systems - relational databases, different operating systems, mainframes and so on. Managing their own data in an efficient, integrated, and single login approach has led the enterprises in a new height of flourishing. This support is endowed by the ERP based organizations. Contextually a crisis evolved to have connectivity between applications based on ERP and the applications based on other technologies. Migrating from any one of them to other one is referred as legacy. The establishment of duplex communication between these two types of applications is a challenge to blue chip IT giants.   

In this context the two types of applications are taken namely SAP based application along with a DOT NET/ Microsoft SharePoint application enabled and maintained by Microsoft Technologies. If second organization is to migrate or merge to/with first organization, it needs all the applications of second organization is to be migrated/merged to the first one. Real life issue of migration from one technology to other and vice versa may happen under these circumstances. As two technologies are of completely different platform or architecture, it’s a challenging task to communicate between them.

Two approaches are made to solve these legacy issues; firstly by using web services and secondly via SAP DOTNET Connector.

Webservices are nothing but a service where we can guide various web methods. In those web methods, we can place our data. These web methods are consumed by web application and the data, written in web-methods, is fetched.

Visual studio .NET platform provides a programming environment between .NET and SAP called SAP.NET connector. It enables communication by supporting .NET web-services and Remote Function Call (RFC) of SAP systems. All common language runtime programming languages like Visual Basic .NET, C# etc can be used.

Figure: SAP DOTNET connector [Upper portion of the dotted divider is representing the Design time and lower portion reflects the Runtime environment]

The SAP.NET connector with in Visual Studio includes various designer components to develop applications of SAP including SAP Table component and destination components.

SAP Tables are nothing but a data type as they generally keep the results of RFC call. As we get graphical interfaces (GUI) in Visual Studio for SAP proxies, we can customize in our own way, which lead to a better understanding while doing programs to connect SAP system and .NET.

For the interaction with SAP proxies, .NET developers can choose any language of CLR. We prefer here C#. SAP proxies are self-generated in C#. The SAP.NET connector facilitates a custom tool by which without having to do changes manually or rerunning proxy generation wizard, SAP proxies can be updated and customized automatically.

Integration and bridging between Microsoft .NET framework and SAP enabled software is the dynamic communication between not only two different software and also two different platforms of business entities. The approach to connect with SAP & Non SAP Systems which will be effective to merge up two or more various SAP enabled organizations and organizations which follow non-SAP support.

References:

A Cutting Edge Approach in Bridging between Microsoft .NET Framework and SAP R/3, Das, A. et al, International Journal of Computer Applications, Number 4, Article 3, 2011[ISSN: 0975 - 8887]
Alice Hsu,   Manage your Way to ERP Implementation Success!
Haim Mendelson, ERP Overview, January 2000, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-5015.
SAP. NET Connector, version 1.0, November 2002.
SAP AG 2005, SAP TechEd ‘05/CD153/23
The SAP Business Portal: mySAP.com(SAP, 12/99)
web2.uwindsor.ca/courses/cs/aggarwal/HPGC Group/1.ppt
http:// projects.bus.1su.edu/independent_study/vdhing1/erp/
http://sapr3abap.Wordpress.com/2008/04/09consume-web-services-in-abap-and-how-to-connect-sap-to-net/
https://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/sdn/thread?messageID=4109146
http://www.codeproject.com/KB/mobile/SAP_connector_for_NET.aspx

About Author

Anirban Das
Ph.D, Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist
HOD, Department of Computer Science & Engineering
School of Engineering & Technology
Amity University-Kolkata
anirban-das@live.com /adas@kol.amity.edu








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