With the rise of B2B commerce on the Internet,
multiple initiatives have sprung up to define common standards for collaboration.
Many of these standards focus on the technical aspect of collaboration
- they define the communication frameworks for exchange of information
and the format of transferred documents as XML schemas. However, there
are other crucial details that business partners must agree upon for the
successful implementation of cross-company business processes: defining
the process flow, assigning responsibilities to the partners, and determining
which data dictionaries to use - and that's just the beginning. Only a
few groups have tried to define
a complete collaboration solution. RosettaNet is one such group.
This article describes the standardization
efforts of the RosettaNet consortium, and how these standards for e-business
processes can be implemented with mySAP.com components. It will also help
you to understand some general integration issues and how best to deal
An Introduction to RosettaNet
In 1998, 40 leading IT organizations founded the RosettaNet consortium
a self-funded, nonprofit organization. The goal of the consortium is to
create and implement industry-wide, open
e-business process standards. These standards align processes between
trading partners in the supply chain on
a global basis.
At the moment there are more than 400 members
of the electronic components (EC), semiconductor manufacturing (SM), and
IT industries, and members of the group include manufacturers, shippers,
wholesale distributors, resellers, end users, financiers, software publishers,
and e-technologists. SAP is a member of the IT managing board and is actively
involved in RosettaNet workgroups.
RosettaNet has defined an implementation
framework, and a set of standard processes, message schemas, and data
dictionaries. By combining these different elements, any organization
can create a complete architecture for cross-company collaboration.
Partner Interface Processes (PIPs): The Building Blocks
for Business Collaboration
RosettaNet Partner Interface Processes™ (PIPs™) define
business processes among supply chain partners, providing the models and
for process implementation. The list of PIPs now exceeds 100, and is structured
as clusters and segments that span different areas of supply chain collaboration
(see Figure 1).
|O: RosettaNet Support
|1: Partner Product and Service Review
A: Partner Review
B: Product and Service Review
|2: Product Information
||A: Preparation for Distribution
B: Product Change Notification
C: Product Information
|3: Order Management
||A: Quote and Order Entry
B: Transportation and Distribution
C: Returns and Finance
D: Product Configuration
|4: Inventory Management
||A: Collaborative Forecasting
B: Inventory Allocation
C: Inventory Reporting
D: Inventory Replenishment
E: Sales Reporting
F: Price Protection
|5: Marketing information Management
||A: Lead Opportunity Management
B: Marketing Campaign Management
C: Design Win Management (Electronic Components)
D: Ship From Stock and Debit (Electronic Components)
|6: Service and Support
||A: Provide and Administer Warranties,
Service Packages, and Contract Services
B: Provide and Administer Asset Management
C: Technical Support and Service Management
||A: Design Transfer
B: Manage Manufacturing Work Orders and WIP
C: Distribute Manufacturing Information
|RosettaNet PIP Clusters and Segments
For example, the "Quote and Order
Entry" segment in the "Order Management" cluster contains
- Request Quote
- Query Price and Availability
- Transfer Shopping Cart
- Manage Purchase Order
- Query Order Status
- Distribute Order Status
- Notify of Purchase Order Acceptance
- Change Purchase Order
- Request Purchase Order Cancellation
- Notify of Quote Acknowledgment
Each PIP is identified by its number and
letter designations (for example, "Manage Purchase Order" is
RosettaNet has already published many
PIPs, and specifications are available at www.rosettanet.org.
For each PIP specification, there is a blueprint that contains
information about the business process standard, and defines the business
process and the purpose of the PIP. This helps to identify which PIP meets
the business requirements for the collaboration with the supply chain
partner. A business process flow diagram and a description of all
activities included in this flow define the process flow, the responsibilities
of the partners, and the business documents that must be exchanged
between the application systems of the participants.
For example, with the process out-lined
in the Manage Purchase Order PIP, a buyer can create, change, or cancel
a purchase order. The business documents used for transferring the information
are Purchase Order Request, Purchase Order Change, and Purchase Order
Cancellation. The seller must then process the received document and return
a confirmation to the buyer (see Figure 2). Additionally, the PIPs
define controls for business activities and the required message exchange.
|PIP Business Process Flow Diagram for PIP3A4: Manage Purchase
These controls include the maximum time
allowed for acknowledging the receipt of a message, the maximum time for
performing an activity, and whether a secure transport of the message
is required. These definitions ensure that each interaction's process
flow, security, auditing, and exception-handling process are correct.
PIPs can be implemented on a mySAP.com
component by customizing the business process in the application according
to the guidelines of the PIP blueprint. RosettaNet PIPs are sup-ported
by SAP R/3, SAP CRM, SAP APO, and particularly by mySAP High Tech, SAP's
industry solution for the high-tech industry. The methods for synchronizing
the PIP with the other business processes and rules implemented on your
system vary, depending on each PIP and each component. In addition to
application customizing, WebFlow2 and system management services are generally
used for controlling process flow and monitoring the business activity
performance and message exchange controls.
The information exchange between collaborating partners is done via
exchange of business documents. RosettaNet uses XML documents for transferring
these documents. For each business document used in a PIP there exists
a message guideline, which describes the elements in the
XML documents and their contents. Elements define which data is
contained in the business document. This information is available as Document
Type Definitions (DTDs). The content of the elements defines which entries
are allowed - e.g., which units of measure may be used in the element
GlobalProductionUnitOfMeasureCode. The content information is defined
in business data entities.
For sending or receiving business documents,
mySAP.com components provide standard interfaces as BAPIs, IDocs, or RFCs.
The SAP Business Connector transfers these native SAP interfaces into
XML. It is also possible to map SAP XML onto the XML format defined in
the RosettaNet DTDs by using mapping services in the SAP Business Connector.
However, you could also use other mapping engines for performing this
transformation, like those certified in the XML Communi-cation Interface
through SAP's Software Partner Program (see www.sap.com/solutions/compsoft).
Technical Dictionaries and Standards
Another element of RosettaNet, the Business
Dictionary, provides the business data entities, which define the
possible values for elements of business documents (e.g., which units
of measure may be used). However, for some elements of a business document
- such as materials, customers, or classification schemas - there are
too many possible values to list all of them directly in the Business
Dictionary. For these elements, RosettaNet uses external standards for
product and partner codes, along with special technical dictionaries.
RosettaNet uses the Global Trade Item
Number (GTIN), a worldwide multi-industry standard, to identify materials
in business documents exchanged in a PIP. By replacing vendor and customer
product with unique GTINs, you sidestep the requirement of defining different
mapping rules for collaborations with different partners. GTINs are supported
by SAP R/3 since Release 3.1.
The Data Universal Numbering System (D-U-N-S)
is a standard for keeping track of millions of businesses worldwide that
provides unique identifiers of single business entities. RosettaNet uses D-U-N-S for identification
of business partners such as customers or suppliers. SAP R/3 3.1 also
For product classification, RosettaNet
supports the United Nations/Standard Product and Service Code (UN/SPSC),
an open global product and service classification standard.
Additionally, RosettaNet provides special
technical directories set up for the requirements of defining EC device
properties (ECTD) and designating IT product properties (ITTD). On mySAP.com
components, each of these classification schemas is implemented using
the classification system of the component itself. mySAP Services (www.sap.com/services)
offers technical services for mapping different product classifications
within a particular mySAP.com component.
RosettaNet Implementation Framework
In addition to the standardization of business
processes, business documents, and dictionaries, it is important to specify
how to exchange information between collaboration partners, as well. This
is done in the RosettaNet Implementation Framework (RNIF), which provides
common exchange protocols for the implementation of RosettaNet standards
using HTML/XML. This includes the definition of the technical message
structure, how the messages will be transferred, how digital signatures
are used, and how authentication is handled. These definitions are also
used for message validations. If a validation fails, special failure-handling
Multiple middleware products are available for RNIF support, and can
be used in combination with mySAP.com components to provide complete RosettaNet
solutions. Some of these middleware products are also certified by the
SAP Software Partner Program.
The success of RosettaNet standards has already been proven in multiple
production implementations in the high-tech industry, including projects
that support RosettaNet with mySAP.com components. Through the open architecture
of the SAP Internet-Business Framework, it is relatively easy to adapt
the mySAP.com solutions to RosettaNet.
Although the processes defined by RosettaNet in PIPs are adjusted to fit
the specific requirements of the IT, EC, and SM industries, portions of
the standards can be applied in other industries as well. No matter what
industry you are in, if you have to deal with B2B collaboration in your
supply chain, it's worth taking a closer look at the RosettaNet solution.
For further information, visit www.rosettanet.org.
Cay Rademann joined SAP AG in 1994. Since then, he has had a great
deal of experience in distributed scenarios and system integration, both
as a developer and a consultant. Cay currently works as product manager
in the SAP Technology Group with a focus on business scenario support
and life-cycle management.
1 Source: RosettaNet Specification PIP3A4.
Diagram ©2001 RosettaNet. All rights reserved
2 WebFlow is a full-fledged workflow system,
delivering functionality and tools for industrial strength workflows and
integration tools for bridging system boundaries. It is embedded in the
heart of mySAP.com components.