Special Report


Special Feature: Customer Value


January 1, 2005

Third-Party Applications: Will They Interface or Interfere With Your SAP Infrastructure?

Beth Wyrick
Director, Americas,
SAP Software
Partner Program


Extend Business Processes in SAP Solutions Using Interactive Forms Based on Adobe Software

SAP and Esker: A Partnership That Delivers

Meeting the Challenge of Change: How Serena TeamTrack Extends SAP Solutions with Built-In Process Management

Before you purchase or upgrade a third-party application that needs to work with your SAP solutions, be certain it will interface, not interfere, with your SAP infrastructure. Will the application cleanly, reliably, and predictably interface with the specific SAP solutions you now run, or plan to run? How can you be sure? The best way to make this predetermination is to check the application's SAP integration certification credentials.

The SAP Integration and Certification Center (SAP ICC) has tested and certified more than 1,600 product integrations to date. With certification comes an assurance that the interface between a third-party application and an SAP solution meets key standards. This will save you time and money in both the short and long term. It will also improve the quality of your overall SAP solution landscape.

The aim of the SAP Software Partner Program (SAP SPP) is to ensure that customers can tap into a wide variety of certified offerings when you come up against requirements for addressing particular business challenges and opportunities. The Software Partner Program enables third-party vendors to deliver complete, technically verified, turnkey software solutions that add value to SAP solutions. The SAP Software Partner Program provides marketing and business support to our partners to ensure our customers the very best — a qualified partnership (signified by the Software Partner logo) means that customers can rely on the partner to provide the support infrastructures for your SAP environment.

The SAP Software Partner Program (SAP SPP) is a global initiative of SAP AG, under the aegis of Heike Steck, Director, SAP SPP. For a global list of SAP SPP vendors and their respective certified applications, visit Software vendors that would like to learn more about the SAP Software Partner Program may visit or contact Beth Wyrick at +1 610 661-8365.

The companies profiled in the pages of this Special Feature have been selected because they are not only partners, but SAP customers as well. They know first-hand about the risks, rewards, challenges, and costs of integrating third-party offerings into their SAP solution landscapes.

In addition, all emerging SAP solutions are now built on the SAP NetWeaver technology platform. SAP Software Partners can not only be certified for their backend integrations, but can also receive the Powered by SAP NetWeaver designation. Powered by SAP NetWeaver (PBNW) means that the application also takes full advantage of the many industry-leading features of SAP's technology and integration platform, runs on the SAP Web Application Server, and is accessible via the SAP Enterprise Portal. These third-party solutions are not only compatible, but work integrally with SAP NetWeaver. Remember, SAP NetWeaver is the foundation for Enterprise Services Architecture (ESA), the SAP blueprint for services-based, enterprise-scale business solutions. A services-based infrastructure offers increased levels of adaptability, flexibility, and openness. Moreover, it's characterized by lower TCO.

When an Application Has Been SAP Integration-Certified...

It means that the application has gone through integration testing and certification at one of SAP's Integration and Certification Centers (SAP ICCs). SAP ICCs test applications' services with three goals in mind:

Minimize implementation time

Lower integration costs

Ensure compatibility with customers' existing SAP infrastructures

When an application's interface software successfully passes our certification process, the vendor receives a certificate and the right to use the "SAP Certified Integration" logo.

The Certified for SAP NetWeaver and Powered by SAP NetWeaver seals of certification take on greater importance as SAP NetWeaver becomes more entrenched across the SAP customer base. SAP NetWeaver is here to stay. It is the underlying technology platform of all forthcoming SAP products. Even if you are not using the SAP NetWeaver platform today, you probably soon will be. A tested, certified interface translates into shorter implementation and testing times on your end, and far fewer problems as you move forward. And it's not merely a matter of cleaner interfaces. Our partners are seamlessly integrating their applications into the very heart of the SAP NetWeaver environment. That makes interfaces more intuitive for your users, customization easier for development teams, and upkeep easier for your administrators. With either of these certifications, a software vendor may apply to become an SAP Software Partner and enjoy the tremendous value of SAP's Software Partner Program.

SAP products are updated, and so are third-party offerings. In an effort to support a trusted and robust third-party ecosystem for our customers, we are continually certifying new applications and recertifying existing ones as necessary. We are also introducing new ways to integrate and certify third-party products with the SAP environment — such as Powered by SAP NetWeaver certification. The most up-to-date source for partner offerings can be found at I encourage you to take advantage of this resource.

Why Applications from SAP Software Partners Save You Time, Save You Money, and Improve the Quality of Your Solution Landscape


Partners and SAP do the preliminary testing so you don't have to. SAP Partners have tested the integration of their applications in the SAP environment, saving customers the time and expense required to test the application on their own. SAP has done the testing to our well-defined APIs and test plans.

Know in advance what will work. SAP interface certifications enable technology decision-makers to know if a third-party solution is compatible with SAP applications before they commit to test or purchase a solution.

Faster implementations and faster time-to-solution. By knowing in advance that the integration of a third-party solution will not conflict with your SAP applications or platform, you can reduce the overall time spent on product selection and testing, thereby speeding your overall project implementation.

Upgrade with certified confidence. Each SAP interface certification specifies which SAP products the interface has been tested against, down to the revision number. If an SAP Partner releases another version of its product, it must go through the SAP ICC testing process again in order to keep the "integration certified" status. Likewise, if SAP upgrades its applications or platform, SAP will monitor whether any changes in the upgrade affect its predefined integration scenarios. If so, the partner must retest their integration to receive certification for that version number. If not, the partner can call SAP, and we will work with them to get their certification updated. If you are thinking of upgrading your third-party solution, you can visit the SAP Partners Web site ( to see if the new version is certified for use in your SAP environment.

Powered by SAP NetWeaver

Integration with SAP NetWeaver is seamless and simple for applications bearing the Powered by SAP NetWeaver logo, as they run on top of the platform. This logo tells you that an application runs on SAP Web Application Server (on either of its J2EE or ABAP stacks) and is accessible — seamlessly — via SAP Enterprise Portal, through either an iView or the Web GUI.

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Extend Business Processes in SAP Solutions Using Interactive Forms Based on Adobe Software

Kevin Henshaw
Global Alliance Manager,
Adobe Systems Incorporated

Enterprises and government organizations around the world deploy enterprise applications to consolidate business data and processes and to enable real-time business visibility, control, and management. Traditionally, paper has played a central role in many of those processes — often leading to costly and error-prone manual processing. Competitive pressures are now forcing organizations to find new ways to maximize their return on investment.

SAP and Adobe, an SAP Software Partner, have recently announced the joint delivery of Interactive Forms based on Adobe software as part of the SAP NetWeaver open integration and application platform. The solution extends to customers the value of the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) and the standard eXtensible Markup Language (XML). With over 165 million PDF files on the Internet today, Adobe PDF is the de facto standard for electronic documents and forms.

Extending the Reach of SAP Business Processes with Interactive Forms

SAP and Adobe share a common vision: automate and streamline the paper-based business processes on which companies rely. Forms are often essential to business transactions and government services. By integrating Adobe software with current versions of SAP NetWeaver, the Interactive Forms offering enables enterprises to use paper-like electronic forms to extend business processes to customers, partners, and employees.

With Interactive Forms based on Adobe software, Adobe employees can complete expense reports offline, at their convenience, and submit them online through a secure enterprise portal to automatically update the SAP system. Employees now take one-third less time to fill out expense reports, improving their productivity.

Interactive Forms allow enterprises to develop forms in PDF that are integrated with business processes. They harness the power of Adobe PDF forms and XML to streamline form processes and capture data accurately. Interactive Forms can be viewed, shared, saved locally, completed offline, and printed using free Adobe Reader software (more than 500 million copies distributed worldwide).

IT organizations can easily design and deploy custom forms using Adobe LiveCycle Designer software integrated with either SAP development environment — SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio or ABAP Workbench. They can generate personalized forms in SAP systems and, once the forms are completed, they can flow new and updated data directly back into those systems.

By tying Interactive Forms directly into applications, organizations can reduce operational costs, streamline communications, ensure accurate and current data, and reach millions of new customers and constituents.

Adobe Accelerates Business Processes with SAP Solutions

Adobe is always searching for ways to put information to work. As an SAP customer, Adobe depends on SAP R/3 Enterprise to consolidate its business data and processes and to enable real-time business visibility, control, and management. Adobe wanted to enable its employees worldwide to complete and process forms electronically, saving employee time and increasing productivity.

Adobe now leverages information in its SAP applications to automate the completion, routing, and approval of essential forms such as expense reports. SAP NetWeaver, together with the fully integrated Adobe LiveCycle Designer, enables form designers to quickly create and maintain form templates, define a form's business logic, make changes, and preview forms before they are deployed (see Figure 1).

Figure 1
Adobe LiveCycle Designer, fully embedded in SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio and ABAP Workbench, includes drag-and-drop data bindings. Here, the Date field is selected, and its binding is displayed in the Object tab (lower right corner).

Adobe uses the organizational structures defined in mySAP ERP Human Capital Management (mySAP ERP HCM), which outline company details from vital accounting and cost center data to reporting relationships across job classifications. When employees access online forms, the solution automatically fills in the employee location, cost center, and other details. Built-in validation verifies that the employee enters the correct type of information into each form field.

Previously, Adobe employees filled out expense reports online, which required an ongoing Internet connection. They couldn't take the form offline to fill it out at their convenience. Now employees can download a PDF version of the form, save it locally, and fill it out offline, without the need for an Internet connection and without losing any work if interrupted. As a result, employees now take one-third less time to fill out expense reports, increasing productivity.

After completing forms, employees can start the approval process by logging in to Adobe's enterprise portal, uploading the completed interactive form, and clicking a submit button — which in turn creates an SAP travel management object. Based on organizational data in the SAP system, the expense reports are then routed to the appropriate managers for review and approval. Approvals automatically update the SAP system.

As a result, Adobe's Accounts Payable can process expenses faster than ever. And the company saves US$28 per report — adding up to more than US$40,000 each month. Now the department can eliminate common questions and focus on critical tasks because expense reports are easier to fill out. Before the automation of expense reports, 10% to 20% of the forms contained errors and had to be returned. After automation, the number of flawed expense reports dropped 90%, and Adobe saved about US$150 in employee time for each rerouted form.

In addition to reducing costs and increasing efficiencies, Adobe improved the quality of the business information in its SAP system and reduced errors on forms. The company gained greater control over form processing, ensuring that employees follow proper protocols as they route forms for approvals. Employees are more efficient, more productive, and happier because they spend less time entering information and receive reimbursements faster.

Adobe and SAP: Delivering Next-Generation Business-Critical Communications

With over five years of successful partnering, SAP and Adobe continue to share a vision of people collaborating dynamically within the enterprise and beyond organizational boundaries. Adobe and SAP are focusing their partnership on finding new ways to help customers extend their investment in SAP solutions. The goal is to provide solutions for enterprises to sharpen competitiveness, enhance customer satisfaction, minimize total cost of ownership, and remove layers of time-consuming bureaucracy from business processes.

For more information on the Adobe and SAP partnership, visit or

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SAP and Esker: A Partnership That Delivers

Jean-Michel Bérard
Esker, Inc.

From the release of the Esker DeliveryWare Platform automated document delivery solution, we recognized its significant value to SAP customers. By providing intelligently automated, multi-output delivery of business documents directly from the SAP system, Esker DeliveryWare could add further value to a company's investment in SAP solutions. This awareness led to Esker's current status as an established SAP Software Partner, offering a solution with a certified interface to SAP applications.

Indeed, serving the needs of SAP customers is a top priority, and the results of the SAP and Esker partnership are demonstrated around the world by customers who have automated their SAP solution implementations with Esker DeliveryWare. However, only when Esker became an SAP customer itself — implementing SAP solutions to improve back-office information systems at its corporate headquarters, and to consolidate sales administration and accounting systems among its subsidiaries — did we gain an even fuller appreciation of Esker DeliveryWare benefits from the perspective of the day-to-day user.

What the Esker Solution and Certified Interface Mean for SAP Systems

For any SAP customer, Esker DeliveryWare Solutions — software and hosted delivery services — address inefficiencies and costs associated with manual document exchange. Esker DeliveryWare provides an immediate and proven means of integrating automated document delivery into the SAP system for output, via virtually any media, of business documents such as purchase orders, invoices, sales acknowledgments, reports, and statements, to save time and reduce costs.

To organizations running SAP, Esker DeliveryWare offers end-to-end automation of document delivery. Esker DeliveryWare integrates seamlessly into SAP solution environments with no custom programming or disruption of existing business procedures. Esker DeliveryWare automates every phase of document delivery, from data capture and content analysis to document formatting and distribution.

At the core of Esker DeliveryWare is the DeliveryWare Rules Engine — the content-based Esker technology for automatic recognition, formatting/ conversion, and routing to any destinations via any combination of output media (see Figure 1).

Figure 1
Esker DeliveryWare Platform, Powered by the DeliveryWare Rules Engine

Esker DeliveryWare offers two certified connections to the SAP system: Output Connector for SAP solutions and Fax Connector for SAP solutions. Output Connector for SAP solutions allows for automated retrieval, formatting, and delivery of data from SAP solutions via print, fax, email, Web, wireless, archive, or hosted delivery services. Status reporting on jobs is found in the SAP spool and can be managed within Esker DeliveryWare queues. Output Connector for SAP solutions — available with Esker DeliveryWare 3.5 — integrates easily with SAP solutions and uses the BC-XOM interface. Fax Connector for SAP solutions — available with Esker DeliveryWare 3.0 — uses the BC-CON certification and provides fax status back into SAPoffice.

A Partner's View — From the Customer Side

In its own SAP solution implementation, Esker automatically sends invoices and related documents via multiple output media to the appropriate people: subsidiaries, accounting, production/ shipping, customers, suppliers. Esker DeliveryWare automates validation and approval, sending notifications to sales administration staff through email.

DeliveryWare Rules Engine automation identifies shipping information and handles exceptions based on delivery destination. Documents are translated according to country of destination, and any customer-specific comments are passed directly from the SAP system to Esker DeliveryWare. And with the advanced formatting capabilities of Esker DeliveryWare, including built-in Crystal Reports, Esker and its customers get more visually appealing, professional-looking documents.

Using Esker DeliveryWare as part of its SAP solution implementation has strengthened Esker's ability to serve customers. The results achieved — not only cost savings, but also higher efficiency and customer satisfaction — clearly demonstrate the value of the partnership between SAP and Esker. Esker is a prime example of how Esker DeliveryWare and SAP solutions work together to improve business process efficiency, increase return on investment, and lower total cost of ownership.

The SAP and Esker Partnership at a Glance

  • Esker is an SAP Software Partner with certified integration
  • Esker DeliveryWare Platform (Output Management category) is certified for SAP NetWeaver
  • Interface certifications: External Output Management (BC-XOM) and SAPconnect — Communication, Fax, and Email Software Interface (BC-CON)
  • Esker is an SAP customer
  • SAP is an Esker customer
  • Esker has a working relationship with SAP Labs in France
  • SAP Direct Automated Fax/Email packaged service uses Esker DeliveryWare technology
  • Collaboration on e-billing solutions

Adding Value to the Partnership

The Esker DeliveryWare offering also includes Esker on Demand service options for cost-effective outsourcing of fax and physical mail to a hosted Esker DeliveryWare server for processing and delivery. These services enable enterprises to benefit from Esker DeliveryWare without investing in and maintaining in-house mailrooms, telephony, and server hardware. Customers can offload peak document delivery volumes, such as end-of-month invoice batches, and are billed on a per-usage basis.

Results for Customers

As an SAP customer, Esker clearly understands the needs of other SAP customers and has built in a high degree of compatibility between Esker DeliveryWare and SAP solutions. With Esker DeliveryWare, SAP customers are able to:

  • Quickly add automated document formatting and delivery to any SAP solution, including delivery notification directly back into the SAP system, with no custom programming or disruption of existing operations

  • Process any SAP document format, including RDI and XSF, for reduced forms development (SAPscript) time

  • Streamline document-heavy business processes for faster information exchange, improved cash flow, reduced manual data entry and potential errors, and increased employee productivity

  • Significantly reduce costs associated with document delivery: labor, materials, postage, telecom, application customization, and preprinted forms

  • Realize competitive advantages as a result of doing business faster and more accurately, and improving business communication with personalized document delivery based on recipient preferences for increased customer satisfaction

  • Simplify the IT infrastructure and eliminate point-to-point solutions

About Esker

Specializing in automating the delivery of output generated by SAP systems, Esker is a recognized leader in helping organizations eliminate manual document processes involved in the delivery of business information from enterprise applications to suppliers, customers, and other trading partners. Esker customers streamline document flow, gain significant operational efficiencies and cost savings, and realize measurable ROI in as little as three to six months with Esker DeliveryWare.

Founded in 1985, Esker operates globally and has over 25,000 customers and millions of licensed users worldwide. For more information, visit

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Meeting the Challenge of Change: How Serena TeamTrack Extends SAP Solutions with Built-In Process Management

Robert W. Blaskowsky
Chief Information Officer,
SERENA Software, Inc.

Gaining control of your current operations while anticipating and adapting to changing markets and technologies is why many organizations choose SAP ERP solutions. But change comes quickly in a dynamic business environment, and you need fluid, adaptable business processes to implement, operate, and scale your SAP solution with agility.

You can rapidly and effectively manage change in your organization while creating and enforcing Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) processes in support of your business strategies by using a business process and issue management solution such as Serena TeamTrack. The TeamTrack Connector for SAP software is certified for integration with SAP solutions and extends TeamTrack's capabilities to your SAP solution-based environment to reduce environment complexity and improve enterprise efficiency. Because effectively managing change is critical to our business as well, we at Serena use this combination ourselves.

Doing More with Less: A Shared Vision

At Serena Software, we embrace SAP's vision of enabling organizations to reduce costs and leverage existing investments in heterogeneous IT infrastructures. That's why we relied on our own in-house SAP solutions and TeamTrack during Serena's recent acquisition of Merant, a global provider of enterprise change management solutions. In the future, SAP's open integration and application platform, SAP NetWeaver, will enable us to integrate all aspects of our respective business infrastructures, from analytics and financials to HR, operations, and corporate services; TeamTrack enabled us to execute quickly and effectively by helping us create and control our business processes.

Using proven models and methodologies for SAP solutions, we consolidated multiple order-processing systems into a single flow-through structure, eliminating manual steps and extending Merant's electronic software distribution model to our entire organization. Adopting an SAP solution has enabled us to complete a key merger and acquisition (M&A) integration objective, realizing new cost efficiencies of at least 25%. By coupling TeamTrack with SAP solutions to facilitate a closed-loop process to manage our changes, we are well positioned to meet Sarbanes-Oxley compliance requirements. We have implemented SAP as the go-forward ERP solution for the combined company, and plan to consolidate its entire IT help desk operation onto TeamTrack with SAP behind the wheel.

Combining Serena TeamTrack with SAP solutions, we have achieved:

  • Accelerated responsiveness to changing business, user, and market requirements

  • Centralized control and visibility of SAP and non-SAP enterprise assets

  • Timesaving process automation for evaluating, managing, and deploying changes

Why Serena TeamTrack Is Especially Useful for SAP Customers

The Serena TeamTrack Version 6.1 Connector for SAP software is not just an interface link; it provides SAP-certified integration via the External Interface for Correction and Transport System (BC-CTS) for bidirectional information exchange and automation. In addition to the core business process and issue management capabilities of Serena TeamTrack, you'll find SAP-specific processes and workflows preconfigured for easy implementation with SAP solutions. With TeamTrack Connector, you can define and manage the process used to implement changes in SAP solution-based environments, from development to test to production.

Serena currently supports a range of SAP solutions, including SAP NetWeaver. As an SAP Software Partner and 2003 SAP Pinnacle Award recipient, Serena is committed to working closely with SAP to further integrate our product solutions.

For more information on Serena TeamTrack, please visit

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by SAP and Partners SAPinsider - 2005 (Volume 6), January (Issue 1)

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