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).
| 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 www.adobe.com/sap or www.service.sap.com/adobe.
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