SAP's two Web sell-side solutions - the SAP Online
Store and SAP Internet Sales - offer all of these essential e-selling
functions. With these solutions, companies can create a full-fledged Web
presence on the Internet while continuing to provide tight integration
with order fulfillment processes.
Since its introduction in 1996, the SAP
Online Store has been successfully implemented by many companies. If you
are one of these companies, when and how should you consider migrating
to SAP Internet Sales? Can you leverage your existing investment in the
SAP Online Store? These are the questions we answer here.¹
The Basics on SAP's E-Selling Solutions
The SAP Online Store provides Internet functionality to companies
that wish to rapidly implement a Web presence to sell products on the
Internet, while ensuring that this solution is integrated with their SAP
The Online Store is delivered with the
SAP R/3 system, beginning with Release 3.1G, and only requires implementation
of the SAP ITS (Internet Transaction Server) to facilitate communication
between the R/3 system and the Internet.
SAP Online Store functionality includes
presenting a product catalog to the Internet customer, which includes
text and multimedia files, customer-specific views, product searches,
product configuration upon request (as of Release 4.6C), and accurate
pricing (including customer-specific discounts, taxes, and freight). It
also includes a virtual shopping basket, customer registration (or the
use of existing customer records), an ATP check for inventory, and secure
payment (including credit cards, invoices, and cash on delivery). Order
tracking is available using a separate function.²
SAP Internet Sales provides an Internet
touch point that acts as a strategic sales channel. Companies that choose
this approach are often also implementing strategic customer relationship
management processes. SAP Internet Sales functionality is delivered with
the mySAP CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solution, and also requires
the ITS as part of the implementation.
Beyond the Online Store functionality,
SAP Internet Sales allows for staging of products and hierarchies in the
product catalog, linking of accessories, automatic product assignment
to the catalog, XML import of product catalogs, and product configuration.
It permits users to save a shopping basket and load order templates, and
offers a fast order-entry screen. SAP Internet Sales also features availability
using SAP APO (SAP Advanced Planning and Optimizer), and provides a more
flexible visual design.
New functions for one-to-one marketing
and personalization may be performed either statically or dynamically
(with SAP Business Information Warehouse). These features include customer
profiling, personal product recommendations, bestseller lists, cross-selling,
Figure 1 and Figure 2 are
examples of interfaces from Sap's two e-selling solutions.
||An SAP Online Store Interface³
||An SAP Internet Sales Interface
SAP Online Store: An "Inside-Out" Approach
The SAP Online Store was created as an
Internet Application Component (IAC). IACs are delivered with the core
SAP R/3 system, and take an "inside-out" approach, meaning that all logic,
system configuration settings, and master and transactional data reside
inside the R/3 system.
This "inside-out" approach ensures that
data and logic are maintained only once, in a centralized location, enabling
the SAP Online Store to take advantage of existing configuration settings
Companies achieve a significant benefit
for the ability to reuse their existing sales and distribution processes
without an extensive redesign of their processes, configuration, and data.
In this way, the SAP R/3-based Online Store is the preferred solution
for companies that require quick implementation without the addition of
new strategic relationship management processes.
To implement the three-tiered OS architecture,
you need a Web server, the ITS, and any corresponding security measures
such as firewalls.
The three layers of the SAP Online Store
- Business Execution
Business Execution Layer
In this layer, IACs are programmed as transactions within SAP R/3, extending
the R/3 functionality to Internet shoppers. This means that changes to
the business logic must be made within R/3.
The master data (e.g., product catalog
structure, products, customers, and prices) is taken from the SAP R/3
system. The resulting sales orders are also stored within R/3, so that
the order fulfillment processing can begin immediately.
At the Internet layer, each screen in SAP R/3 is mapped to a Business
HTML template in the ITS. Within each Business HTML template, the R/3
data is formatted, and additional look-and-feel elements are added via
For improved performance, multimedia files are stored on the Web server.
The Online Store is designed so that customers view the most current
product information on the Web site, since the data is taken out of SAP
R/3 and the HTML pages are dynamically generated by the ITS.
The three-layer architecture for the SAP
Online Store is highlighted in Figure 3.
||SAP Online Store Architecture
SAP Internet Sales: An "Outside-In" Approach
Any company wishing to take advantage of the Internet as a strategic
sales channel (not as a supplemental channel, as is the case with the
SAP Online Store) should implement or migrate from the Online Store to
SAP Internet Sales.
The SAP Internet Sales solution was built
using an "outside-in" approach, whereby all transaction logic is controlled
outside the core backend system. This architecture offers companies the
flexibility to change the logic of the process flow, and to incorporate
third-party services,4 without changing the
core code within their R/3 environment.
Key benefits of this architecture are improved
scalability, optimal load distribution, fully automated data replication,
high availability and performance, increased personalization of content,
and greater flexibility in the visual design of the site.
This solution is achieved via the four-tiered
architecture shown in Figure 4, which includes a dedicated selling system
- Business Execution
- Business Service
||SAP Internet Sales Architecture
Business Execution Layer
The SAP R/3 backend system handles all order fulfillment and financial
The products created in this system contain
financial and manufacturing information that is not required in the business
service layer. The business partner/customer masters are replicated between
the business execution and business service layers so that they remain
in sync. The sales orders are also replicated from the SAP CRM system
to the R/3 system in real time, so that order fulfillment can begin immediately.
Business Service Layer
The SAP CRM system contains all the relevant master data required for
setting up and running a Web shop, including the product catalog structure,
product master data (replicated from the logistics execution system),
business partner information, and all roles and relationships between
By managing all customer interaction in
a separate system, the load is taken off the R/3 backend in the business
execution layer. The sales order that is created for a Web customer is
initially stored within mySAP CRM and is replicated into the logistics
execution layer, so that order fulfillment can begin immediately.
Residing outside the SAP CRM system within
the business service layer are three optional components: the Knowledge
Provider, to manage the multimedia documents that are referenced in the
product catalog; the SAP APO, for availability information; and SAP Business
Information Warehouse (BW), for product recommendations and analysis.
The components in the interaction layer allow information that originates
from the business service and business execution layers to be presented
to the customer with more flexibility in visual design and with performance
Enhancements are apparent in various areas
of SAP Internet Sales: The ITS has been upgraded to accommodate flow files,
which control the logic and flow of the shopping experience; these flow
files call other components as they are needed. The Index server contains
product catalog information that was replicated from the SAP CRM system.
The Web server contains the multimedia files that are displayed for the
products in the catalog, which are managed by the Knowledge Provider.
The SAP Internet Pricing and Configurator (SAP IPC) contains the prices
and configuration rules set up in the SAP R/3 system, which allows prices
to be displayed and configuration to take place within the product catalog.
The information displayed to customers on the Web site is always current.
This is because the data is taken out of the different Internet Sales
components in real time, and the pages are dynamically generated by the
ITS. So although the data is drawn from different components, this is
transparent to customers using the Web shop.
B2C, B2B, Marketplace: Sap's Got the Three Key
E-Selling Scenarios Covered
Business-to-Consumer: In the B2C e-selling scenario, a
company sells its products directly to consumers from the Web shop.
With this scenario, the visual appearance of the Web shop and the
ease of consumer navigation are crucial. They directly influence
the customer's ability to find a desired product, and are critical
factors for promoting the "stickiness" of the Web site, whereby
customers are encouraged to return (consumer attraction, conversion,
and retention). In both e-selling solutions, the visual design of
the Web shop is separated from the business logic, which makes the
process of changing the look-and-feel much simpler.
Consumers are a diverse group, so defining target groups of customers
is important to companies in developing marketing campaigns. Often
B2C consumers will only register at the Web shop after they have
found the appropriate items. Once they register, customers can maintain
their own profiles and address information online. Clickstream and
customer behavior information can be invaluable in helping companies
obtain a clearer picture of their customers' online experience.
The personalization tools available also enhance the customer experience
on the site.
Business-to-Business: In this scenario, Web shop users are
no longer anonymous customers, but are business partners with whom
the company already has an established relationship, which means
they have additional requirements for the Web shop.
For example, the business partners may need to register their employees
at the Web shop as authorized to purchase from the site. These employees
are then shown customer-specific prices and products. A fast-entry
screen is available for these customers, as well as order templates
that they can use as a reference to create similar orders.
In addition to selling to business partners, this scenario also
enables companies to resell to end users with direct delivery (sell-through).
The B2B scenario builds on the strength of SAP systems, with integrated
business scenarios that leverage existing customer information,
and extends these integrated processes to the Internet. All interaction
with the customer, from prior order history to the Internet sales
channel, are centralized for analysis.
Business-to-Marketplace: In this scenario, a company can
use the selling application as an on-ramp to a marketplace.
By participating in a marketplace, the supplier obtains the benefits
of targeting products to a homogeneous group of customers with very
The marketplace also makes it easy for a buyer to select appropriate
suppliers, and allows automated interaction between the sales and
procurement systems as if they belonged to the same corporation.
This interaction reduces the amount of manual intervention necessary
for purchases to take place.
The marketplace also provides suppliers and sellers with additional
services - including auction services, supply chain management services,
and order management services - that go beyond typical selling scenarios.
SAP e-selling solutions can easily be plugged into marketplaces
to take advantage of these communities, while still providing the
backend order fulfillment processes.
Which SAP E-Selling Solution Is Right for You?
The SAP Online Store and SAP Internet Sales demonstrate Sap's strengths
as an experienced software vendor with a proven track record for
scalability, security, integration, and upgradability. The chart
below lists the features and positioning of each solution, based
on the expected customer requirements for implementation.
SAP Online Store
|SAP Internet Sales
- Internet implemented as a supplementary sales channel
- Quick installation and implementation
- Light architecture
- Tight integration with the backend logistics execution
- Central point of data maintenance
- Built-in availability checking
- Already live with an SAP R/3 system
- Majority of existing sales configuration applicable to
the Internet processes
- Internet implemented as a strategic sales channel
- A component-based architecture with fully automated data
- Fully integrated SAP solution
- Load on the backend logistics execution system minimized
- High availability and performance
- Personalization of content
- Flexible visual design
- Openness to third-party services
- One-to-one marketing and sophisticated personalization
- Rich business-to-business selling features
- New definition of data and configuration to support strategic
new business processes and customer relations
Migrating from the SAP Online Store to SAP Internet
For many companies, the first step in e-selling was with the SAP Online
Store. However, as sell-side architectures evolve and Sap's strategic
direction shifts to focus on an Internet sales approach, SAP Internet
Sales has become the solution of choice.
The Internet has increasingly become the
strategic distribution channel, especially in connection with more complex
extranet scenarios and distributed marketplace settings. As a result,
companies currently using the SAP Online Store have begun to migrate to
the SAP Internet Sales solution. Internet Sales can also be implemented
as part of a complete mySAP CRM suite, which encompasses all customer
Since the SAP Online Store already utilizes
SAP R/3 functionality, and SAP Internet Sales is based on the SAP CRM
system (built on an SAP Application Server), there are several tools already
in place that make for a smooth transition.
When preparing for such a move, you not
only have to plan how to handle moving from one process to another, you
also have to address how you will migrate the SAP Online Store data to
the SAP Internet Sales solution.
For example, you will need to carefully
consider the migration consequences for:
- SAP R/3 master data to be carried over to the SAP CRM environment.
Much of the master data that is required to support SAP Internet Sales,
such as business partner and product master data, can be automatically
migrated via normal SAP CRM middleware replication processes. Additional
tools, planned for SAP Internet Sales Release 3.0, will allow the Online
Store product catalog to be carried over in an automated way as well.
- Transactional data created within SAP Internet Sales. Sales
orders encompass the transactional data that is created within Internet
Sales. These sales orders are replicated into the backend SAP R/3 system,
at which point the delivery, billing, and accounting processes are enacted.
Sales orders from the Web shop will no longer be directly created in
- Look-and-feel of the Web shop. Due to the different technologies
that are used to implement the SAP Online Store and Internet Sales within
the ITS, you will need to re-implement the HTML templates for the migration
to SAP Internet Sales.
While this may take some planning, the
migration of the actual business processes and data that have accrued
requires relatively minimal effort. The amount of work necessary to re-implement
the look-and-feel of the shop will largely depend on the complexity of
the SAP Online Store shop design at initial implementation. Any investment
in design and branding, for example, can be easily leveraged in the new
|SAP Online Store System
||SAP Internet Sales System
||Migrating Data from the SAP Online Store to SAP Internet
| Customer Master Data
| Stored in the customer master record.
||Stored in the mySAP CRM
business partner record.
|| The master record in mySAP CRM contains the roles that
apply to the business partner, which determine what data is required.
Examples of such roles include a consumer, a contact person (in a
B2B scenario), and a goods recipient (ship-to party). To migrate customers
from the SAP R/3 system to business partners in the SAP CRM system,
a download process takes place. Rules in the middleware define the
information that is relevant to the SAP CRM system, such as the role
of the business partner and the data that must be replicated. After
the initial download, the middleware keeps the business partners in
sync, using a filter to control which business partners are replicated
between systems. It is also possible to create business partners directly
in the CRM system. These business partners are also replicated back
into the R/3 system, which allows logistics execution processes to
|Material Master Data
Stored in the material master record.
| Stored in the mySAP CRM product master
||Stored in the mySAP CRM product master
||The product master in SAP CRM contains sets, or views,
of the product that are relevant to the sales process. It does not
contain the financial/manufacturing data that is also part of the
material master in SAP R/3. Product masters are not created directly
in the CRM system; instead, the material masters are replicated from
the R/3 system into the CRM system. Rules are set up in the middleware
that determine the information required by the CRM system. After the
initial load of products, each time a material master that meets the
defined filter criteria is created in the R.3 system, it is also replicated
into the CRM system, where it can be used by SAP Internet Sales. Additional
attributes may then be added to products in the CRM system, which
are searchable in the Internet Sales product catalog. These attributes
categorize products based on marketing and sales requirements, and
are not replicated back into the R/3 system.
|Maintained in the SAP R/3 System
||Plans for Release 3.0 include a
migration program that transfers the Online Store product catalog
into the SAP CRM system.
||In pre-Release 3.0 migrations, the product catalog
structure must be maintained manually in the SAP CRM system. However,
if the appropriate attributes are defined for the product catalog
structure and for the product master records in CRM, products can
automatically be assigned to catalog structure.
|Created with the Document Management System
(DMS) for use in the product catalog.
||Through Release 2.0C: Knowledge
Provider (KPRO) stores multimedia data for product catalog. Release
3.0: Plans include replacing the KPRO with the Knowledge Warehouse.
||Release 2.0C: In the R/3 system, multimedia documents
may also be stored in the KPRO in R/3, as determined by the document
type. IF this configuration option has not been set previously, a
conversion program is available that allows the documents that already
exist to be converted and stored in the KPRO. The KPRO is then associated
with the SAP CRM system, so that the documents can be accessed from
the converted product catalog in SAP CRM.
|Prices and Product Configuration
|Maintained in the R/3 system.
||Maintained in the SAP Internet Pricing
and Configurator (SAP IPC).
A Knowledge Base that contains the pricing and configuration rules
is created in R/3. The Knowledge Base is then replicated to the
SAP IPC, which then supports all pricing and configuration processes
within SAP Internet Sales scenarios. After the initial download
of the process into the IPC, all changes to prices and configuration
that are maintained within the backend R/3 system are immediately
replicated onto the IPC, ensuring that prices and configuration
rules are in sync at all times. When using the IPC, pricing conditions
that make use of user exits or custom coding must e re-implemented
in the IPC Java environment.
Note: If the SAP IPC has already been in use for the Online Store
(this option is available upon request in Release 4.6C), it must
not be re-installed. Instead, the IPC can simply be connected to
the SAP Internet Sales component, since all source pricing and configuration
data is maintained in the SAP R/3 system.
|Business HTML Templates
|Maintained in the ITS.
||Reside on the ITS.
||You will need to re-implement the Web pages of the Web
shop in SAP Internet Sales, since the programming logic used in the
SAP Online Store is quite different (as described in the architecture
overview.) However, this is actually a benefit in disguise since it
will allow you to take advantage of the greater flexibility and added
functionality of the Internet Sales product. In addition, you will
also need to re-implement the user interface of the SAP IPC using
flow file technology if the IPC was used in conjunction with the SAP
Online Store using the user interface servlet. The SAP ITS will need
to be upgraded to Release 4.6D so that the flow file technology is
||Guidelines for Migrating Data from the SAP Online Store
to SAP Internet Sales
Data Migration to SAP Internet Sales
When an SAP CRM system is implemented, the existing SAP R/3 configuration
can be downloaded into the CRM system, so that duplicate configuration
is not required. Download programs exist for these configuration objects.
This allows for a quick implementation of the basic SAP CRM data.
Usually, the SAP R/3 system already in
place will also continue to serve as the backend for order fulfillment
and processing of financials, while the new SAP CRM system contains all
the marketing, sales, and relationship management processes. The data
that is required in each system must be replicated and kept in sync, which
is done using the SAP CRM middleware.
Figure 5 (on the preceding pages)
lists information on where data is stored for each solution, and considerations
for migrating data to SAP Internet Sales.
Process Migration to SAP Internet Sales
The final step in migrating from the SAP Online Store to SAP Internet
Sales is to examine the business processes that are currently in place
for the Internet Sales channel, and which additional processes are desired.
With the implementation of SAP Internet
Sales, marketing and personalization features can now be incorporated
into a Web shop, which was not possible in the Online Store solution.
Profiling customers using target groups, presenting personalized product
recommendations, cross-selling and up-selling, and presenting bestseller
lists are now possible in the Web shop - all ways to enhance the customer
shopping experience. Since these enhancements were not available in the
SAP Online Store, these marketing processes need to be designed and implemented
in SAP Internet Sales.
Most order fulfillment processes do
not change in the migration, since the majority of the logistics, billing,
and accounting functions within the SAP Online Store and SAP Internet
Sales are carried out using the SAP R/3 backend, and do not change with
the implementation of SAP Internet Sales.
The sales orders are first saved in the
SAP CRM system, and then replicated to the backend R/3 system in real
time. Once an order arrives in R/3, it is processed in the same way as
a typical order within R/3, or an order previously created from the SAP
Online Store. If a product is make-to-order or assemble-to-order, the
sales order triggers a requirement that the product be manufactured; otherwise,
the sales order creates a reservation in the system for the appropriate
This step is then followed by standard
processes for picking, packing, delivery, billing (invoicing or credit
card), and accounts receivable processing.
With the SAP tools already in place, you
are ensured a smooth migration from the lighter architecture of the SAP
Online Store to the richer, component-based architecture of SAP Internet
Sales, where you will enjoy more strategic e-selling features.
|¹ This article is
based in part on an earlier internal
SAP document by Rolf Schatzmann (April
2000). The content has been updated and
the scope extended to include a detailed
discussion of migration from the SAP
Online Store to SAP Internet Sales.
|² The Sales Order
Status can be implemented in conjunction
with the Online Store to provide order
and delivery tracking. This is a separate
IAC, which is also delivered with R/3.
|³ This SAP Online
Store interface is part of the SAP Simplification
Group's preconfiguration, which can be
accessed at www.saplabs.com/ecom.
example is the TeaLeaf Technology solution,
which allows you to capture the customer
experience on the Web site for session
replay and business analysis.
Bussiek leads the Internet Sales Product
Management in Palo Alto as part of SAPMarkets,
Inc. He has helped build the dedicated e-commerce
applications within SAP (B2B Procurement, Internet
Sales, Marketplace) since their beginnings
in 1998. In close contact with many varied
customers, he has gained extensive experience
in formulating SAP IT strategies for the "new, new economy." The
focus of his current work is uncovering new
trends and technologies that will determine
the future success of e-selling software. He
can be reached at email@example.com.
Birgit Starmanns holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Business Administration
from the College of William and Mary, in Williamsburg, Virginia. Birgit
joined SAPMarkets, Inc. in Palo Alto, California, mid-2000 as product
manager for Internet Sales Applications. Prior to this, she was the e-commerce
project manager in the R/3 Simplification Group at SAP Labs. Before joining
SAP, she implemented R/2 and R/3 for numerous companies as a consultant,
since 1990. You can reach her at birgit.starmanns@sap.