Friday, April 18, 2008

Introduction to SAP xApps – Providing Innovative Business Processes

Introduction to SAP xApps

SYNOPSIS

Establishing competitive advantage takes more than simply improving the operational efficiency of transactional applications. It also requires innovative strategies and the continuous alignment of existing business structures and systems in support of those strategies. Today more than ever, the hallmark of successful, competitive companies is continuous business innovation.

The SAP xApps portfolio of packaged composite applications enables both business
improvement and innovation. With abilities to combine existing heterogeneous systems into cross-functional, end-to-end processes, SAP xApps composite applications align people, information, and business processes for increased competitive agility. This nimbleness helps you execute corporate wide strategies with greater ease and efficiency. The applications also extend the value of your core business investments and maximize the return on your strategic assets: employees, knowledge, products, business relationships, and IT.


Evolution
All applications that consume services and data and are orchestrated to reflect new processes or aims with the help of a service-based architecture like the Enterprise Services Architecture (ESA) are considered composite applications. There are several options available to any company who builds their own custom composite applications (i.e., SAP Net Weaver Certification, SAP xApps Partner Program). SAP and their partners build packaged composite applications (PCAs) that are specified, developed, tested and maintained over time. These PCAs are off-the-shelf, standard, software solutions called SAP xApps, which snap onto existing (heterogeneous) IT environments to create new, cross-functional business processes.






Technology Sea Change Ahead from Replace to Reuse:




Due to the advancement in technology with business requirements, SAP introduced xApps as an ESA (Enterprise Services Architecture) wherein the existing heterogeneous IT environment spanning various functions, organizations and technologies (various apps, DBs, web services, legacy systems, etc) are powered by adding Additional Functional Components.
Definition:
SAP xApps are a new breed of packaged composite applications that snap-on to an existing (heterogeneous) IT environment to create new, cross-functional business processes.



Business Benefits
SAP xApps packaged composite applications connect, automate, and improve specific business processes to fuel business innovation. These composite applications leverage your existing IT investment and help you maximize the value of strategic assets.
SAP xApps is powered by SAP NetWeaver, SAP's integration and application platform that combines the benefits of a portal, business intelligence, and proven exchange technology. This unique architecture provides an infrastructure that is independent of the underlying applications -- so you can effectively create and execute entirely new cross-functional processes from disparate, distributed resources to support new corporate strategies.
Tangible Value
SAP xApps and partner-developed composite applications speed up business innovation and deliver tangible benefits throughout the enterprise. With the SAP xApps portfolio, you can:
Gain better visibility into enterprise data and resources

Make better decisions, based on real-time, accurate information

Reduce the time horizon for formulating and executing corporate strategy
Identify and capitalize on opportunities through collaboration
Gain efficiencies by unifying formerly isolated business units
Increase the overall value of your enterprise software

Defining Characteristics – The 5 C’s

Available SAP xApps
The growing portfolio of SAP xApps products from SAP and SAP certified partners includes composite applications to drive specialized business processes across a variety of industries:
Ø SAP Global Trade Services (SAP GTS) -- Automates and streamlines complex cross-border trade processes, and helps you manage international trade risks.
Ø SAP xApp Resource and Portfolio Management (SAP xRPM) -- Dramatically improves your ability to manage and execute enterprise wide portfolios of complex IT or R&D projects.
Ø SAP xApp Product Definition (SAP xPD) -- Helps you capitalize on your best ideas and translate them into successful, innovative products.
Ø SAP xApp Cost and Quotation Management (SAP xCQM) -- Helps manufacturing companies estimate internal and external costs better and submit more accurate quotes.
Ø SAP xApp Integrated Exploration and Production (SAP xIEP) -- Creates an enterprise wide operating environment to optimize the exploration and production (E&P) life cycle.
SAP Global Trade Services (SAP GTS):
Purpose:
SAP Global Trade Services (SAP GTS) automates global trade processes and enables you to manage large numbers of business partners, and high volumes of documents while also helping you to comply with changing legal regulations. It facilitates global trade by providing you with the tools you require to respond to governments modernizing their systems and to customs authorities communicating electronically with businesses. SAP GTS also helps you to avoid costly delays in your import and export processes and allows you to respond quickly to global business opportunities while mitigating financial risks.
Features:
SAP GTS consists of the following key capabilities:

Ø SAP Compliance Management

It supports international trade compliance issues in three primary areas:

Sanctioned party list screening
Export legal control
Import legal control

SAP Compliance Management automates the complicated regulatory compliance process, which is a crucial factor for successful global trade activities. This minimizes the risk of penalties and fines, maximizes your companies return on global sourcing and selling initiatives, and increases your overall competitiveness by improving customer satisfaction.

Ø SAP Customs Management

It supports cooperation with the customs authorities in the following primary areas:
Customs processing
Trade document printing
Transit/Presentation
Customs communications

SAP Customs Management enables you to handle customs processing for imports and exports electronically and in accordance with the relevant legislation. SAP Customs Management provides functions for processing imports and exports as well as communication and printing features.

Ø SAP Risk Management

SAP Risk Management enables you to mitigate financial risks while trading globally and can be fully integrated into your standard export processes using the following two services:

Restitution handling - supports exporters in the restitution process. It helps ensure all the pre-requisites for applying and receiving export restitutions are fulfilled and minimizes the risk of penalization through loss of securities or export licenses.
Preference processing - helps exporters to fulfill all the legal requirements for customs tariff preferences and to show that their goods are eligible for preferential treatment, thus enabling their customers to import these goods either duty free or at a reduced rate of import duty.

SAP xApp Resource and Portfolio Management:
Purpose:
SAP xApp Resource and Portfolio Management (SAP xRPM) is designed to manage the capacity and deployment of human capital assets across multiple projects.It integrates information from existing project management, human resource, and financial/controlling systems to provide an overview of the project portfolio with easy drilldown to details for project executives, project managers, and resource managers.
Features:
SAP xRPM culls and organizes scattered data into a collaborative dashboard for project executives and managers as well as resource managers and project members. By putting more information and advanced tools at their fingertips, SAP xRPM helps them better choose and execute new sources of revenue.

SAP xRPM facilitates tasks in the following areas at different levels:

Area
Level
Description
Portfolio management
Strategic
SAP xRPM offers a dashboard of project data that includes key performance indicators related to budget, schedule, and staffing issues. This centralized view of performing and at-risk elements is critical for managing an enterprise-wide portfolio of projects.
Project execution
Operational
SAP xRPM integrates data from disparate project management systems to create a complete suite of calendar, to-do items, threaded discussions, document management, and role-based notifications across the project team.
Resource assignment
Transactional
SAP xRPM provides comprehensive information about employees’ capabilities and availability.
Both managers and employees contribute skills, experience, and aspirations that enable you to match the right employees to the right project at the right time.

By using SAP xRPM, you can:
ü Align projects with corporate objectives and mitigate risks using project portfolio management techniques
ü Gain visibility in real-time to project costs, staffing, schedules, and results
ü Assign, deploy, redeploy, plan, and forecast resources based on skills and strategic priorities
ü Discover sources and deployment of expertise and skills within the organization, without complex and laborious data entry projects
ü Institute effective “gates and measures” between project phases

SAP xRPM supports the following roles:

Project Executive
Project Manager
Resource Manager
Project Member
xRPM Admin

SAP xApp Product Definition:
Purpose:
SAP xPD is designed to address the hurdles and inefficiencies of critical product definition processes such as idea management, concept development, and design evaluation.
Features:
SAP xPD is a role-based application that
Employs a single repository of structured and unstructured information for all ideas and concepts across all divisions
Avoids duplication of new development efforts across groups
Enables multi-disciplinary collaboration early in the process
Assembles and distributes relevant information from existing underlying systems
Stores all relevant information either for use later in the process or by future product definition teams

Ø Idea Management

This process streamlines and structures idea creation.
You can:
Submit ideas, Refine and enhance ideas and Approve or reject ideas.
The key benefits of this process are as follows:
Good ideas are not lost, but found and made available to the appropriate people
Bad ideas are killed quickly
Idea generation workflows are structured and made more visible

Ø Concept Development

This process streamlines and structures the development of a concept from an idea to the point at which product development can start.
You can:
Create new product concepts, Provide information or Monitor and manage all concept
Phases.
The key benefits of this process are as follows:
It is phase-based, thus making development progress easy to gauge
The representation of phases, deliverables and workflows associated with concept development is supported through concept templates

SAP xApp Cost and Quotation Management:
Purpose:
The Business Package for SAP xApp Cost and Quotation Management (SAP xCQM) is designed to streamline the quoting process for Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) providers / contract manufacturers.
Features:
SAP xCQM integrates information from disparate systems such as sales, production, and sourcing into a powerful process support for those mission critical activities. Analytical capabilities further contribute to a solution that always keeps you up-to-date on the effectiveness of your activities.

SAP xCQM enables:
· Effective screening of incoming Quotations
· The creation of a quotation through the upload of Bill of Materials (BOMs)
· Automated pricing of existing components
· Streamlined e-RFQ processing for new components
Purpose:
The SAP xApp Integrated Exploration and Production (xIEP) is designed to support business processes for the upstream oil and gas industry.It Creates an enterprisewide operating environment to optimize the exploration and production (E&P) life cycle.
Features:
It links user-specific actions, transactions, and information required to complete the following business processes for the Asset Maintenance for SAP xIEP Business Scenario:
Ø Formulating Maintenance Strategy
Identifies wells that require service and allows the team to develop maintenance assumptions and strategies.
Ø Determining Well and Facility Maintenance Requirements
Allows the team to select maintenance options for the year and to develop work and cost estimates.
Ø Compiling Intervention Activity Program
Facilitates the procurement of materials and the provision of instructions to the field.
Ø Performing Maintenance, Inspection or Intervention Tasks
Involves controlling the work scope, restoring a site to safe condition, and analyzing work performance.
Ø Analyzing the Process/Identifying Improvements
Involves the identification and implementation of opportunities that improve the process.

SAP xApps Can

With SAP xApps composite applications, you can:
Ø Dramatically reduce the time required to formulate and execute corporate strategy
Ø Identify and exploit opportunities through smart collaboration within and outside your enterprise
Ø Quickly respond to new business realities with highly adaptable business processes
Ø Improve efficiencies by unifying formerly isolated business units
Ø Implement companywide initiatives across vertical hierarchies
Ø Increase the overall value you gain from your enterprise software
Conclusion
SAP xApps span multiple solutions, departments, and organizations -- to leverage existing IT systems and ease future integration. They also allow quick reconfiguration to accommodate new business structures, processes, and customer and partner requirements. And they deliver new collaborative capabilities across the enterprise in a role-based portal environment.
SAP xApps – the portfolio of applications boost your return on strategis assets and drive continous business innovation and improvemnet with great ease an efficiency than ever before.

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