Excerpted from the book "Teach Yourself SAP in 24 Hours, 2nd Edition," ISBN 0672328224, Copyright 2006. Written permission from SAMS Publishing is required for all other uses. Copyright © 2006 SAMS Publishing. All rights reserved.
Download chapter 22: 'Integration with Microsoft Office'
Integration with Microsoft Office
Integration between SAP and Microsoft's products is nothing new. Using object linking and embedding (OLE), a concept introduced in Hour 14, "Technology Overview," it has long been possible to drop your SAP data into a Microsoft application. In this way, additional analysis of your ECC, R/3, APO, and other list- and simple report-based SAP data sources can be easily accomplished through Microsoft Excel, Access, and so on. And with the latest joint announcements between SAP and Microsoft—code-named Mendocino—this integration continues to grow deeper and more valuable, adding Microsoft Exchange, Outlook, other database sources, and more to the list of Microsoft products that afford better integration with SAP.
Highlights of this hour include
- Using SAP's %pc functionality to save SAP data
- Moving SAP data into Microsoft Excel, Word, and Access
- Review of Mendocino
- How Mendocino impacts end-user productivity
SAP and MS Office Integration Architecture
Integration between SAP and Microsoft products hinges upon the use of OLE, a common and standard technology for transferring and sharing information among applications. With OLE, you can take data out of your SAP system and place it into another system, all the while maintaining the format and integrity of the data. For example, you can view data residing in any number of SAP database tables as a series of columns and rows in Microsoft Excel—an easy way to view and manipulate data otherwise trapped in the SAP database.
The SAP Assistant is the OLE interface used for calling SAP functions and transactions from other non-SAP applications. The SAP Assistant exposes both ActiveX controls and OLE object classes, for logging in to SAP, managing data and tables, calling functions and transactions, and more. SAP systems are therefore designed today so that you can share data with any OLE-compatible application. Sample OLE-compatible applications include
- Microsoft Office, including Visio and other products
- Corel Office, including Paradox
- Star Office
- Lotus Smart Suite
- Many Web Server development environments, such as Microsoft FrontPage
Additionally, nearly all modern application development languages in use today support OLE. This includes the old-school C++ programming language as well as the latest and greatest Microsoft .NET Visual Basic offerings, to IBM's WebSphere Information Integrator and PowerBuilder by Sybase. In this way, the developer of a non-SAP application can create objects that can access information in SAP.
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