SAP to SharePoint Integration via NetWeaver and OData in Minutes instead of Months

SAP to SharePoint Integration via NetWeaver and OData in Minutes instead of Months

SAP
SAP integration into Microsoft SharePoint and especially Office 365 is a typical project requirement, but often requires complex development. Now, via SAP NetWeaver and OData things are looking more friedly. While integration via SharePoint Business Connectivity Services (BCS) is a great step forward to display external data in SharePoint, it has it’s issues and limitations in case of a full integration is required, e.g. with views, search, metadata, change notifications and workflows. In many cases, data synchronization of SAP queries with native SharePoint lists can bridge the gap. In the following example the Layer2 Cloud Connector for Office 365 and SharePoint and the Layer2 Data Provider for OData is used to setup a synchronization of SAP data via SAP NetWeaver with native SharePoint lists in minutes codeless, instead of month of complex development. First we are going to create a new uni-directional connection in the Layer2 Cloud Connector. Please note that generally bi-directional connections are supported as well. You can enable scheduling later on to update the SharePoint list automatically. The connection should look like this: SAP-Office-365-SharePoint-Integration-NetWeaver-OData-01
Fig.: SAP to SharePoint connection created in the Layer2 Cloud Connector  We are going to use the new SAP NetWeaver demo portal as a data source. Please note that you have to register to gain access. You will find a full service description here after login. Now the SAP data source must be configured in the Layer2 Cloud Connector. SAP-Office-365-SharePoint-Integration-NetWeaver-OData-02
Fig.: SAP data source in the Layer2 Cloud Connector.
To access our SAP sample data please select the Layer2 Data Provider for OData from the list of available providers. If not available, please install. It comes as part of the Layer2 Cloud Connector installation package. The license is included. Please specify URL, collection, authentication method, user and password in the connection string. You will find a specification of supported attributes in the Layer2 Data Provider for OData specification. You can also use valid OData expressions as a select statement to filter the source data for specific criteria or remove unwanted fields. Please verify the connection string.
In case of the SAP Demo portal we are going to use:
URL=https://sapes1.sapdevcenter.com/sap/opu/odata/IWFND/RMTSAMPLEFLIGHT/; Collection=TravelAgencies; Authentication=Windows; User=P***; Password=***
After successfull verification, please go to the data preview (right margin Action menu). As you can see here, there is a unique ID field agencynum in the data set. Please set as primary key for the data synchronization.
Now lets connect the data destination, a SharePoint Online contact list in Microsoft Office 365 in our sample. Please note that Microsoft SharePoint 2010 or 2013 on-premise or even the free Microsoft SharePoint Foundation is supported as well. Please select the Layer2 Data Provider for SharePoint (CSOM) to connect. The provider and license is also included in the Layer2 Cloud Connector Installation package. Please add a connection string that contains the URL to the SharePoint site, list and view, also the authentication method and user / password.
SAP-Office-365-SharePoint-Integration-NetWeaver-OData-03
Fig.: SharePoint Online list as a data destination for a SAP query defined in the Layer2 Cloud Connector. 
The SharePoint list must be created manually before connecting. As in our sample we have address data, we create a new SharePoint contact list to have some more features later on – like offline replication via Microsoft Outlook or mobile access. Generally all types of lists can be connected. Additionally to the already existing columns we create a column SAP-ID to have a hint, where the item data exactly comes from. No primary key must given for SharePoint, the item ID is always used automatically.
Now we have to map the SAP query data fields with the SharePoint list columns. We cannot make use of the auto-mapping feature of the Layer2 Cloud Connector in this case, because contact columns must have specific names, very different from the SAP query.
The mapping section of the Layer2 Cloud Connector should look like this:
SAP-Office-365-SharePoint-Integration-NetWeaver-OData-04
Fig.: Field / Column mapping section for data source and destination in the Layer2 Cloud Connector.
Please note the field “name” is mapped to the SharePoint “Title” column (actually the Lastname of a SharePoint contact list). Also our primary key agencynum is mapped to our additional column SAP-ID. Please verify the mapping before continue.
Now we are prepared for first run. The Layer2 Cloud Connector is installed in the local network. It now talks to SAP (via NetWeaver / OData) at one side and to SharePoint Online (via CSOM) on the other side and syncs the data entities as required. Please note that the first sync could take a while, depending on amount of data, configuration and bandwidth.
SAP-Office-365-SharePoint-Integration-NetWeaver-OData-05-600
 Fig.: First synchronization of SAP data source and SharePoint list via the Layer2 Cloud Connector.
Now let’s take a look at our connected SharePoint list.
SAP-Office-365-SharePoint-Integration-NetWeaver-OData-06
 Fig.: Native SharePoint list connected to SAP data via the Layer2 Cloud Connector.
​Please keep the following in mind about this integration approach:
  • All SharePoint features are fully available for the list, because it’s simply a native list (no BCS): Views, search, metadata, lookups, change notification via RSS or email, workflows on SAP data change, offline and mobile access etc.
  • The SharePoint list data is updated scheduled in background or on-demand via secure connection. It’s not about bulk import, all items are safely updated in case of changes. Addional unmapped columns or attachments are being kept.
  • No access from outside to the corporate network required. The Layer2 Cloud Connector operates from inside the company network. No 3rd party involved.
  • No installation or changes in any software, not in SAP, not in SharePoint.
  • Users work with synced data copies in SharePoint (or in the SharePoint Online cloud) with best performance, availability and security. No access to SAP required (means no licenses). That really simplifies the architecture and save costs.
  • Bi-directional operations are fully supported. Please use the SAP OData Generator to create the CRUD operations required (in more complex situations).
  • The Layer2 Cloud Connector does not only support OData. It can connect to almost any data sources, including databases or the local file system, to replicate to SharePoint.
​Please register and download your evaluation copy today on the Layer2 Cloud Connector product page. Contact sales@layer2.de directly in case of any questions.

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