Frequently Asked Questions
SAP Business Connector
The SAP Business Connector (SAP BC) allows the integration of different applications and technologies with SAP systems via open and non-proprietary standards. The SAP BC uses the Internet as communication platform and allows you to highly automate your business processes. Thus, the SAP BC seamlessly integrates different IT architectures with SAP systems.
XML is a universal method for describing and formatting messages. By placing information in context with markup tags, similar to HTML tags, XML enables users to access and exchange data from different applications. With XML as the foundation for business data transformation, companies are given an open standard for information exchange. This eliminated the political and technical barriers that traditional data interchange approaches such as EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) have faced. Consequently, SAP BC can be implemented in weeks as opposed to months or years.
A major stumbling block on the road towards a more generalized adoption of e-business solutions has been the relative absence of common standards for exchanging information which businesses could use. Before the rise of the Internet, many businesses tried to solve this basic problem by agreeing upon a data format for information exchange, the EDI format. But EDI systems have not been trivial to implement. Only the largest companies have had the resources needed to fully adopt EDI. Companies looking to adopt e-business solutions have sought a common format for businesses exchange information over the Internet. The adoption of XML by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was the first step in that direction.
SAP BC provides an interface that converts XML documents into a format readable to the SAP server. Businesses today need technologies that will enable them to leverage their ERP investments and integrate that with electronic commerce, supply-chain management, front office and data warehousing systems. This is significant, because the huge customer SAP implementation base and the accumulated business process knowledge make SAP the most important ERP solution provider in the world.
With SAP BC, SAP offers a key technology enabling businesses to deploy heterogeneous system-to-system integration solutions. This is an important step in the realization of the potential of XML technology to tighten the links between partners in the supply chain. SAP BC can be used to connect different SAP systems (with different release versions) over the Internet. In fact, the SAP proprietary RFC format is converted to XML or HTML so that no SAP software is needed on the other end of the communication line, and developing applications does not require SAP system knowledge. RFC is the communications protocol we use to talk to SAP systems.
No. SAP ITS is essentially an SAP-to-Web application server solution for deploying robust Internet applications using HTML / HTTP (dialog oriented man-machine interface). SAP BC is an XML-based integration solution for system-to-system and enterprise-to-enterprise communication (machine-to-machine interface).
See SAP Note 507813 which describes the positioning of SAP BC vs. SAP Process Orchestration (formerly SAP Exchange Infrastructure).
Suppose you are operating a plant for manufacturing auto parts, and you supply parts to auto makers throughout the world. Auto manufacturers rely on receiving your parts to make their final products. With a combination of SAP system and SAP BC, you can seamlessly integrate your logistics system with your shipping vendors and your customers. Your company will be able to significantly reduce inventory costs by electronically passing orders to various suppliers, automatically receiving delivery status reports and constantly viewing real-time inventory status on all warehouse stock. SAP BC allows your ERP system to securely communicate with your suppliers' planning systems over the Internet without understanding XML or how to interface with the suppliers' systems. Businesses can deploy SAP BC to integrate a number of business processes at many points along the supply chain, from supplier catalogs and e-commerce ordering systems to procurement and other ERP systems.