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WSO2Con 2011 : Using WSO2 ESB with SAP ERP (Retail) - Harsha Senanayake

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  • By WSO2Con 2011
  • 24 Oct, 2011

Bringing SAP Closer to the Stores

The KeellsSuper supermarket chain is part of John Keells Holdings (JKH), which was founded in 1870 and is largest business conglomerate in Sri Lanka. In 2005, JKH implemented SAP ERP across its 70 subsidiaries, Mr. Senanayake said. However, the company recently decided to move KeellsSuper from the group ERP deployment to its own line of business (LOB) specific instance of SAP ERP to handle such activities as planning, store and multi-channel buying, and supply chain management.

The technology goals were two-fold, Mr. Senanayake explained. First was eliminating the performance issues with the existing SAP and POS integration, which relied on synchronous interfaces. Second, was enabling seamless integration between SAP and the online store: keellssuper.com.

From a business standpoint, the integrated SAP/POS system needed to guarantee delivery through message queuing that could deal with slow networks, Mr. Senanayake. It also needed to prioritize messages, such as giving pricing a high priority in the morning, as well as ensure that an order would go through exactly once.

“From our CIO’s point of view,” Mr. Senanayake noted, “The key thing that he wanted was peace of mind.”

Shopping for an Integration Solution

In evaluating different integration options, JKH looked at both synchronous and asynchronous messaging formats. Ultimately, the company decided to use SAP Intermediate Document (IDOC), a standard structure for electronic data interchange (EDI). Mr. Senanayake explained that because IDOC is asynchronous in nature, a call to submit the IDOC to SAP is performed very quickly, but the actual business processing can happen at some later time defined in the SAP system.

Three other benefits JHK saw were that IDOC is a tried and tested technology used by almost all SAP ERP Retail customers; only the changed data can be transferred from SAP, ensuring quality of service; and “POS Interface Monitor” functionality is available to monitor IDOC.

The next step was determining whether to implement IDOC in combination with SAP’s own middleware or with a third-party solution. JKH ruled out SAP because it lacked all of the interfaces the supermarket chain required, Mr. Senanayake said. Instead, the company chose the WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus (ESB). The company liked that the WSO2 ESB was lightweight and open source, he explained. Additionally, WSO2 was in the process of developing a WSO2 SAP Gateway Solution that would include a new SAP adaptor.

The Implementation – Tying it Together

JKH embarked on the SAP/POS integration project with a cross-functional team that included WSO2 consultants working together with members of John Keells’ SAP functional and technical teams, .NET and SQL developers from the POS team, process leads from the core team, and the administration/infrastructure team. As part of the joint effort, JKH contributed to the development of WSO2’s SAP adaptor.

Today, the WSO2 ESB sits between the SAP and POS systems to handle mediation and transformation, Mr. Senanayake explained. For example, he noted, when a query is sent from the POS system, the WSO2 ESB does an XSLT transformation, maps it to the IDOC structure, and then posts it to the SAP system, which reports whether the IDOC was successfully created. Additionally JKH uses WSO2 Data Services Server to convert SQL data into Web services that can be shared across the systems.

The current implementation runs an average of 500,000 transactions per month and up to 1 million transactions during peak seasonal months, Mr. Senanayake said. He added that the average size of the message can range anywhere from 100KB to 5MB.

“We need messages to be delivered to the ESB, and the ESB to take care of quality of service and to make sure to deliver that message,” Mr. Senanayake noted. The WSO2 ESB has delivered on that promise.

To learn more about how John Keells is using WSO2 ESB to integrate its SAP ERP and POS systems, view Mr. Senanayake’s full presentation here.

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  • WSO2Con 2011
  • Sri Lanka