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Using SAP with GroupWise for Business Communications

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Posted: 30 Oct 2002
 

Using SAP with GroupWise for Business Communications

This article covers some of the challenges companies encounter when looking to add communications, like e-mail, voicemail, fax, paging, etc. to an environment that runs SAP and GroupWise. As TOPCALL provides solutions for these challenges, it will also address some remedies that can be implemented quickly and easily.

Real Challenges

There are a few challenges when sending communications from SAP and GroupWise. The first, and probably the most notable, is finding the right system for the job. An evaluation of existing systems and a summary of communications that need to be addressed help provide a starting point for determining what you need. For example, you may have an accounting department that uses SAP for faxing invoices or purchase orders, but you may also have those same SAP users that prefer to have delivery notification (a confirmation that the fax was sent successfully or unsuccessfully - including reason for failure if unsuccessful) of these faxes sent to their GroupWise inbox, rather than back to the sending SAP user. At the same time, you have a sales department that is involved in this process, requiring notification of invoices by either e-mail to their GroupWise inbox or paging to their wireless device using SMS, SMTP or TAP. The system you select would have to support all of these situations.

The second challenge is getting the system implemented and getting the users trained on the new processes. For this, you must be aware of the technical advantages or limitations of the system you are evaluating. A system that requires a new desktop client that runs separate from, or even alongside, GroupWise may require a greater level of user training and a slower startup. The same goes for SAP. In most cases, a company has a small, select group of individuals that have access to SAP. These individuals are well versed in the functionality of SAP and introducing a separate client from SAP from which they have to send communications can complicate even the most familiar tasks.

The third challenge is ensuring proper synergy and integration between applications and communication services. Though many systems available can integrate fax well with SAP and other systems can integrate voicemail well with GroupWise, there are very few that can integrate both equally well. For instance, if your needs include fax from SAP with notifications to GroupWise, as well as e-mail and SMS alert notifications sent to a different group of GroupWise users, then the system you select should support tight Fax integration to SAP, tight integration to GroupWise and all the communications media needed - Fax, E-mail and SMS/Paging.

TOPCALL solves these three challenges with a single-server architecture that provides all of the above, as well as advanced communication services like Interactive Voice Response, Computer Telephony and Voicemail communications.

TOPCALL's Solutions

Let's start from the beginning, TOPCALL has been recognized by Novell because of its tight integration to GroupWise, using direct software integration to the GroupWise Object API to communicate back and forth. This gives you unmatched control of the message transfer and administration of the system. For SAP, they have built the TOPCALL name on its ability to integrate so tightly with SAP that our average SAP installation takes only 2 days, through direct software integration to SAPConnect.

So, how does it all work?

GroupWise
For GroupWise they have developed software integration to the GroupWise Object API (called TC/Link-GW) - with no TOPCALL client software required. With this, they are able to communicate and transfer messages between TOPCALL and GroupWise in real-time. This provides them a secure and reliable connection for sending fax confirmations, e-mail notifications, SMS notifications and voice messages. Since they also offer directory synchronization between TOPCALL and GroupWise through NDS- and/or LDAP-based directories, administers can handle system maintenance from a single location. TOPCALL integration to GroupWise supports all major message types including Fax, E-mail, Voicemail and SMS. You can also use GroupWise as a platform for streamlining business processes by introducing TOPCALL's Interactive Voice Response as a method for retrieving information and updating company information stores. A single TOPCALL system supports all of these communications through the GroupWise client.

Features:

  • Single administration from the GroupWise administration tools
  • Real-time message retrieval
  • Secure and reliable message transfer through native GroupWise integration
  • Supports Fax, E-mail, Voicemail/Voice Alerting, SMS and other communications
  • Inbound Fax and Voicemail message sent directly to GroupWise inbox (DID, Caller ID or OCR-based routing))
  • Users work directly in GroupWise, no TOPCALL client software required
  • Send Fax and SMS messages directly from GroupWise
  • Receive notifications, alerts, delivery confirmations, etc. directly in GroupWise inbox
  • Bridges gap between GroupWise and SAP

GroupWise Central Inbox Screenshots (Fax, Voice, E-mail)

SAP
For SAP they use SAPConnect (through TC/Link-SC), a communications connector for the SAPOffice module in SAP. This does not require TOPCALL client software, since the users have access to all TOPCALL communication services directly in SAP. SAPOffice is similar to a central inbox, where all documents created by SAP can be sent to be distributed. SAPOffice is also the central messaging application that all other SAP Applications (FI, SD, HR) use for messaging. Before TOPCALL, these documents would have to be manually distributed by either printing and manually faxing or attaching to an e-mail for sending. TOPCALL uses its SAPConnect connection to SAPOffice to automate this process of retrieving documents and distributing them. This is made possible by its ability to read header information on the document, determine the recipient address (a fax number, telephone number or e-mail address) and sending the document automatically. So, you can actually have one document that needs to faxed and one that needs to be converted to a voicemail (through text-to-speech conversion) and sent to a telephone - TOPCALL handles both in the same process. For your use, administration of distribution lists, users etc. takes place in a single location (either SAP or TOPCALL). This makes it easy to administer and maintain. TOPCALL also provides advanced tracking and reporting tools to make sure nothing is lost in the process.

Features:

  • Single administration from SAP
  • Automated message sending direct form SAP
  • Supports multimedia message formats
  • Offers a single, central point of access for communications supported with SAP's Remote Function Call (RFC) technology, using both RFC client and RFC server functions
  • Works closely with SAPoffice, which provides a message store, message routing and user interface
  • Supports coversheets and templates for fax communications
  • Advanced Delivery and Non-Delivery Notifications into GroupWise inbox
  • No TOPCALL client software or printer drivers required
  • Turnkey system with minimal installation and training time
  • Single server supports multiple SAP instances (production, test, development, etc.)
  • Automatic PCL or PS conversion of documents to fax for sending
  • Message status available from SAP User's outbox

SAPConnect Integration

Summary

In summary, there are many challenges that companies face when streamlining and automating their communications. TOPCALL has developed a recognized system to bridge the gap between business applications like SAP, and groupware platforms like GroupWise - to increase efficiencies in communications and reduce implementation, training and maintenance time.

If you would like to learn more about how TOPCALL has solved specific business challenges of its customers, visit their web site at http://www.topcall.com/.

Keep an eye out for the next article in this series - Workflow integration with SAP and GroupWise.


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