SAP desktop automation beyond Transaction – why should you care

You want to automate SAP data maintenance and creation in your enterprise. There are some products in market that do only SAP transaction automation. There are a few solutions that offers SAP Transaction automation and much more. Question is, how limiting or effective are those transaction-only automation tools? What are the performance implications of these solutions for your SAP landscape and for your desktops of today and tomorrow. What do you need to know before you select an SAP automation software. This blog should answer some of these questions.

Let’s start with one of the questions : Is SAP Transaction-only automation software enough or I need more than that?

Let me ask you this – if you want to run, do you want to use one leg or both? SAP offers automation in many ways. Transaction, BAPI, RFM, GUI Scripts, etc.. If you are using a software that does only Transaction dependent automation, you are using only one leg. You are bound to be slow and you will eventually get tired and stop running (or hopping).

See the chart below. This chart lists number of objects and SAP processes that are available in each SAP releases. Notice how SAP is releasing more and more BAPIs and RFMs.

SAP desktop automation beyond Transaction - why should you care

Now the second part of the story – while Transaction automation is important, it doesn’t work well with many Enjoy and extended transactions. On the other hand, BAPI and RFMs are specifically designed for program-to-program interfaces, and tend to work well in these cases.

One would agree that humans (for which transactions are designed) and computer programs (for which BAPIs/RFMs are designed) are two different animals and their interaction needs are different. SAP is rightfully designing many transactions for easier human interface and providing ALV Grids, drag and drop and many other neat features. All these new user elements are making it increasingly difficult for Transaction automation software to record and upload or download the data to those transactions.

To address the automation needs, SAP is providing BAPIs and RFMs which are not only designed for program to program interface but also provides much smoother performance to SAP infrastructure and to SAP client software.

Bottom line: One would wish that you need a tool that can automate not only transactions but also Business APIs (BAPIs), released RFMs and in some cases GUI scripted transactions so you can do more in SAP. This very question was not answered by any other tool in SAP automation market place – that is before Innowera Process Runner was introduced.

Much had changed since I first wrote transaction shuttling software in 2000. Most SAP implementations were 3.1h, some were preparing for 4.0. We were still running on the first generations of Pentiums. Average desktop computer memory size was about 256MB. Everyone had big CRT monitors. In short, if you look back, it purely looks like a classical legacy world.

If we look today and forward, we have multi core computing power on our desk (or lap), average desktop memory is 1GB, workplace real estate is reclaimed by flat screens. Unfortunately, in SAP automation world, we didn’t make much progress. We are still using only one legged transaction-only data management tools.

Here was my shopping list for the next generation enterprise grade SAP automation software :

  • SAP desktop automation must go beyond transactions and include BAPIs, RFMs, GUI Scripting and much more. This will enable more user to tap the vast but unexplored business logic locked in SAP.
  • Harness the power of the computers of today and tomorrow and provide multi threading, multi processing – SAP was already designed for that for years and it is time for desktop applications to catch up.
  • Provide collaborative integration and tools and bring some of the Web 2.0 benefits to ERP world. We is better than Me. When your team is sharing the resources and efforts, it’s more agile and responsive.

With Process Runner 2008, all these became reality. Process Runner supports SAP Transactions, BAPIs, RFMs and GUI Scripting from one seamless interface. It has built-in auto Parallel Processing and is written in multi threads so the application is always responsive. One click scheduling, built-in Excel and with Enterprise Sharing implementation, Process Runner allows effortless team collaboration and knowledge sharing, taking productivity to the next level.

SAP automation will never be same again with Process Runner. Not only you will be using your both legs but you will have some muscle power as well. After all, SAP is a trillion pound gorilla, you need an automation software that can harness and tame it.

If this sounds interesting, I invite you to download a copy of Process Runner and see it yourself why Process Runner should have a place on your desktop.

About the author :

Mickey Shah is an SAP techno-wizard. He spent the last 10 years implementing SAP for very large corporations in North America and Europe. Mickey posses an outstanding SAP functional and technical knowledge and is well respected among his peers in SAP world. Implemented over 9 full life cycle go lives and upgrades, he knows exactly what it takes to deliver a good SAP automation product. Overall he is enjoying his 20th year in Information Technology, dating back from first program he wrote on Z80 in 1988.

Prior to starting Innowera in 2007, Mickey founded and created winshuttle in 2000.