Mobile Infrastructure Questions
Hello SAP Guru's,
I am investigating the best way to handle the following scenario:
Our plant maintenance technicians would like to be able to use hand helds (Dell Axim) to process specific SAP notifications and work orders. I am researching how we could make this possible. From what I understand about the business requirements, they simply want to download a subset of data (notifications and work orders) and be able to complete the required work, update the notification, or work order on the hand held, and then "sync" it back to the SAP database.
The requirements as identified are:
- SAP Work Order Management:
o List Orders
o List Operations
o Create Time Confirmations
o Create Material Confirmations
o Create Orders
o Create Operations
o Change Orders
o Change Operation User Status
- SAP Notification Management
o Display Notification / Notification lists
o Create Notifications
o Modify Notifications
o Add tasks, activities, items, reasons, and text to existing notifications
o Add/modify notification user status
o Release Tasks on notifications
- SAP Technical Object Management
o Display equipment list/detail
o Display Functional Location list / details / hierarchy
We are currently on 4.6B and were planning on using hand held devices such as Dell Axims.
Some questions I have for are:
Will a handheld device be able to do this off-line storage, processing, and "synching", or will something like a tablet PC/laptop be required?
Are there any templates/examples available for the above requirements or something similar involving work orders and notifications?
What are the requirements for going completely wireless? Are we looking at some kind of wireless network setup, or dialing into a server?
Any recommendations for "intrinsically safe" hand held devices that could be deployed at plant facilities?
What would be a high level cost of some of the components?
Any help in this matter is greatly appreciated.
Tikkas, you may get a better response if you post this in the Interface forum.
just look for documentation of the mobile solution of SAP ("mobile engine"). I think Mobile Asset MAnagement (MAM) covers your needs.
you find some documentation on this subject under
Since you are in a plant environment you may want to consider a wireless network and GuiXT mobile. Their website is www.synactive.net
Take a look at the following mobile framework: http://www.amprofessionals.com/software.html
Although there are alternatives, I have not seen any that do not require a middleware layer to be added to your existing SAP environment. This solution is installed on your SAP server (does not modify standard SAP) and allows you to create any mobile apps using any transactions from SAP. The apps are exported in Java and can be run on PDA's, browsers, etc. without modification in real time or offline modes. It also handles various architectures to fit your requirement. As well, there is also a PM template with which to start.
As for what you want to do, it would depend on how much data you wish to access offline to understand if the Axiom is sufficient, but a tabletPC is surely capable. The above solution can handle any current wireless technology, but what best suits your users should be the top consideration. I would say to first complete your solution requirements, then match it up with the best device that meets your needs.
For pricing, "ruggedized" devices for plant facilities are in the range of $1,000 - $4,000 roughly. Symbol, Intermec, and others are good companies to consider.
The software is where most of your budget will need to be spent for the configuration/setup of your solution. When comparing the costs of different solutions, take into consideration the long term actual costs of:
-any additional skills needed to maintain the software and/or solution
-additional hardware needed (beyond devices)
-troubleshooting tools to fix issues
-any required SAP upgrades needed for your system
-wireless costs (amount of data going over the network)
-development costs associated with interfacing into SAP
Most seem to focus only on the license fees when there is much more to it over time. Hope this was helpful.
Excellent - one of the best replies I have seen in this forum.
If I may add my small part.....
Although I was not actually involved in this part of the project, two seperate clients implemented hand-held solutions and both vastly underestimated the following elements:
1. Synchronising data: to keep costs down the devices were not permanently connected to SAP, and not all data was synchronised at the same time. This meant that the data held in the two systems could be different. Example: the material master data for the technicians van was held in the device. However, this was often not the same as SAP. When the technician tried to perform a goods-movement - it fails.
2. Error detection and handling: you should employ some form of error detection and handling system. In the above example, the system should perform a stock check in SAP before performing a goods-movement. However, this is not always possible, therfore you need some method of capturing the error (including transmitted data) so that the error can be resolved back in the office. In some cases this may mean a full-time employee correcting data 5 days a week!!!!
One client I was speaking to last week has been working at their solution for 5 years due to interface upgrades, error handling/detection improvements, SAP upgrades.
Last word on the matter: when it works, it works well and can save time, money, customer confidence etc etc
In most cases that I have seen, clients really underestimate the costs associated with mobile solutions. It would be nice if SAPFANS created a separate forum specifically to address the mobile area overall since most of the issues are not specific to the particular functional requirements.
Your highlight of syncronization issues is one BIG area that every client must contend, but typically overlook until it is too late. Your second point also hits home that due to sync issues, always investigate the tools that are necessary to fix/troubleshoot problems or the client is going to spend a LOT of extra dollars that were not planned from the beginning.
Tikkas, given that you posted this in more than one forum, any follow up?
Given the detailed initial post, you have done quite a bit of work on this topic. Any progress to date?
Yes, I would also like to know what has transpired Tikkas since your initial posts. You entered this into several different forums, so there was obviously a sense of urgency in seeking some information, any updates?
As well, are there any other contributors that may be able to add other comments regarding mobile experiences. Preferrably, offline, since realtime does not have such technical issues to overcome.
Additional hardware needed?
Any comments are appreciated.
We have someone that need to watch system all time for errors. Very big need for synch tools so data is good.
Tikkas, did you implement any solution or are you still investigating it?
It seems you just disappeared after posting this into a few forums. Please let us know how your issue was resolved as it would benefit all of us with an emphasis on mobile solutions.
I went back and dug up this thread from some time ago as it had some good content. Just curious if Tikkas or others have some input on issues regarding offline mobile implementations they have experienced.
Our business users want to use some mobile devices for data capture in the field so they do not need to come back to the office and key it in manually. To do this, they will need to be disconnected (offline) from SAP and be able to store their data while remote. This thread looked like a good one to ask about some possible solutions for this scenario. Any suggestions/comments/issues?