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The Records and Document Management ES bundle service-enables SAP Records Management by allowing composite applications of many types to read, create, and change documents associated with records stored in SAP Records Management.

This bundle will also enable SAP customers in all industries to flexibly implement service-based scenarios with records and document integration as well as enable generic integration with frontend applications such as MS Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and others.

For example, public sector organizations as well as other industries are required to store records and documents that are linked to a business process in a structured manner. For a building inspector, this would mean that documents of any MIME type (emails, text documents, spreadsheets, forms, MP3 recordings, and the like) related to a particular building permit request would be stored in an electronic building permit record folder in SAP Records Management.

The enterprise services contained within this bundle would allow the building inspector to create, update, and retrieve individual records (called record folders in enterprise SOA terms) and the documents held within them from any frontend application and work with these documents in that application as he processes individual permit requests. He could insert an email (or a folder of emails) from MS Outlook into a record. The official can also create a PDF of the approved permit and add it to the relevant record folder in SAP Records Management.

This functionality can be extended to any industry with the same need to store, work with, and retrieve electronic files and documents in a structured and auditable way from numerous frontend applications.

The obvious benefits of this bundle are greatly improved organizational efficiency and the ease of integration of these many frontend applications with SAP Records Management. Previously, integration would have required a significant amount of detailed integration work done on a project-by-project basis.

Records and Document Management (click to enlarge)



System Landscape

SAP Records Management runs on SAP NetWeaver. The enterprise services for this ES bundle, however, reside in the cross-component foundation layer of the SAP Business Suite (technically, SAP_BS_FOUNDATION). As a result, to implement this bundle, a customer must also run one of the SAP Business Suite solutions: ERP, SCM, SRM, PLM, or CRM.

Key Business Objects

The business objects in this ES bundle reflect the flexibility of those objects in SAP Records Management.

A Document is broadly defined to include a binary object of any MIME type stored within a database.

A Record Folder contains all of these documents. Depending on the business process, it may be used in records management and have additional attributes that support the restrictions and legal implications of that business process. As mentioned earlier, SAP Records Management refers to a record folder simply as a record.

Table 1. SAP Records Management terms and enterprise SOA equivalents

SAP Records Management Term

Enterprise SOA Term

Record

Record Folder

The Records and Document Management ES bundle leverages enterprise SOA by enabling communication between SAP Records Management and a number of frontend applications via the use of enterprise services.

Audience

While these services and business uses are well targeted toward public service organizations, they are also able to be used by any industry running SAP Records Management and any of the mySAP Business Suite of solutions and services.

The roles within these industries that would use this ES bundle are primarily managers and clerks.

For details on Service Operations, Business Objects and Process Components, please check the ES Workplace.


How to Use This ES Bundle

Prior to the creation of SAP Records Management, many electronic records and the documents held within them were created by an individual employee performing a specific business or public service function. As such, the records and documents created by these people were stored in the local disk drive of that particular computer or perhaps the server for that client computer. Broadly disseminating records and documents required other members of the organization finding the correct owner of the record and sending a request for it to be passed along.

Imagine the building inspector who needs multiple types of documents from perhaps a number of municipal roles in order to approve a building permit and you can see the utility of providing an efficient means to retrieve records and documents.

In systems based on keeping and maintaining paper records and documents, carrying out specific business processes would almost seem to be impractically inefficient.

Further, should an individual leave the organization or even merely transition to a new role, retrieving records and documents created by them is that much more difficult. It may even be the case that these records and documents could be lost if the individual leaves the organization.

SAP Records Management provides a standard solution for managing these records so that they are accessible across the enterprise. The solution also allows users to store and retrieve objects of any MIME type.

The Records and Document Management ES bundle service-enables SAP Records Management by providing a way to communicate with any number of frontend applications used to create individual documents such as text, email, interview recordings, and so on. By making it possible to retrieve and store documents from the front-end applications that people use in their everyday work life, this ES bundle makes it possible to conveniently add information, such as email, to records folders in SAP Records Management, without leaving the current task. Ultimately, this provides not only convenience but enables broader compliance and completeness of records.

Essentially, SAP Records Management provides a number of out-of-the-box capabilities, but this ES bundle and future iterations will leverage off the NetWeaver business platform to provide enhanced functionality to records and document management.

By enabling other business applications to put information or access information of any form into records management easily and seamlessly from the applicationâ??s user interface, this bundle provides a nearly limitless range of possibilities as it relates to digital management of documents and records. These possibilities could include the creation of composite applications with other SAP solutions and ES bundles.

For example, a composite application with SAP Document Builder - a content driven, cross-application solution for building and authoring complex documents - and SAP Records Management could be created using the services in the Records and Document Management ES bundle and the Document Builder ES bundle. Documents could be created in Document Builder and then via enterprise services the document could be stored in a record folder and managed by SAP Records Management.

Further, a scanning tool could call the services in this bundle so that as a document is scanned, it is also mapped and uploaded to the correct record folder in SAP Records Management. (In such a case, the composite application would have to allow the user to select a record folder to which to scan.)

These are just a few examples that demonstrate the value of this bundle.

The following sections explore three use cases for the Records and Document Management ES bundle. Each is intended to provide concrete examples for the types of functions the bundle supports and shows how different outcomes can be achieved by using the enterprise services in different combinations. While these use cases demonstrate a few ways the ES bundle can be used, they are designed to highlight the flexibility and reusability of the business objects and enterprise service operations so as to impart a clearer understanding of how they can be deployed in the customer's business environment. This wiki is also the space for readers to share knowledge and collaborate with others that are implementing the Records and Document Management ES bundle.

Use Case 1: Storing Email in SAP Records Management via Email Client

Previously, an employee wishing to add an email into a record stored in SAP Records Management would have to save it as an MSG file and then upload it to the record folder. This is an annoying and time-consuming process that represents extra steps for employees, and may therefore be neglected.

The other option to ensure that an email is accessible to all relevant and potentially relevant employees is to forward it to all employees. This is not really a preferred alternative.

Instead, the Records and Document Management ES bundle provides services that allow employees to add an email into a record stored in SAP Records Management directly from the email client (for example, MS Outlook) using the Create Public Sector Document enterprise service.

Basically, the electronic records can be retrieved, and the location where the email should be stored can be chosen. See screenshot of a possible implementation in the Outlook frontend.


Example of Outlook Integration (click to enlarge)

As an alternative implementation, an additional SAP Records Management pane based on Duet technology could be introduced. Through this pane, an employee could open a record folder of choice, see an overview of the record folderâ??s contents, the place within the record folder structure that could be populated with email documents, and then drag and drop the appropriate email and attachment from the inbox. Further, entire email folders could be moved into SAP Records Management using this method.

The complex interactions between the various applications and the enterprise services are hidden from the view of the user, which provides seamless functionality.

The benefits of this functionality enabled by the bundle include:

  • Helping SAP customers better leverage their investments in SAP and various office applications
  • Enabling increased compliance and improved decision making
  • Providing employees access to record folders within familiar business-related frontend applications.

For example, an employee in the purchasing department receives an email with information from a supplier such as an updated price list. The employee has already attached a record folder to individual purchase orders within SAP Records Management. In addition, the purchasing process overseen by this employee is already documented within SAP Records Management and all of the system data is part of the electronic record folder.

The employee will access the SAP-specific pane in Outlook and search for a record folder based on its particular attributes (such as supplier ID) or open a list of the record folders created by the employee. This invokes the Find Records Folder by Element enterprise service operation.

It is also possible that if the employee recently added a document to the record folder or made some change, he or she can look in the SAP Records Management History in the pane and select the record folder or even a document. This gives the employee the opportunity to add a note to a recently added or amended document and place the document back into the record folder in a synchronized way.

After the employee searches or opens a list of record folders, the pane presents a list of records. The employee selects one, which invokes Read Record Folder and the record folder is opened in the SAP-specific pane. The record folder opens and displays the structure of the record folder. The employee then selects the node within which to place the email. The employee drags and drops the email message to the appropriate node within the record folder, which invokes Create Public Sector Document, followed by Update Record Folder Business Folder Business Object Reference, which links the email to the correct record folder.

The following table summarizes these steps and the associated enterprise services:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: The user searches for a record or opens a list of their records.

Find Records Folder by Element

Step 2: The user selects and opens a record.

Read Record Folder

Step 3: The user selects a node to add the email to.

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 4: The user adds the email.

Create Public Sector Document

Step 5: The system links the email to the proper record folder.

Update Record Folder Business Folder Business Object Reference

Use Case 2: Building Permit Request

This use case again demonstrates the reusability of enterprise services contained within other ES bundles. In this case, the enterprise services within the Records and Document Management bundle interact with those contained in the Permit Application and Approval ES bundle to enable a building permit to be applied for, processed, and received via a municipal Web portal.

The Permit Application and Approval ES bundle enables the permit process while the Records and Document Management ES bundle enables documents created and uploaded during the process to be added to a record folder related to the request.

This use case also assumes that the users (applicant and municipal official) have Adobe Acrobat Reader 7.0.5 (or later) installed on their computer in order to create and store documents.

This use case also suggests the integrated use of a number of frontend SAP applications such as:

  • SAP Visual Composer
  • Web Dynpro
  • Adobe Interactive Forms
  • CAF Guided Procedure
  • SAP Records Management

When combined with the above, the Records and Document management ES bundle facilitates the creation of a number of composite applications.

To begin, the citizen applying for the building permit logs into the municipality's web site to request a building permit. This could initiate a guided procedure.

The applicant logs on and follows the registration process. She can then fill in the necessary information, which invokes a series of enterprise services related to the Permit Application and Approval ES bundle. This also invokes the Create Record Folder enterprise service from the Records and Document Management ES bundle. This creates a record folder linked directly to the permit request.

The applicant is also able to upload a number of files to support the request as she is filling in the various data fields. The Create Public Service Document enterprise service is invoked to add these documents to the record folder. The documents are then linked to the record folder via the Update Record Folder Business Folder Business Object Reference enterprise service.

To complete the process, the applicant can enter payment information and then review and digitally sign the PDF building permit request form.

After this is completed, the request is forward to a municipal official as part of his regular workflow. This person is able to access the application and related documents from SAP Records Management. If the workflow involves email, the next steps could be handled as described in use case 1.

If the application is incomplete, the municipal may send a request for more documentation, which again can be uploaded and added to the specific record folder associated with the permit request.

Eventually, the application is either approved or denied and notice is issued to the applicant. The record folder is then stored in SAP Records Management where it can be accessed again for further review.

The following table summarizes these steps and the associated enterprise services:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: The applicant logs on to the municipal Web portal.

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 2: The user begins the guided procedure to request a building permit.

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 3: The user fills in the data fields.

(This step uses services from the Permit Application and Approval ES bundle.)

Step 4: The application creates a record folder for the permit request.

Create Record Folder

Step 5: The user uploads supporting documents.

Create Public Sector Document

Step 6: The documents are linked to the proper record folder by the application.

Update Record Folder Business Folder Business Object Reference

Step 7: The building permit proceeds through the normal approval process

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Use Case 3: Create a Logistical Assessment Report

A logistical assessment report - as described in the Allied Data Publication (ADatP-3) - is used within military organizations to standardize the method of informing a superior headquarters of a unit commander's logistical status. These reports are also used to provide an assessment of the overall logistical situation with intended or recommended actions. SAP Records Management is used for storing logistical assessment reports and the enterprise services within the Records and Document Management ES bundle are used to create and display these logistical assessment reports within a logistical assessment composite application.

In this use case, a military officer in charge of a large unit must report to a centralized, superior unit the status of his troops and equipment and recommended or intended actions. These reports are performed on a relatively high level in that they refer to failed and/or lost equipment, sustainability of supply, logistical needs for a defined period of time, what has already been ordered (purchase orders already held in the SAP system), and recommended actions.

It is also possible to link the logistical assessment reports of subunits to the commander's higher level logistical assessment report.

This use case also demonstrates that the Records and Document Management ES bundle can be used with enterprise services from other bundles in order to provide functionality to SAP Records Management. For example, in the following scenario an enterprise service from the HCM Organizational Management ES bundle, which service enables SAP Human Capital Management, is used to help create the logistical assessment report.

It is important to note here that the services within the bundle operate in the background behind the steps of the guided procedure and user interface propagated by the frontend composite application. This means that as the user selects either the "Create Report" or "Display/Edit Recent Report" function to perform that task (communication with SAP Records Management) is facilitated by the enterprise services in this bundle.

In addition, the enterprise services in this bundle only interact with the composite application creating the logistical assessment report when the user is finding, reading, displaying, updating, creating, or saving. The details of the report as well as the content of the report are beyond SAP Records Management and are handled by other applications and services from other bundles, such as HCM Master Data and HCM Organizational Management.

To begin, a commander opens a guided procedure to begin the process. At this point, the composite application allows him to create a new report or select an existing report from which to work on.


Sample Logistic Assessment Report guided procedure (click to enlarge)


Editing an Existing Report

Should the commander decide to edit an existing report, the composite application will need to find the report first. The composite looks up the reports for this commander by invoking the Read Employee Basic Data enterprise service operation followed by Find Records Folder by Element.

This enterprise service displays a list of reports and the user selects one, which invokes Read Record Folder followed by Read Public Sector Document, which displays the report.

Once the commander saves the changes to the report, the composite application invokes Update Record Folder followed by Update Public Sector Document.

The following table summarizes the steps and the associated enterprise services to edit an existing logistical assessment report:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: The user selects the option to work on an existing report and the guided procedure looks up the reports for this user.

Read Employee Basic Data
Find Records Folder by Element

Step 2: The user selects a report from the search results list.

Read Record Folder
Read Public Sector Document

Step 3: The user edits the report and saves the changes.

Update Record Folder
Update Public Sector Document

Creating a New Report

Should the commander choose to create a new report at the end of the guided procedure, the composite application would invoke the enterprise service Create Record Folder followed by Create Public Sector Document. The document is linked to the record folder by invoking Update Record Folder Business Folder Business Object Reference.

Note that numerous services from HCM Master Data and the HCM Organizational Management ES bundles are used by the composite to provide lookups of data for the report during this process.

The following table summarizes the steps and associated enterprise services to create a new logistical assessment report:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: The user selects the Create Report option in the guided procedure.

Create Record Folder

Step 2: The user creates and saves the new document

Create Public Sector Document

Step 3: The document is then linked to the correct record folder in the system.

Update Record Folder Business Folder Business Object Reference

Future Directions

This bundle represents the first phase in a two phase project. The next phase will provide services to help organize record folders based on a task structure, create a record in a file plan (i.e., classifications), and to add cases to SAP Records Management.

System Requirements

Related ES Bundles

SOA Homepage on SDN