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On August 28, 2017, SAP announced that the Early Adopter Care Program for SAP Business One 9.3 (both on SAP HANA and MS SQL) has started.

 

 

Submit your nominations for the Early Adopter Care program via your partner or via this link

 


SAP's recommendation is that you should participate in the Early Adopter Care program if you plan to implement SAP Business One 9.3 or SAP Business One 9.3, version for SAP HANA in a productive environment.

 

As has been the case with previous Early Adopter releases you will benefit from accelerated problem resolution and special attention from SAP.

 

 

 


What can you expect with release 9.3?

  • With core expansion, SAP Business One will support new business processes and round out key areas such as:
       - simple production routing,
       - return merchandise authorization management (RMA),
       - project management updates,
       - simplifying and streamlining CRM processes,
       - authorization management,
       - price list enhancements.
  • Leveraging the SAP HANA platform and building on the semantic layer, SAP plan to offer new cockpit templates. With a new analytics portal, end users will be able to schedule and consume reports without the need to log into SAP Business One.
  • With add-on solutions playing a key role in shaping the SAP Business One solution, SAP have also announced plans to make it easier for partners (and customers) to develop add-ons with the support of XML methods for user defined tables and the latest visual studio 2015 suite.
  • Deployment and management of SAP Business One will be simplified with a centralized approach. SSO will be utilized for apps for SAP Business One, version for SAP HANA making partner and self developed add-ons easier to manage and consume.
  • SAP have also re-committed to continuing to focus on building for optimal performance, making SAP Business One 9.3 more stable and easier to support.

You can learn more in the ASUG upcoming webinars focusing on the SAP Business One Product Roadmap and the 9.3 In Focus sessions due shortly as well as reviewing the 15 minute fundamentals sessions built using SAP Business One 9.3
Note: All enhancements mentioned are subject to change Software Download & Technical Prerequisites
For SAP Business One 9.3, version for SAP HANA, ensure that the following components are installed on the Linux server:
  • Operating System: SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES): 11 SP3, 11 SP4, 12 SP1
  • SAP HANA Platform Edition: 1.0 SPS 12 Revision 122.05

For SAP Business One 9.3, install one of the following Microsoft SQL Server versions:
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2014
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2016

 

Please refer to the Administrator’s guide for SAP Business One 9.3  and the Administrator’s guide for SAP Business One 9.3, version for SAP HANA in this recent blog post -
Get a Jump Start on deploying SAP Business One 9.3 with the Administrators Guide .

Note
: SAP Business One 9.3 is delivered together with remote support platform 3.2, which must be installed if you wish to avail from support services such as GoToAssist.
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Integration tools are a critical component of most ERP solutions - in fact, as the functionality to automate the business processes inside your organisation become commonplace in most solutions there are really only a few remaining areas where products can differentiate themselves.

Some integration tools are designed to be used by your existing end users and in SAP Business One these are tools like the Query Designer, Formatted search and the Data Transfer Workbench or DTW.

Other tools require a greater level of technical skill and capability such as the DI-API (Data Interface Application Programming Interface) which enables you to write your own software with tools like Microsoft Visual Studio and languages such as Java but these are definitely tools for the experienced programmer.

Other tools exist such as the SAP Business One Integration Framework which is designed to enable consultants and experience technical users to build workflow based integrations between SAP Business One and a number of other solutions - these are commonly referred to in integration scenarios as "endpoints".

 

But how do you learn these tools without spending large sums of money to gain the pre-requisite knowledge to make them work their magic?

 

Well, for some time SAP have been publishing courses on their HANA technology on their Open Learning site at open.sap.com - now the very first SAP Business One related course has been published and its focused on the SAP Business One Integration Framework and its a free course available to anyone that wants to sign up.

 

You can find it at https://open.sap.com/courses/ifb1 and its a great place to learn about the technology and how to apply it.

 

Of course you'll need some pre-requisite skills and for this course they are :

  • General understanding of IT
  • Basic knowledge of SQL
  • Knowledge of XML/XSLT
  • And of course, SAP Business One knowledge is useful

 

The course runs over a 5 week period and requires you to attend 4 hours of course content each week so its not overwhelmingly time consuming and you'll need access to an SAP Business One deployment with the B1if components installed.

 

Take a look at the course, learn the Integration Framework and then go out and apply your new skills to build an even better SAP Business deployment for your organisation - its free and the functionality is robust and that makes it a great tool to use.

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At the upcoming BizONE Conference in Anaheim, I will be presenting a workshop entitled Taking your SAP Business One deployment to the Cloud - Why the discussion should not be if but when and how

 

We'll be covering a number of SAP Business One specific topics relating to utilising the cloud as part of your deployment as well as looking at various technology options but this session isn't a sales pitch.

 

 

It will be your opportunity to understand the different factors that will impact on your business and whether or not cloud computing will be a part of your IT mix.

 

 

As a hands on session, you should also come along prepared to do some work - I'll be leading you through a couple of exercises (mental not physical) that will help you build your business strategy and determined when you should move to the cloud, what components you'll put in the cloud and what cloud models are best for you.

 

 

To get you started - here's a nice little explainer video from the team at Common Craft on cloud computing that will help you get the basics straight in preparation to dive deeper at the Conference as well as a preview of what we'll cover at the Conference

 

 

 

A Cloud Computing Primer from Creative CommonsTaking your SAP Business One deployment to the Cloud - BizONE Conference Session Preview

The onboarding process in many organisations is a well structured process where you are led through all the things you need to know in order get productive in your new role as quickly as possible.

 

However when it comes to learning the business applications that are in place, often times it can be a challenge to get to know the basics and find someone with the time to take you through the fundamentals of using those systems.

 

As a member of ASUG, you are in luck though if you are using SAP Business One as we will be delivering a complete set of sessions delivered in 15 minute blocks covering the fundamentals of SAP Business One from system navigation to journal entries - from sales order processing to reporting with the Print Layout Designer and Crystal Reports Basics.

 

These sessions will be called (funnily enough) 15 Minute Fundamentals and we'll be delivering these over an extended period of time starting this Friday and every Friday until we have delivered a complete set.

 

Of course, remember that you can also ask any questions about using SAP Business One in the Q and A Forum and I'll endeavour to answer them as quickly as possible.

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You can learn more by watching this introductory video

*but were too afraid to ask

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Whilst it's not the most exciting topic to discuss, it's still an important one and warrants regular updating to make sure that you are keeping on top of your obligations and staying compliant with your software licensing requirements.

 

 

Many organisations that find themselves in violation of the licensing agreements don't do it deliberately, in most cases its a sin of omission, not commission. The responsible people inside the company aren't always up to date with what licenses they have, who is using them and what the rules are.

 

Thats one of the reasons why I like the new Licensing Guide that SAP have published for SAP Business One - it explains not only the basis of licensing (the named user concept) but also the process for auditing usage, acceptable use and the the license management process.

 

 

A common complaint in the past was that SAP Business One documentation wasnt always easy to understand nor was it complete...from what I have seen already SAP Business One 9.3 is definitely fixing that challenge.

 

 

Here's the 9.3 Licensing Guides for HANA and SQL - they do refer to earlier versions and when some changes were implemented to the licensing model but as always, if you have any doubts about the status of your licensing, check with your partner and if you have any questions, feel free to ask here on the SAP Business One Community area on the ASUG site...I'll be happy to help!

 

 

 

License Guide for SAP Business One 9.3, version for SAP HANA

License Guide for SAP Business One 9.3 (SQL)

HANA – High-Performance Analytic Appliance is the official four letter acronym translation but these days it can be a little bit of a misnomer as SAP are positioning HANA as a more of a platform than just a database server, particularly when it comes to SAP Business One.

 

Delivering transaction processing and analytics already in the core SAP Business One version for SAP HANA product, there’s a lot more to the HANA story than meets the eye these days.

 

SAP technical evangelists (also called Solution Architects) spend a lot of their time showing partners how to start building new applications on top of the SAP HANA architecture using a component called the Service Layer, which is a way of describing the data and transactions and providing a number of industry standard ways to integrate with SAP Business One as I mentioned in part one of this article.

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There are a few examples of partners doing this today such as Achieve IT Solutions with their Resolv Logistics Suite of applications for SAP Business One and more will be coming to market as time progresses but for now the majority of solutions still utilise the DI-API (Data Interface Application Programming Interface) and they work just fine with SQL or HANA – even new solutions like Enterpryze that delivers mobility and a simplified web client for SAP Business One

 

But for many folks the primary driver to deploy on HANA will come down to the availability of the Analytics components of SAP Business One built to take advantage of HANA.

 

Tools like Pervasive Analytics, in many respects, negates the need to go out to look for additional tools for building KPI dashboards and visualising their data – particularly for those users that have been provisioned with an SAP Business One license as they can consume these directly from inside the SAP Business One client. Plus there are a number of features that need the HANA speed and data crunching capabilities to really work like the Cash Flow Forecast and the Customer 360 view (video below) as well as the Enterprise Search facility.

 

However, for those who require read only data access to SAP Business One, you’ll still require a full/limited SAP Business One user license as the Indirect Add-On Access user only allows for external app use and doesn’t permit use of the SAP Business One client – a major drawback for those users that want to consume the analytical views provided with SAP Business One or built using the Pervasive Analytics tools.

 

I spent a lot of time reading and studying SAP licensing documents and agreements and when using the heavily discounted HANA runtime that is bundled with SAP Business One you definitely need the additional licenses to stay compliant with the SAP agreements you are subject to.

 

In addition, you'll need to invest some significant money into a HANA Server as well as the associated support and Linux O/S support you'll need to buy - the Linux operating system is free but you'll need to purchase support but those costs are coming down each quarter and soon SAP will be offering SAP Business One in the Cloud running on HANA on SAP hosted and managed infrastructure which will allow you to take the solution on a pay as you go model (subscription pricing).

 

But there are other advantages of SAP HANA that many people are just beginning to wrap their heads around as the SAP channel and ecosystem becomes more familiar with the Service Layer and what can be done.

 

Take a look at this example of integrating Amazon Alexa and SAP Business One using the HANA Service Layer that was being shown recently at the SAP SMB Innovation Summits…it’s a little impractical as demonstrated but it is a great introduction to what can be imagined with the new tools.

So in summary, for my money, if you need to process large amounts of data or transactions, you don’t want to venture outside the standard SAP delivered Analytics or you have a compelling business need for one of the new applications built on the HANA Service Layer then HANA makes sense but if dollars are tight and data access for everyone is critical from external applications then SQL Server may be a great fit and will deliver all you need to have a great SAP Business One deployment.

 

In case you missed it, here's Part1:SAP Business One - HANA vs Microsoft SQL: Understanding the differences and making the right choice

A little bit of SAP Business One History (for context)

When SAP Business One was first built in Israel in the mid 90’s as a product for the Mac OS called OCEK (Practitioner in English) it was designed to run on a database called Codebase 5.0.

 

(By the way, this is the reason that most of the Database files in SAP Business One start with O (OINV, OCRD, etc.) – you can learn more about the History of SAP Business One in this excellent series of posts from Ilan Tal)

 

In the late 90’s the product was moved to Windows and SQL Server was adopted as the database platform for Windows but was still available on the Mac on Codebase.

 

Market forces spoke and the product moved to Windows only and SQL Server and that was the platform that SAP acquired the product on and this continued to be the only database platform for many years until the release of SAP HANA back in 2011.

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SAP Business One first adopted HANA as the database for running a new generation of analytics with – the product was called SAP Business One Analytics for SAP HANA or B1A and it was based on the replication of data from SQL Server to HANA and a set of dashboards built on the HANA data structures because it was possible to do more and built optimised data structures with large data sets because of the way that HANA stored the data and the fact that all the data was compressed and stored in volatile RAM which made accessing and manipulating the data lightning fast.

 

And then as HANA improved over time the transaction processing was also moved across to the in-memory platform.

This allowed for 2 scenarios, a single database for both transactions and analytics and the ability to handle even larger volumes of transactions with the core SAP Business One applications.

 

Fast forward to 2016 and SAP released what is known as the HANA Service layer for SAP Business One – this is a new way to integrate with SAP Business One using a new set of standards like OData which allows web services to communicate easily with SAP Business One transactions and allows developers to build new integrations with these newer standards.

 

So, that’s the history of SAP Business One as it relates to the database technologies but you are probably asking yourself, why would I want Hana or SQL server, should I move to HANA if I am already using Sap Business One and if I am a new user about to purchase SAP Business One, should I run on HANA or SQL?

 

So, putting aside any agendas or vendor preferences I want to share a few thoughts for you.

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First of all its very clear that SAP would much rather have you running on SAP HANA rather than Microsoft SQL Server, even if just for economic reasons as you need to buy HANA from SAP whereas obviously Microsoft SQL Server generates revenue for Microsoft.

But if you are a smaller business there are good reasons to choose SQL Server over HANA and by the same token there are good reasons to choose HANA over SQL Server if your business has grown larger or has plans for rapid growth.

The main thing to bear in mind with HANA and SAP Business One is speed, if you are a smaller user running a small to medium size volume of transactions and not overly concerned about accessing the SAP Analytics that comes with SAP Business One for HANA, then it makes sense to go with SQL Server. It actually runs faster than HANA with smaller transaction loads and is much more cost effective.

 

 

You can acquire additional Business intelligence tools that work with SQL Server exceptionally well such as Power BI, SAP Lumira, the SAP Business Objects products or tools like QlikView that many SAP Business One partners have in their selection of products.

 

On the cockpit front, the SQL product comes with a set of SAP supplied cockpits and widgets which you cane extend and BoyumIT offer a great selection of dashboards and a dashboard builder as part of their product called B1UP Dashboards – also sold by almost every SAP Business One partner in business today.

The other big advantage of using SQL Server is the simplified licensing model that allows you to access the data with any one of these read only tools without having to purchase additional SAP Business One Add-On user licenses which the HANA solution requires – even to access the data in read only mode.

 

The tools and support resources for SAP Business One on SQL Server are also very broad and deep so should you encounter any technical challenges you can go to a number of sources for help – HANA is still relatively new and the skills are still expensive and a little hard to come by.

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In the next post, I will look in detail at why SAP HANA makes sense for many businesses that are running SAP Business One today and into the future.

 

Don’t forget that if you have any questions, you can drop me a note here, start a discussion or post a comment on this post and I’ll endeavour to get back to you post haste!!

 

Part 2: SAP Business One - HANA vs Microsoft SQL: Understanding the differences and making the right choice

One of the most important documents that you'll need when managing your SAP Business One deployment is the Administrator's Guide.

 

 

It covers a lot of the key things you need to know when deploying the solution as well as system requirements and explanations of "under the hood" components of the solution.

 

 

The 9.3 Administrators Guide is no different and its packed full of good information - but remember, as 9.3 is in Early Adopter Program right now all the details are still subject to potential change

 

SQL Server:Administrator's Guide for SAP Business One 9.3 on MS SQL.pdf

HANA:Administrator's Guide for SAP Business One 9.3, version for SAP HANA.pdf

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Note: Originally posted on LinkedIn and www.biz.one - reproduced here for members ease of access

As the October date gets closer, more and more SAP Business One users are now thinking about attending the upcoming Biz.ONE Conference in Anaheim, California.

If you are like me, when you look at investing in conferences or events you always do an analysis of the Return on Investment you’ll get as a result of attending. And if you have gone to any of the previous user conferences, you’ll know that they are a great opportunity to meet with and learn from other SAP Business One users inside and outside of your industry.

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So, the agenda is a critical guide to determine what you’ll get from the conference, and the Biz.ONE agenda has just been released (review it for yourself here). It’s jam-packed with presentations designed to focus on the key issues from Eventful Conference’s Hot Topics research report, which highlights what your peers wanted to hear and learn (download the Research Report here).

I will be presenting 2 sessions which I’ll give you a preview of in early August. You’ll also have the opportunity to listen to other SAP Business One experts sharing their best practices. In addition, you’ll hear directly from SAP about their plans for the solution, what’s coming in the immediate future, and how you can take advantage of the current investments you have already made.

Of course, you’ll also get to see and meet the partners that build complementary solutions to enhance and extend SAP Business One.

As you look at the agenda, please pay special attention to the new sessions that have been announced this year. Specifically, the extended workshops focused on helping you learn new skills and strategies to help you grow your business, boost your profitability, and increase the effectiveness of your teams.

The key areas that stood out for me are the workshops. My recommendations are the Cloud workshop I’ll be delivering on day 1 (of course), the workshops from Projectline Solutions on Dashboards on day 2, and Queries with conference favorite, Carl Lewis from Vision33 on day 3. Also noteworthy, is the roadmap session with Finn Backer from SAP, and the opening session with SAP Senior Executives Luis Murguia and Barry Padgett.

The great thing about this conference is that it is by users, for users. You’ll see as you browse through the agenda that there is a focus on helping you get more from your current investments and less on encouraging you to make additional investments. But there will still be plenty of cool and interesting solutions to consider from three of my favorite sponsors—because of how they have leveraged the SAP technology—BatchMaster Software, Achieve IT Solutions and BoyumIT.

Before you go, start preparing the list of areas that YOU want to focus on so you can make the most of the event. While you’re there, make sure that you allocate time to visit the sponsors at the Solution Fair. Finally, I would encourage you to catch up with me and the rest of the team from the American SAP Users Group (ASUG). We will be making some major announcements about ASUG and how the SAP Business One group will be building, boosting and broadening the value that you’ll get from your ASUG membership.

I look forward to seeing you at the event!

Richard Duffy

SAP Business One Subject Matter Expert and Community Evangelist

ASUG