by Ziv Holzman
SAP Mobile: A Brief History and How Things are Changing
Efficient warehouse execution is a key element in any business supply chain solution. We rely on mobile workers armed with devices to effectively carry inbound, outbound and internal stock operations. SAP has been delivering integrated mobile solutions for over 15 years.
SAP customers have had 3 integrated mobile (RF) solutions to choose from over the course of this time.
The first option was released back in 2001 as part of the SAP ERP platform (4.6C), mainly for use in the logistics execution environment which led SAP's journey into mobility. The ‘SAP Radio Frequency solution for Warehouse Management’ was very well received at that time and is still being used and deployed today.
SAP warehouse management capability was advanced with the release of Task and Resource Management (TRM), released as part of ERP4.7 in 2003. TRM enabled finer execution granularity allowing warehouse movement execution by multiple consecutive resources considering resource qualifications and routing, and provided a much more configurable and flexible mobile application platform.
The third and latest RF integrated option is the RF framework within the latest and most capable of SAP's warehouse management solutions, Extended Warehouse Management (EWM).
The various SAP integrated mobile/RF solutions share similar underlying front-end technology in the form of the well-established SAP Dynpro.
The technical challenge of emulating the graphical SAP Dynpro to the character-based RF devices was met when SAP released the SAPConsole.
SAPConsole was introduced alongside the first SAP mobile/RF solution in 2001.
The main purpose of SAPConsole is to provide a backbone for interfacing with mobile devices. Telnet middleware is required to establish a command interpreter connection between the handheld device and the telnet server. As of release 7.10, SAPConsole is a standalone component and no longer delivered with SAP GUI. SAPConsole is still the advised option when connecting to legacy character-based RF devices.
As graphical hand-held devices became more common, the SAPConsole was enhanced in the form of Web-SAPconsole in order to support browser based graphical display. This approach required web servers to handle the devices' connectivity. The Web-SAPConsole is no longer supported and has been replaced by SAP ITS (Internet Transaction Server).
ITS mobile technology
Today, SAP recommends using the ITS mobile user interface technology.
ITS is SAP’s standard technology to bring applications based on SAP Dynpros to the web. ITS is an integrated functionality of SAP NetWeaver Application Server and does not require a separate installation. Realisation requires HTML template generation for the respective SAP Dynpros. SAP ITS has long been proven to be a robust architecture with fast performance, it remains part of the SAP roadmap, with in excess of 100 mobile transactions embedded with SAP Extended Warehouse Management alone.
Significantly Improve SAP EWM UX
Driven by customer requirements for improved usability and User Experience (UX), Rocket introduced the ‘Enhanced ITS Mobile’ solution called Rocket Mobile. Rocket Mobile is fully compatible with EWM and the EWM RF Framework, meaning you keep access to all EWM transactions, plus gaining a host of added features and benefits. It is seamlessly integrated with the ITS HTML generation infrastructure and allows you to quickly create a brand aligned, beautiful and responsive mobile and web user interface, giving your SAP EWM users a significantly improved UX.
Rocket Mobile is fully integrated within SAP, keeps your IT landscape simple and retains all the technical benefits of SAP ITS with no additional software components required.
Are you seeking to understand the significant advantages over other SAP mobile solutions such as Fiori or third-party (non-SAP) bolt-ons such as Moviliser?
Download The Rocket Guide to Mobilising your Supply Chain workforce with SAP.
Across the supply chain the reliance on mobile devices is clear. From scanning and picking in the warehouse to customer sign-off of a delivery during the ‘final mile’, there is no doubt that these hand-held tools continue to transform the way we operate.