SAP is one of the biggest providers of ERP software in the world today. Along with other big players such as Oracle and Microsoft, they have dominated the enterprise resource planning software market for many years.
With SAP strongly embedded into many enterprises today system integrators are often hearing requests for SAP integration with other third-party solutions.
One example is telematics, software used to improve the safety, efficiency and productivity of mobile workforces. Fleet management software is fast becoming a requirement for large enterprises, particular with an increasing need for cost control, DOT compliance and improving responsiveness to customer service demands.
While a new tool such as telematics is great for improving the efficiency of your fleet, it can be a challenge for back office administration to enjoy those efficiency gains when attempting to harmonize telematics with SAP.
Pain points can include
- Double data entry – increased labor costs
- Lack of real-time reporting – slows down the decision-making process
- Data synchronization issues – increased IT costs and data handling
- Missed opportunities – reduced visibility on company operations
- Reporting inaccuracies – can lead to poor decision making
- Increased TCO – total cost of ownership is greater due to double handling of data
The key to enjoying the benefits of both SAP and a fully-functional telematics system, without all the drawbacks, is in choosing a telematics system that is SAP certified.
SAP & Telematics integration – How?
Some time ago SAP understood that the ever-increasing software landscape for enterprises would mean the need to offer third-party integration. That lead to the development of SAP NetWeaver Process Integration (SAP PI) to work as integration broker software (also known as middleware), offering outside software developers to build extensions that allowed their software to communicate directly with SAP via a common platform.
That common platform allowed the use of existing web standards shared by many different web software vendors, such as XML, REST or SOAP. These technologies create a common “currency” that can be used to exchange disparate data types between software solutions, a type of lingua franca between different providers.
To make sure that independent software vendors delivered data to SAP in an approved format SAP Certification was introduced. Only software solutions that met the stringent data requirements would be awarded the qualification – a heavy responsibility since allowing incorrectly formatted data to be automatically imported into a large organization’s SAP database could have disastrous consequences.
In fact, the requirements were so high only one telematics provider met the qualification to become an officially certificated SAP integration partner – Telogis. Back in October 2012, Telogis were issued official SAP Integration status, currently enabled for SAP NetWeaver Application Server 7.0.
To illustrate how SAP integration can benefit your enterprise, here are two common examples.
Example 1: How accurate is your Planned Maintenance budget?
If getting your budget right is important or, like public utility companies, you’re on a fixed budget, then accurately forecasting a vehicle’s lifecycle and maintenance costs is critical. With the Telogis PM (Planned Maintenance) module you can automatically synchronize up-to-date vehicle odometer and engine hours with SAP for an accurate picture of the vehicle’s lifecycle and maintenance.
Using this feature, large fleets have improved fleet retirement and refresh cycles, and made annual budgetary estimates close to 100% accurate when it comes to how many vehicles that need to be refreshed or retired.
Another advantage of using telematics to collect this data and update SAP is that it avoids the inaccuracies and excessive time involved with relying on drivers to manually do the necessary paperwork. The ability to automate this process has saved mobile businesses thousand of dollars and significantly improved the accuracy of maintenance data.
Example 2: How easy is it to keep asset lists updated?
Updating asset details is a common scenario for large enterprises and an ideal candidate for automation, particularly when a company is managing thousands of individual assets in multiple locations.
Using SAP-certified Telogis Fleet, master asset lists can be updated automatically. For instance, a new truck has just been added to the fleet. As part of the provisioning process, the truck’s GPS-tracking unit is activated and the vehicle is added to Telogis Fleet, along with the relevant details such as VIN and asset code. As soon as the changes are saved in Telogis Fleet it is passed on to the SAP connector and sent to SAP via the NetWeaver application, which converts the data into the correct format and updates the master asset list.
Asset names, descriptions, locations or service history – it can all be updated in either Telogis Fleet or SAP and the changes are reflected in both databases – no double entry required.
Telematics & SAP integration – What’s the next step?
If you use SAP and your business is either currently using a telematics solution, or actively searching for fleet management, work order management, dispatch or commercial navigation software, contact the Telogis team to see how your enterprise can make huge gains by bringing together your SAP and fleet data.