The manufacturer writes extensive, highly individualized and sometimes very complex quotations. Until now, these were created outside of SAP in MS Word. This was very time-consuming, error-prone, and obviously not integrated in their SAP systems. From now on, the offers will be created using the SAP module SD. SAP partner Teamwork developed a quotation tool that could cover the extensive requirements.
DocBuilder is now used to generate the quotation documents. The standard solution is used by several SAP customers and accesses both SAP and third-party data sources. In the case of Gilgen DS, DocBuilder creates MS Word quotation documents in either DOCX, PDF, or PDF/A file format directly from SAP with the addition of various data sources. MS Word templates which are structured similarly to a serial letter serve as the foundation. However, the fields from SAP or third-party solutions are connected to data sources and are more powerful.
Thanks to this MS Word standard technology, it is possible for the business departments to create and modify forms without any developer knowledge and participation. The dispatch of offers works in a similar way. The customer data from SAP is transferred to MS Outlook, predefined texts are added, and the offer is attached as a PDF file. The entire quotation process at Gilgen DS is now user-friendly, automated, and efficient.
First, the prerequisites for complex quotation creation in SAP had to be established. At Gilgen DS, a quotation consists of many individual components, variants, and items, and it must be possible to create them in three languages and in different versions. The main challenges for Teamwork consisted of the user-friendly creation of complex quotations in SAP, the customer requirements for the design of the quotation documents, and the automated dispatch process via e-mail. DocBuilder is fully integrated in the SAP environment as well as in MS Word and uses the best of both worlds.
The quotation process works as follows:
- The quotation data including the positions are entered in the SAP quotation tool by the Gilgen DS customer service center. For this purpose, the quote tool developed by Teamwork based on SAP SD is used.
- The documents are generated automatically from SAP with the addition of third-party data sources (e.g. images, technical documents) via TW Solutions DocBuilder using the MS Word templates.
- The MS Word document can be customized by the customer service center employees. Once checked and approved, a PDF document is automatically generated.
- The PDF document is transferred by TW Solutions DocBuilder to MS Outlook ready for dispatch, including e-mail address, subject, and mail text, and can be sent directly.
Thanks to the SAP integration, the price calculation from SAP SD can be used. Also very important are the creation and management of different versions and variants of an offer, the processing assignment and tracking functions, and the integration into the existing document management solution. Today, the quote process is very lean and standardized. With DocBuilder, Gilgen DS was able to significantly increase both efficiency in the offer process and quality.
Flexible solution for forms
DocBuilder offers flexible form generation for all SAP and many non-SAP systems. This also includes cloud systems such as SuccessFactors, Ariba, Workday, Salesforce, and others. Data from a wide range of systems can be displayed in one form. DocBuilder takes advantage of the familiar functionality of Microsoft Word’s mail merge fields. The solution is intelligent and can convert important objects such as images, if/then queries, tables, barcodes, signatures, text modules, different languages and manners in the standard. The output is available in Word, Adobe PDF, or e-mail templates with direct integration into MS Exchange and/or an archive if desired.
The overall solution consists of three main components:
- DocBuilder itself – the heart of the solution – is installed as an add-on for SAP Abap on the SAP NetWeaver system. The add-on is delivered in Teamwork’s own namespace, which means that no conflicts with existing code arise. Using the add-on, the data is retrieved from the SAP or other source systems, prepared, and assigned to document tags. DocBuilder passes the prepared data and the template as an XML file via http(s) protocol to DocRenderer and receives and saves the finished document.
- The second component is DocRenderer, a Java EE servlet. From the data prepared in DocBuilder including the recipe and the template, the actual document is generated and delivered again as XML file via http(s) back to DocBuilder. DocBuilder saves the document in a document archive and/or outputs it as a Word or PDF document.
- The third part is DocModeler. It is also delivered as an add-on for SAP Abap. This enables the business department to maintain the Microsoft Word-based templates via a web browser, to define text modules, and to enrich them with additional data. DocModeler also includes a Microsoft Word add-on. This add-on displays the tags maintained in SAP in Word and makes it possible to insert them in a simplified manner as a mail merge field. As a user interface, DocBuilder uses SAP GUI to provide the variables, Word to create the templates, and any web browser to administer the templates.
Teamwork is currently working on a fourth component that automates the integration of digital signatures via Skribble. This will allow documents to be directly integrated into legally valid digital signature runs and thus also automate signature processes.
Prerequisites for the installation are an SAP system with minimum Release ECC EhP 4 with a NetWeaver stack from Release 7.2 and a Java component (J2EE compatible server from Java 1.6). Since 2017, DocBuilder has also been used in S/4 Hana environments. The templates are created in Microsoft Word from version 2003. No Word installation is required to generate the documents. Licensing is based on the size of the company, the number of SAP productive systems, and the area of application, regardless of the number of users. The solution is not affected by SAP Indirect Access. The installation and basic configuration are usually done together with the customer within a few days. For the areas of SAP HCM and SAP RE-FX, a comprehensive strategy with a high-standard specification is delivered; for other SAP modules and solutions, the strategy is customer specific. Depending on the application area and specification, further adjustments may be necessary.
Coming soon: Full cloud solution
Currently, an SAP NetWeaver stack is a prerequisite for installation. However, Teamwork will also launch a cloud version in the coming months. The cloud solution benefits both SAP cloud customers (Business by Design, S/4 Hana Cloud, SuccessFactors, etc.) as well as pure non-SAP customers (Workday, Microsoft, Oracle, etc.).
The range of applications is almost limitless. The goal is always to enable simple yet flexible form design without needlessly involving developers.