SAP Document Center for SAP HANA Cloud Platform - An Overview
Content for my cloud application - do I need to do everything by myself?
SAP HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) is SAP's technology for developers to create great new applications, either by extending existing ones or from scratch. But what about content? By content, I mean all kinds of files and unstructured content, like Microsoft Word or PowerPoint files, PDFs, videos, pictures, eLearning files, etc.
As an application programmer, you might ask yourself some questions:
Can I integrate existing or new content into your application? Can I use open programming interfaces? Can I even leverage ready-to-use content management features?
Here is the good news: The answer to all those questions is - YES, you can!
SAP provides different options for you as a developer:
- A Ready-to-use file share & sync solution with native clients
- Various integration options
- A Development platform for innovation
In the following sections, I will explain the different options in more detail.
Ready-to use Content Services
SAP Document Center (formerly known as SAP Mobile Documents) running on HCP is based on the HCP Document Service. This means that SAP Document Center stores its files in the HCP Document Service. It is important to understand that SAP Document Center already comes with many features around content management out-of-the-box.
I just want to mention a small selection of all of the ready-to-use capabilities:
- Clients for different devices:
- Desktop (PC and Mac)
- Mobile (iOS and Android, Windows phone is currently being developed), including offline support
- Any device (Browser - responsive)
- Offline support for native clients
- Secure file sharing (with different security options)
- PDF annotations
- iBeacon support
Check out the video to get a quick overview.
You can find more information on the SCN page for SAP Document Center.
As soon as you have your HCP account running, you can make use of the various functionalities. Just start using the web UI and download the optional native clients. I will explain how to get started at the end of this blog.
In addition to the capabilities mentioned above, the solution is made to integrate and connect with other repositories, clients and applications. It can be used as a central integration point for all content-related topics.
These applications already make use of or plan to use the content integration features of SAP Document Center:
- SAP Fiori Launchpad
- SAP Enterprise Portal
- SAP Jam
- SAP Work Manager
- SAP Workforce Performance Builder
- SAP Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)
- SAP Portfolio and Project Management (PPM)
- Various Business Suite & Industry Solutions
SAP Document Center is entirely built for integration using an open OASIS standard, called Content Management Interoperability Standard (CMIS). It can integrate with all content repositories that support this standards. Using the SAP HANA Cloud Connector, the solution can be connected to the following on-premise repositories:
- SAP S/4 HANA
- SAP Business Suite
- Microsoft SharePoint, OpenText, Alfresco, IBM
- SAP Knowledge Management (SAP KM)
- Windows File Share (through SAP KM)
- Any CMIS compliant repository
There are many options for you to extend the solution and come up with a configuration that best meets your needs. You could simply use the HCP Documents Service as a repository for your content assets. But you can also use the full-blown functionality of SAP Document Center and extend it to exactly meet the needs of your specific use case.
SAP delivers an SDK so you can conveniently develop your custom solution.
Build Custom Apps Based on the HCP Document Service
The HCP Document Service can be used as the content persistence in HCP. On top of this you can write any kind of HCP custom application that consumes content. The HCP Document Service is based on the CMIS standard.
Example capabilities of the Document Service are:
- Support of any type of document and file
- Folder hierarchies
- Property models
- Access Control
A good starting point for trying it out is the free OpenSAP course (Week 3, Unit 3) by Rui Nogueira.
Check out the HCP Document Service documentation for further details.
Leverage the Full Content Management Feature Set of SAP Document Center for Your Application
As mentioned, you can also build your application based on the SAP Document Center solution. With this you can leverage all the ready-to-use and integration features that I mentioned previously for your custom application. There are different how-to develop guides available for the different integration and adaption points on the SCN page of SAP Document Center.
What Use Cases are There?
What possibilities are there regarding extensions of existing applications? There are various examples implemented by customers and partners of which I will name one of each.
A Customer with Good Taste!
There is a customer in the food space that has created an innovative application. With this application they check the arrangement of their products in supermarkets. Sales people take photos of the product shelves with a specific custom iPad app. The app automatically tags the pictures with the meta data of the store, which is detected based on the GPS location information.
The pictures can be taken regardless of the network connectivity and will be synced with the backend application as soon as network is available.
With a custom Web app, the back-office personnel takes a look at the photos and processes them further to improve their marketing material.
The baseline of this customer’s project: They implemented their own clients on top of SAP Document Center to leverage the persistence and logic layer of SAP Document Center for their very specific use case.
A Partner with a Penchant for People
An SAP Partner provides a special solution in the HR space to make personnel records available in SAP HCM. They use SAP Document Center to mobilize the documents out of the personnel records. So they just use the native clients provided by the SAP Document Center solution and implemented the glue code to connect their specific ABAP application to SAP Document Center.
Does SAP use the Stuff Itself?
SAP itself is probably using the biggest cloud-instance of SAP Document Center right now with more than 70.000 users and over 200.000 documents read per day.
The initial use case for SAP to use it was for security reasons to provide the employees a means to share files securely, including the support organization. Other teams have more distinct use cases, such as the sales organization that uses the solution to centrally provide access to the sales assets for the sales representatives. The board of SAP uses it using the so-called executive mode - just to mention a view use cases.
Check it out today! It's available in your HCP Trial!
As you might already know, there is a free Developer Edition of HCP available - ready for you to try!
It includes 10 Users and 10GB of unstructured storage. If you have not done so already, go to https://hcp.sap.com and get your Developer Account for free today.
Follow the steps in the blog How to Enable SAP Document Center (SAP Mobile Documents) for Your HCP Trial Account.
Summary of helpful links
Overview about Content Services at HCP: https://hcp.sap.com --> Capabilities