As an SAP user, you've certainly come upon the following situation: one of your customers sends you important information such as a purchase order by email. It would, of course, be extremely convenient to be able to copy this information directly from Outlook to the corresponding order in the SAP archive. The standard SAP solution would be for you first to save the files locally, then upload them to archive via the SAP GUI using the "Services for Object" in the appropriate order. This is as old-fashioned, inconvenient and time-consuming as you might imagine.
To make your day-to-day work easier, S&N has developed insTRA@Outlook, a plug-in for Outlook that makes it possible for you to copy emails and their attachments directly from Microsoft Outlook to the relevant object (such as an order) in the SAP archive!
SAP makes it possible to store documents about so-called business objects, such as equipment or orders, in the SAP archive. One can customise what kinds of documents can be stored for each type of business object (such as MSG, PDF, DOCX) and the name of the archive where they will be stored. This technology is specified via the SAP ArchiveLink interface and has been used by S&N for insTRA and fleet@insTRA electronic folders for years.
insTRA@Outlook by S&N now creates an interface between Outlook and SAP which maintains all SAP standards regarding access rights and ArchiveLink technology.
insTRA@Outlook in use
After installing insTRA@Outlook, you will have to do a one-time set up of your SAP user information in the plug-in. Now, if you open an email in Outlook, you will see the plug-in below the opened email.
The email will be displayed as an MSG file by insTRA@Outlook under Files. The proposed file name will initially be the subject of the email, but it can be changed. All of the email's attachments will also be listed.
After selecting the type of business object you wish to associate with these files (the order, in our example above), you can now use object-specific search criteria to find the correct object. You can thus search for an order by its order number or vendor name or by license plate if looking for SAP equipment, for example. Of course, you can select multiple objects at the same time. This allows you, for example, to store a vendor's updated terms and conditions with every order from that supplier with just a click of the button. For insTRA and fleet@insTRA objects, you can also select the target folder in the electronic folder.
As already mentioned, you can customise the acceptable document formats for each business type in the SAP archive system. If an email contains a document in an unacceptable format, insTRA@Outlook recognises this and highlights the row in grey. The upload checkbox is not clickable because the file cannot be saved due to the archive settings.
For all acceptable document types, you can check or uncheck the box marked upload to indicate whether the document should be uploaded. The "Add Files" button lets you add documents already stored on your computer to the selected object. By clicking on "Copy", the files are saved to the selected objects in the SAP archive.
Direct access to the documents in the SAP archive
Of course, you can access stored documents directly using the "Services for Object" in the SAP GUI.
The insTRA@Outlook plug-in supports standard SAP business objects "MM Orders" and "SAP equipment", but any other SAP business object can be integrated into insTRA@Outlook.
Connection to insTRA and fleet@insTRA
The S&N products insTRA and fleet@insTRA also support the storage of emails with their attachments to various subject-specific business objects.
In the insTRA insurance management system, emails and attachments can be stored in the electronic folder assigned to the following objects: policy management, enrolment, claims management, property management, insTRA policyholders.
In the fleet@insTRA fleet management solution, SAP equipment, fuel cards, leases, fleet vehicles and drivers are supported business objects.
The insTRA@Outlook plugin is available for both Microsoft Outlook® 2007 and Microsoft Outlook® 2010.