- Web capture : with the page viewer webpart and the webcapture webpart (not standard installed but can be downloaded as part of the Office 2003 webparts), SharePoint can display information of LOB (Line of Business) applications such as SAP, if these applications have a webinterface. The most important limitation of this scenario is the limited level of interactivity.
- Point to Point connection : through the SAP .Net connector - available for SAP systems starting from release 4.0B so for all SAP R/3 systems as well as the SAP Web Application Server - it is the point to create a direct connection to SAP. This is however not always feasible nor desirable from a security standpoint.
- Data cache : by creating a datawarehouse which centralises all information for different LOB systems when can create a more secure and scalable solution than the direct connection. However all data has to be replicated and this scenario is perhaps best suitable for readonly access.
- Application/Integration server : through the Biztalk SAP adapter it is possible to exchange data with SAP.
Mid august Microsoft released through their “shared source” program a couple of new “enabling technologies” which can help in realising some of the scenarios described. These are the WSRP Web Part Toolkit for SharePoint (WSRP =Web Services for Remote Portlets) and the SAP iViews Web Part Toolkit. These toolkits enable sytem integrators to create a customer specific solution based on the toolkit framework.The iView webpart makes it possible to display information from SAP directly into SharePoint The WSRP toolkit is directed towards providing SharePoint functionality through an enhanced webservices layer to 3d party LOB applications.
Lately Microsoft seems to be putting a lot more effort into integration with the SAP platform, a lot of documentation you can find on their joint website, http://microsoft-sap.com