SAP Supplier Lifecycle Management: Filling a long pending gap in SAP SRM business suite - Part2
In part-1 of this blog post, I had given an overview of functionalities in SAP Supplier Lifecycle Management.
In Part-2 of this blog, I am going to write briefly about architecture and various deployment options, that comes with SAP SLM version 1.0.
At a high level architecture, SAP SLM is based on SAP NW 702 platform. It is basically composed of two components - Buy Side and Sell side. Buy Side is the component, which is accessed within buying company by purchasers, category managers and other internal stakeholders. Buy side is located within the firewall of company and is available on intranet.
Sell side is accessed by suppliers for various external processes and is located outside the firewall of the company. Sell side is available on open internet for registered and potential suppliers.
Broadly following processes are executed on the two sides:
Supplier self registration
Supplier data maintenance
Supplier qualification response submission
Supplier registration approval
Supplier portfolio maintenance
The two components are connected via RFC connection for data exchange. There could be a little concern from security standpoint here, as RFC connections may not be encouraged via supplier systems to customer secured systems and even SAP recommends asynchronous communication using SAP PI or middleware.
SAP SLM - Buy side is connected further to a backend system, which can be an SAP SRM server or SAP ECC server. This is basically to synchronize supplier data to backend systems.
Overall, SAP SLM V1.0 can be deployed in multiple flexible variants as below:
1. Integrated Deployment:
Under this, SAP SLM is installed as an add-on to SAP SRM (Version 7.0, EHP1) server. On the sell side, SAP SLM is installed as an add-on component to SUS (Supplier self services), which is supplier collaboration solution for SAP SRM v1.0.
On the buy side, SAP SLM is installed as an add-on to SAP SRM procurement component. The backend system is SAP ECC server(>= version 6.0) in this case.
The benefit with this deployment is that, it allows 'Order collaboration' along with Supplier data management on one platform. Using Portal, both SUS and SLM can be accessed uniformly. Of course, this requires a pre installation of SAP SRM(version 701) and SUS to capitalize upon.
2. Standalone Deployment:
Under this, SAP SLM is installed as an standalone server with Buy side and sell side as two independent components. The backend in this case could be SAP SRM server (version 5.0 to 701) or SAP ECC (>= 6.0).
The benefit with this deployment is that, SAP SLM can be used with lower SRM versions like SRM 5.0.
3. Mixed deployment:
This is basically hybrid deployment, wherein either the buy side or sell side is standalone and the other component is installed as an add-on to SAP SRM (701) server. The backend system can be SAP SRM server or SAP ECC server.
This deployment variant could be useful, where either only SUS component or only SAP SRM procurement (EBP) component is used by a company. For e.g. in MM-SUS scenario, this deployment can be useful.
Finally, the decision for a deployment option would depend upon the existing landscape components and the business scenarios applicable. SAP SLM in future releases would also be provided with option of installation as an ECC add-on. So this would provide another flexible option for customers to decide upon the deployment variant.