SAP archiving solution for German premium car manufacturer
fme AG introduces new archiving concept with KGS ContentServer4Storage of KGS Software GmbH & Co. KG.
During the reorganization of its financial processes and systems, BMW has organized the archiving of financial documents from scratch. These were previously distributed over various archives, but are now centrally retrievable through SAP. This is made possible by the KGS ContentServer4Storage. The central storage-based system manages reports and documents, in conformity with the law, and enables fast and easy access.
Fme AG, a specialist in information management systems, has been BMW’s project partner in document managing for a long time, and has implemented the system together with KGS Software. The SAP team of fme AG has also developed a web interface through SAP Web Dynpro technology, to simplify the financial release processes.
Along with the transition to an SAP-based ordering system, BMW shifted its archive concept for the credit-and debit-documents from scattered archives to the central KGS solution ContentServer4Storage. This is based directly on BMW’s hierarchical storage management (HSM) – for the archiving of other SAP modules, such as documents that are required as part of the procurement process, the Group uses the SAP Content Server.
The seamless integration of the solution in SAP makes extensive rollouts of client components unnecessary. For the display of documents, the SAP document viewer is used. Thus, it becomes much easier for users to manage financial documents, seeing as they do not have to leave their familiar application environment.
The Automobile Company has been working together with fme AG in the sector of archiving and document management since 2001. Hence, there were several possibilities based on existing systems available for a central archive for finance related documents. However, for these the data model was either much too complex for SAP archiving – which would have taken up unnecessary space in the database – or functional reasons led to the exclusion of such possible solutions. The SAP Content Server also posed no alternative, because most of the documents to be archived were created outside of SAP.
Lean data model, single sign-on, processing of external documents
Through its design with a built-in proxy server and a set of add-on connectors, the KGS ContentServer4Storage can also process external documents and link them to SAP. As access into the archive of the KGS solution occurs centrally over SAP, employees only need to register once using the single sign-on mechanism. They reach the right location much faster than before, through filtering of results and proposal lists, such as a creditor’s selection. Another advantage of the new solution: The metadata of the financial documents are now managed within SAP. Previously, BMW had to extract this data completely and keep it in a separate database.
100 million documents migrated within two weeks
In mid-April 2012, the system went into production, following the migration of the old data into the new solution within just two weeks. For this, the KGS Migration4ArchiveLink solution was used. It has a proxy server function built-in, with which BMW was able to avoid a costly migration: the existing documents in the old archives for finance related documents, as well as the interfaces to third party systems, such as the out-put management system, were simply adopted with their existing structure tethered to the KGS archive.
Caching for critical archives for finance related documents
The KGS solution becomes a business critical application, especially when it comes to caching. The financial documents in the SAP back-end are easy to backup, but what to do when time-outs due to restoration or verification of the storage system occur? BMW has therefore begun to replicate the content on the SAP back-end by means of caching through the KGS proxy server.
For this reason, cache store locations are being established through the KGS proxy server, as a backup for critical archives for finance related documents, such as customs environment. The KGS proxy server decides individually: If the primary storage system is not accessible, it retrieves the documents from the cache location and vice versa. At the same time, it replicates the data from the cache location into the primary storage location at all times. Unlike the KGS server, the SAP Content Server is not able to do this, since its caching abilities are read-only.