IBM Content Collector for SAP (formerly known as IBM CommonStore for SAP), Kofax ...
IBM Content Collector for SAP (ICC/SAP) is an interface for SAP ERP-Systems and IBM archiving systems: IBM Content Manager, On Demand und TSM. SAP provides the standard interface ‘ArchiveLink’ for linking external archiving systems. ICC/SAP is certified for this interface.
The processing of documents captured by Kofax Capture in combination with ICC/SAP, Content Manager and a SAP system can be done with the delivered standard components. However these components are not easy to handle by the end users. Before explaining some optimization with available tools, I want to describe some general capturing scenarios within a SAP ERP-system.
The two most common capturing scenarios when using ArchiveLink are:
1. ‘Late scanning’ with barcodes
The processing of incoming documents is operated by paper as ever. When the business process is finished (booking in SAP is done), the paper documents are scanned and stored in the archiving system. At the beginning of the process a barcode is put on the paper document in the mailroom. The barcode value contains no business information, it has just to be unique.
The user will be asked for the barcode value when doing the booking within SAP. The value can be entered manually or with a barcode reader. After booking the SAP system is aware of the SAP document number and the barcode value.
After scanning the electronic document is stored in the archive systems, which creates a unique document id for each document. The pair ‘document id’/’barcode value’ is send to the SAP system (the barcode value was read at scan time). By using the barcode value the SAP system builds the pair ‘SAP document number’/’document id’. With this information the SAP system is able to retrieve the archived document for the SAP document.
‘Late scanning’ with barcodes has the benefit, that the familiar business process based on paper, can be retained. An optimization of the business process can’t be done though. Business process optimization is possible with the second capturing scenario:
2. ‘Early scanning’ before booking
In this scenario the scanning of the paper documents is the first step in the process chain.
The scanned document is archived immediately and a workitem is created in the Inbox of the SAP user. This workitem may contain a complex SAP business workflow or just a single booking transaction. As the workitem has a link to the archived electronical document, all processing can be done without paper documents.
Let me explain the use of the standard product components with the example of ‘early scanning’:
– Kofax Capture 10 as capturing solution
– IBM Content Manager 8.4 as the archiving system
– SAP ERP-system
– IBM ICC/SAP as interface between the archive and SAP ERP-system
The typical work steps with ‘early scanning’:
1. Scanning with Kofax Capture
2. Store the digitized documents in a folder in the file system by a Kofax Capture Export module
3. Start the IBM ICC/SAP Archiving client with selection of the folder from 2.
4. Start SAPGUI and call transaction oawd
5. Start of processing in oawd:
– SAPGUI communicates with the ICC/SAP Archiving client
– ICC/SAP Archiving client stores the folder documents into the Content Manager archive
– Creation of workitem(s) in the SAP Inbox with links to the archived documents
This approach is working and is the recommended way of using the standard components of the involved products. However, the number of the needed manual tasks is not ideal.
But for a long time there is a fine piece of free software (source code included) downloadable at Kofax, which reduces the above steps to only one action. But as you may have expected, there is a catch: the software is very old, COM based and was developed when Ascent Capture 6 was the best available capturing solution. It is the ‘IBM CommonStore Release Script’. CommonStore/SAP is the former name of ICC/SAP with the same ArchiveLink functionality.
‘IBM CommonStore Release Script’ reduces the above described manual tasks to just one step:
- Scanning with Kofax Capture!
… and just wait a little until the workitem appears within the SAP system.
The CommonStore Release Script is a Kofax Capure Export module, which supports the scenario of ‘early scanning ‘ as well as the ‘late scanning with barcodes’. All required data about the archive and SAP settings can be administered in the Kofax Capture administration of the CommonStore Release script (export module).
The script, source code and documentation can be found at the following Kofax website:
Because of its age the script won’t run in the modern Kofax Capture infrastructure (since Kofax Capture 8). But there is a way to get it running even with the latest version 10.1 of Kofax Capture:
1. You need the file KFXVAR.DLL from a Kofax Capture 8 installation.
2. Copy this file into the bin directory of your Kofax Capture version.
3. The files mscomct2.ocx, mscomctl.ocx and tabctl32.ocx have to be copied (if they don’t already exist) into the system32 directory of Windows. Register them with regsvr32.
4. Start the installation of the CommonStore Release Script.
5. By default the installation ist done to the directory C:\Program Files (x86)\Ascent. You may change the installation path, BUT please do not select the directory of your Kofax Capture installation, as otherwise latest Kofax files will be overwritten by older ones!
6. As the installation program has registered some files with their older versions, you still have to excute the following steps, as otherwise all other Kofax Capture Export modules won’t work anymore:
After the installation the following files will exists in the installation path C:\Program Files (x86)\Ascent\Cap\Bin:
Except for CAPCntnr4.ocx please deregister all files using regsvr32 /u ….
Register the following files with regsvr32 in your installation path of Kofax Capture 10 (for example:) C:\Program Files (x86)\Kofax\Capture\CAP\Bin:
7. If the ICC/SAP Archiving client is not already installed at the Kofax Capure Export Workstation, you still have to copy the file csclient.dll into the system32 directory of Windows. This file can be found in the installation path of the ICC/SAP archiving client.
The described approach is somewhat cumbersome, but you have to do it only once at the Kofax Capture Export workstation. However, the gain on the user’s side and the reduction of operation errors is enormous. These kinds of installations are running stable for years and the end users are highly satisfied.
Kofax doesn’t provide support for this Release Script (quote from the Kofax website): >>Freeware export connectors are available “as is,” and include source code. Kofax does not support freeware connectors.>>