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SAP Dealer Portal: WebDynpro or UI5 ....anyone? [Demo]

SAP Dealer Portal: WebDynpro or UI5 ....anyone? [Demo]

Dealer Mechanic servicing automotive engine at a  repair garageDealer Portal

What is a Dealer Portal? 

In broad terms, a Dealer Portal helps your service partners,- the ASCs - Authorized Service Centers, Dealers, Re-sellers, interact online with your Service and Warranty department.

In real time.

What can a Dealer Portal help you to do?

  • Create and update warranty claims

  • Identify and sell spare parts
  • Sell products, vehicles, equipment

    E.g. in Automotive or heavy equipment industries:
  • integrate with a VMS - Vehicle Management System

  • Access self-service product registration, warranty registration

  • Manage recalls for the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer)
    Get information about actions required by recalls, (e.g. inspect, test, order recall spares kits, etc.)
    File a recall claim 

  • Respond to questions from the OEM, provide detailed narratives on cause, correction, e.g. upload a picture

  • Viewing return part requests, print tags for return parts 
  • Review claim list, status: accepted vs. denied, payment status, etc.

SAP Portal Web Dynpro Example

SAP Dealer Portal (Web Dynpro)

How Long Has the Dealer Portal Been Available?

SAP released the standard Warranty Dealer Portal in 2009 as a Business Portal for B2B users, made available by the manufacturer or importer and used by dealerships or ASPs - Authorized Service Providers.

In other words, the portal is a web front-end for partners wishing to transact in warranty, buy spares and do  other things.

What technology is used by the SAP Dealer Portal

The current SAP Dealer Portal is based on Web Dynpro.  A UI5-based successor is in the works by SAP ACS.

The SAP Enterprise Portal in general and the Warranty Dealer Portal in particular are ripe with opportunities for improvements and enhancements to the delivered functionality.

What are Some of Opportunities and Challenges?

Along with the many challenges and opportunities, there also a number of associated benefits:

  • Folks are looking for integrated, trouble-free systems. An online portal is required to be integrated with the ERP system, a.k.a. "back-end".  The system has to operate In Real-time.
    The technology must avoid re-keying of data across systems.

  • Imagine a functional web portal, with it's branding, beautiful design, attractive look & feel: such a portal should also have ready access to SAP ERP master and transactional data:

    • Share master data with the ERP system, such as a logon user record tied to a partner customer or vendor.

      The user logs on to the portal and transacts under the customer ID. The user creates a claim with the final outcome of a claim credit posted directly to the AR account.

    • Share financial account data: visible in real-time, funds are immediately available to be applied against another product or spare part purchase.

      Helping the service center's cash flow and accelerating OEM product sales.  

    • Portal 'workflow': the portal facilitates communication between the customer base, the ASC's, about current status of claims, product registration, etc. and the technical service center.  Thus alleviating the necessity to call or email people - two often disjointed channels. Unless also employing a call center that captures these signals, I am digressing.

      This is super valuable. 

      Because the communication, the narrative, the documentation and action lives directly on the SAP claim, not in an email system.

    • Millennials don't like to use email! They do not like calling people. I know that from my son.

      What do they like?

      They like social platforms and they like chat tools.

      The SAP Dealer Portal is like a chat tool. We follow a general cultural trend by offering a chat-like communication channel to the new generation of information workers. 

These are integration aspects that are challenging for a large enterprise with multiple platforms and systems. A flexible and powerful solution is required that is contained within a relatively small footprint in order not to have to bridge and build expensive interfaces within the network of multiple systems. Most folks have an ERP and a portal. Warranty lives in the ERP (ECC or S/4) and in the portal. Easy.

Do You Know What The number #1 key decision is:?

  • Integrate the existing portal with SAP through a custom interface.
  • Or, use the SAP Standard Portal approach. 

Does a portal already exist? A well functioning, well designed existing portal will definitely lead to a desire to keep using the existing portal? After investing effort, cost, blood and tears, ... the easiest solution seems to be to integrate that portal to SAP.

Can do. 

Most platforms will support handshaking data and claim info into and out of SAP through BAPIs (Business Applications Programmatic Interfaces), that need RFC (Remote Function Calls) wrappers. If need be, RFC's can be found or written.

But why not? A new, custom interface represents risk, sunk cost, creating a non-configurable static interface, that is hard to develop bug-free, above all, it will be missing the deep integration layer that is required in dealing with complex SAP claims data. Adding to a legacy that will carry maintenance cost into the future. Indefinitely.  

Why Use a SAP Standard Interface?

Did you know that SAP spends around 750,000 Euros annually to maintain the standard interfaces that exist throughout their system?   This represents one of the major business benefits of using SAP and is one of the primary reasons you should avoid creating custom interfaces when a standard one is available.

Are You Leaning Towards a SAP standard portal? 

Then, the second key decision you'll have to make is:

  • Employ SAP WebDynpro
  • or SAP UI5 (aka Fiori)?

Two very different approaches. I will write about both approaches in a future blog soon.

The remainder of this blog is my "The SAP Automotive New Dealer Portal" blog post I wrote in 2009 for SCN,- most content still applies today! Edited for clarity. 

Enjoy and let me know your thoughts,- 

Yours Truly

OEMs, importers and dealers seek to automate their warranty processing: between companies, and service partners. Speed, automation, claim validity, providing actionable defect data, and reliable managerial visibility (aka reporting) are vital to the OEM’s warranty business.

The Dealer Portal is a tool for both manufacturers/OEMs, importers and service partners. Manufacturers work directly with local dealers and ASPs in their home country and other countries. When a separate importer’s agency is involved, that importer’s role is to receive, verify, and aggregate claims from their dealers, and effectively forward claims to the OEM. The OEM in turn processes and adjudicates claims, and responds with approvals and payments back to the importer.

Dealerships are very much cash-flow businesses: The dealership issue is not so much reimbursement but what is required for reimbursement[1]. In other words, what do dealers have to do to get reimbursed?  Visibility is an important factor; visibility of claim status as well as visibility into recall campaigns, vehicle histories, spares inventories and shipments. Visibility is gained to stock the right parts needed for manufacturer’s recall and warranty programs.

Picture 1: Dealer Portal Warranty Claim example in change modeOEMs, importers, and dealers are faced with these challenges; the Dealer Portal adequately addresses many challenges; consequently making the Dealer Portal a strategic part of an OEM’s IT solution portfolio. Employing a portal helps manufacturers, importers, dealerships and service networks as described below.

Keep reading my blog on SCN.


Picture 1: Dealer Portal Warranty Claim Screen Shot

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About the Author: Soren Detering

Soren is a SAP Senior Solution Architect , Founder and Owner at Detering Consulting, a niche SAP consulting firm focusing on SAP Sales, Service, and Warranty Management Solutions

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