SmartAdvice: Best Practices For Using SAP In Multilingual Settings - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Business & Finance
Commentary
4/7/2004
02:30 PM
Commentary
Commentary
Commentary
50%
50%

SmartAdvice: Best Practices For Using SAP In Multilingual Settings

Analyze your busines processes before selecting code pages when using SAP in a multilingual environment, The Advisory Council says. Also, don't count on a Windows NT Workstation security patch support extension; and there are two basic options when selecting an E-mail encryption technology for your sensitive mail.

Editor's Note: Welcome to SmartAdvice, a weekly column by The Advisory Council (TAC), an advisory service firm. The feature answers three questions of core interest to you, ranging from career advice to enterprise strategies to how to deal with vendors. Submit questions directly to [email protected]


Question A: What best practices would you recommend for the multilingual use of SAP?

Our advice: Best practices for multilingual support in a global SAP implementation include:

  • Standardize and improve consistency of central data repositories. Having a central coordination and SAP implementation team helps this.
  • Identify and clearly document business-unit and country-specific differences.
  • Map detailed process, procedures, policies, and required data relationships for each business unit within each country, and compare with SAP capabilities.
  • Establish a timeline for leveraging administrative capabilities that exist within SAP, while building consensus across geographies and cultures on relative importance, prioritization, and resources to customize administrative tasks that don't directly map to existing SAP capabilities. This lets a company generate return on investment early, while having a solid plan for long-term and lasting benefits from increased efficiencies and integrated processes.
  • Use technologies for handling conversion amongst a diverse set of languages. Three possibilities include: a blended-code page, dynamically switching among multiple code pages simultaneously, or Unicode. The first and second alternatives are SAP proprietary, while the third is an open standard backed by more than 50 key companies, including SAP.
  • A brief description of the technology underlying SAP multilingual support follows. We first describe alternative 1 above, the blended-code page, then give an overview of alternative 2, technology that enables switching among multiple code pages simultaneously. Finally, we relate Unicode industry standard to the above two technologies.

    A blended-code page allows conversion among a set of languages. The specific language characters that can be converted depend on which SAP-provided blended code page that's used. SAP has collected related languages in sets: Latin-1, for example, includes Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, German, French, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish.

    The code page resides in the database. The code page can either be the traditional ISO (International Standardization Organization) code page or a blended code page described above. As the page is in the database, the same code page is shared amongst the multiple application servers and the front-end users (presentation layer.)

    In the second alternative, multiple code pages reside in the database and the database is used as a byte store. Different code pages could be in use by different application servers and an application server can dynamically switch to a different code page depending on the demand from and languages used by front-end users coming in through the presentation layer. As a result, front-end users can use an even more diverse set of languages.

    Alternative 3, Unicode, is conceptually simple--the goal is to have a single code page that works globally. However, this requires more storage and transmission resources, since several of the languages have a large number of characters that require two bytes to represent a character. This can result in additional overhead for languages that have fewer characters and could be represented in one byte. SAP supports Unicode, and this will result in better, more uniform language support and simplify global data storage and exchange.

    -- Anurag Gupta

    We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
    Previous
    1 of 3
    Next
    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
    State of the Cloud
    State of the Cloud
    Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
    News
    COVID-19: Using Data to Map Infections, Hospital Beds, and More
    Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  3/25/2020
    Commentary
    Enterprise Guide to Robotic Process Automation
    Cathleen Gagne, Managing Editor, InformationWeek,  3/23/2020
    Slideshows
    How Startup Innovation Can Help Enterprises Face COVID-19
    Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  3/24/2020
    Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
    Video
    Current Issue
    IT Careers: Tech Drives Constant Change
    Advances in information technology and management concepts mean that IT professionals must update their skill sets, even their career goals on an almost yearly basis. In this IT Trend Report, experts share advice on how IT pros can keep up with this every-changing job market. Read it today!
    White Papers
    Slideshows
    Twitter Feed
    Sponsored Live Streaming Video
    Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
    Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
    Sponsored Video
    Flash Poll