SmartAdvice: Best Practices For Using SAP In Multilingual Settings - InformationWeek
Business & Finance
02:30 PM
Ransomware: Latest Developments & How to Defend Against Them
Nov 01, 2017
Ransomware is one of the fastest growing types of malware, and new breeds that escalate quickly ar ...Read More>>

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

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

    1 of 3
    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
    Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
    How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
    How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
    To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
    Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
    White Papers
    Current Issue
    2017 State of IT Report
    In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
    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.
    Flash Poll