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I have recently switched my job and that job super technical, each day is a new challenge.  So one of the challenge which came my way was to ramp up myself in SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence(MII).Initially I thought it must be new module like SD/MM/FICO, language will  be ABAP only, I can do no issues. The moment I had my first call where the other person asked me few of the MII jargons like BLS, queries, PCO etc. , I was shocked I knew nothing.

Normally when I want to learn something new, I always read few of the basic blog posts which gives me a head start. But sadly in this case we did not find much except the SAP Help which for me is always overwhelming if I have learn something new:) So while I started learning, I had this thought that I will share my set of experience via series of blog posts which will help any ABAPer in getting a basic understanding of it.

What We are planning to do?

So the plan here is to write a series of blog posts where we will first build on our basic understanding of MII, it's workbench, how do we do developments and how do we display data etc. So in this first blog post I would like to set the context. Sharing the experience is beneficial for me also as we tend to dig more technically before sharing anything with the larger audience:)

Let's begin

So the first question as always is what the heck is SAP MII? So basically imagine this you are big company with N number of plants across world wide. Now there exist a disconnect between the shop floors or plant floors what ever you want to call them to the existing ERP system like SAP. What I meant by that is your machines  are not in real time integrated with the SAP system. Each Plant might be using a different local software to run its production line. So how do we address this gap is via SAP MII. So MII is like an integration platform which integrates the floor to ERP. Yes you could argue that why do we need MII when already the many of the machines can send the sensors and other data directly to the IoT cloud platforms. We have N number of ways of doing the same thing for example different ways to integrate same way we have it here.  So MII is something which bring clear visibility into the manufacturing process. So let MII be the integration platform for integrating shop floor with SAP systems.

So do we use ABAP in MII?

The simple answer is NO a big one. But yes your knowledge of ABAP will compliment it.  So MII has its development workbench which looks like below.

I hope many of you have worked during your college days in projects like where you connect SQL server, MYSQL etc. Same way here also  the local software running on the Plant floor machine has similar kind of databases(keeping things simple). So MII has what it calls as options of creating different queries where you make connection to remote databases and fetch/modify the data as shown below.

Of course now you have the data you want to do some processing on it, so do we write code, I will say most of the time NO. We basically draw the flow as shown below.

The example flow shown above basically fetches the data from floor system and then basically do certain steps which we call as Actions. An action can be a loop, read data,  convert from XML to JSON, connect to SAP ECC etc..   This set of logical steps is what we call in MII as BLS Business Logic Transactions.  Now you have the data the logic then what about the UI Part.  MII also provide in built charts etc. but in addition to it we create our own SAPUI5 app which interact with it via endpoints urls as shown below. So all these data fetching, BLS etc. have an attached URL via which you can consume them.

So What is next?

So now we have superficial knowledge of how it is placed,next step is to dig deep into different components of MII. Feel free to provide your feedback or suggestions.

Updated based on feedback from el_handous, thanks appreciated!

PS:SAP MII is not an SAP Module like MM, SD, etc. It is more like a solution dedicated for the shop floor level. Furthermore, it even can be implemented without having an SAP ERP (R/3 or later releases), it can be implemented with other ERP solutions. Even more, it can be used as a stand-alone solution (but of course you will need a source of data somewhere).