Enterprise IT landscapes that found on SAP solutions, e. g. SAP S/4HANA, SAP C/4HANA or the SAP Cloud Platform, are realigned regarding their integration approach. The main reason is the new platform portfolio scope based on cloud technologies, mainly API-focused. Examples are the SAP Cloud Platform, the SAP Marketing Cloud or the Customer Data Cloud that usually have to meet with „classical“ on-premises like SAP S/4HANA. This should be made possible in hybrid integration, mostly powered by SAP PI/PO or/and SAP CPI integration platforms.
As we at ITARICON are very familiar and experienced with almost any integration topic around SAP, I put together for you the most important steps to get a grip on your SAP integration landscape.
- Analyze Business Strategy and Future Business Demands
Where does your business go? Is there an approach to move together with your supplier network or do your business mates plan an enhanced product/service range made true by new digital business services or accounting models?
From an SAP integration point of view, it’s needful to investigate your enterprise business strategy. Start accomplishing regular exchange with your business departments to find out concrete demands that can be empowered by your integration capabilities.
- Derive Integration Strategy for your Application Landscape
Your application landscape is the body and the integrations are the nerves that create a brisk ecosystem. Thus, in order to create a fit organisation that is capable of surviving in a demanding environment, you should support it by a concrete integration strategy. Set up clear rules how to integrate business and IT demands. Nice side effect: Your projects will learn that by following your guiding principles, they will save resources and efforts by straightforward integration solutions.
- Define adequate integration technology layer
Now it’s time for technology. Most enterprises have some kind of Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) in place. To me, ESB primarily is a conceptual integration layer that is powered by integration technology/technologies. Hence, in classical SAP landscapes, we faced the SAP PI/PO platform solely representing the meaningful application and service integration. From now on, we have a hybrid integration stereotype where the ESB is represented by SAP PI/PO as well as by SAP CPI, the Cloud Platform Integration services. But when to get productive with CPI? And when to say goodbye to PI/PO? For example, how to deal with Salesforce or SAP Sales Cloud that might play a role within the „Lead to Order“ business scenario? Are there other integration capabilities around the SAP Cloud Platform that play a role for future integration? And how to deal with API management in and beyond SAP context? There’s too much complexity and it would be pretty careless not to clearly define the technological approach for your enterprise integration.
- Create Integration Service Portfolio for your internal and external customers
Integration is a business value and don’t be in the shade anymore! Thus, you should think of your integration like a business manager that wants to delight and fascinate your clients. Define and communicate a clear range of services that your internal programs and projects or even your enterprise partners can consume and utilize. Be aware that you can be the missing link for your business to enable their future, e. g. by delivering integrated and accountable business services or APIs via your SAP cloud.
- Wire up with your Demand and Project Portfolio Management process
Integration needs are often neglected in trivial project methodologies. We have so many practical examples where hindsights come true that the effective integration effort could have been dramatically reduced only by bearing it in mind during the early project phases. Make them aware that integration is not a technical issue. It has to benefit from technical platform capabilities after having cleared the business demand of the integration scenarios. Generally, the integration we speak about is Process Integration.
Finally, we recommend you to set up your integration environment along a proved methodology. Without being guided by the methodological lighthouse, there is a high potential of losing your way or missing the final destination. Some time ago, we made deeper practical investigations on ISA-M, the „Integration Solution Advisor Methodology“ designed by SAP. To the point, ISA-M is a very powerful and comprehensive framework that we entrust you and your integration creators to cope in a holistic way with your enterprise integration future.