Integration is top of mind for SAP customers. Our 2021 Pulse of the SAP Customer Survey showed us that integration issues are the top technology challenge for respondents, with 35% saying that incompatibility between products—both third-party and SAP—is a challenge. This is something SAP has been working to remedy, taking strides to help its customers through the integration process and providing tools to making linking solutions and applications easier.
Last week, ASUG hosted an Executive Exchange session focused on connecting the Intelligent Enterprise with SAP Integration Suite, arguably the main tool the software company has available to its customers to assist them in their integration journeys. Harsh Jegadeesan, vice president of product and strategy at SAP, not only gave a presentation about this very topic but also took time to answer many attendees’ specific questions surrounding integration at SAP. Here are some highlights from that event.
Integration and the Intelligent Enterprise
By now, most SAP customers should be familiar with the notion of the Intelligent Enterprise. The software company is committed to helping its customers adopt solutions to help improve business processes and leverage data across their entire IT ecosystem. According to Jegadeesan, the Intelligent Enterprise “combines modern technology to create the best customer experience possible.”
Before diving into the nitty-gritty of integration, Jegadeesan walked attendees through just how integration fits into the idea of the Intelligent Enterprise. The underpinning of the Intelligent Enterprise is the SAP Business Technology Platform, which “powers” all the different parts of the Intelligent Enterprise, including SAP and third-party applications. Jegadeesan noted that there are three crucial parts to the SAP Business Technology Platform: integrated business processes, data-to-value, and extensibility. These aspects help customers drive the end-to-end business process, while making the most out of their data, and extending the scope and function of their applications.
The State of Integrations
Despite the vital importance of integrations to the SAP ecosystem and the SAP Business Technology Platform, taking on integration projects can be difficult for customers. Specifically, Jegadeesan noted three characteristics of most SAP customers’ IT landscapes that the software company has to take into account.
First, many SAP customers—and SAP itself, according to Jegadeesan—actually have heterogeneous IT landscapes, meaning that they are comprised of different applications and solutions from different providers. An organization rarely leverages only SAP solutions to help their business run.
“When you look at these end-to-end value chains [across businesses and industries] these processes go across SAP and non-SAP systems,” Jegadeesan said.
Second, Jegadeesan said that many IT landscapes are hybrid, meaning they are a mix between cloud and on-premises. Finally, a lot of SAP customers have IT landscapes that are incredibly large.
SAP has taken these characteristics in mind as they help customers integrate the necessary solutions and applications into their IT landscape and create integration strategies and tools for customers.
SAP Integration Strategy
Jegadeesan walked attendees through some of the key points behind the SAP integration strategy and laid out some solutions and tools customers can utilize during their integration projects. The SAP Integration Suite is a crucial part of this strategy. The solution not only helps customers with cloud integrations and data intelligence but also can advise them on the best path forward. There are over 13,000 SAP customers currently leveraging the SAP Integration Suite, including Nike, Shell, Xerox, and the city of San Diego.
Another vital tool is the SAP API Business Hub, which helps customers “get immediate value from the integration platform.” The hub has integration packs, which Jegadeesan described as “Netflix for integrations,” which give customers a guide on how to best integrate between different solutions. Additionally, these packs can show start and endpoints for integration projects so that customers aren’t “starting from scratch.” According to Jegadeesan, there are over 2,500 pre-built integrations.
Jegadeesan also touched on the key ways SAP customers can future-proof their IT ecosystems for integrations. First, he recommended that customers migrate to SAP NetWeaver 7.5, noting that this is the “long-term stable release from SAP.” Additionally, this solution has cloud integration components installed so that if you build something in the cloud, you can easily deploy it into an API. Jegadeesan also recommended building new integrations with the SAP Integration Suite and move existing integration scenarios to the suite as well.
Want to see the full session? You can watch on-demand here.