Over the past decade, ERP systems have grown steadily more complex. The continued relevance of the cloud has only increased this complexity. As these solutions become more intricate, integrations and tools used to link systems and solutions seamlessly together are now vital.
“In this fast-paced digital economy, integration is seen as a growing strategic imperative for organizations across all industries,” said Paul Kurchina, ASUG evangelist and the host of the a recent ASUG Express event focused on SAP integration essentials. Despite this, many organizations face significant hurdles when integrating solutions into a cohesive environment. While this might be a daunting undertaking, there are tools available to SAP customers aimed at helping them integrate their solutions and platforms, ensuring an unbroken flow of data from one application to the next.
ASUG dove into some of these options during the ASUG Express event, which featured specialists from SAP and Deloitte who broke down some important integration trends and walked attendees through integration options that are currently available to SAP customers. The event left attendees with tangible insights to navigate their integration journeys.
The Case for Integration with SAP Systems
The event kicked off with a presentation from Christopher Aron, senior director of global go-to-market at SAP, and Vivek Vinayak Rao, managing director at Deloitte. The two discussed some of the trends they saw in a recent Technology Business Research survey focused on integration. One of the biggest takeaways from the research pointed out how many organizations don’t believe they have the resources and tools to successfully complete an integration project.
“There’s a disconnect between understanding that integration is important moving forward and knowing that you have the capability to do it,” Aron said.
Throughout the conversation, both Rao and Aron laid out why integration is so important, as well as ways that organizations are making their integration projects successful. According to Aron, over the last decade, cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions and hybrid landscapes that operate both on-premise and in the cloud have complicated the environment. What’s more, organizations are using a higher volume of third-party solutions across their IT environments. Because of this, Aron said, “there’s no way to put the genie back in the lamp.” This is why integration is vital for organizations. It gives them the ability to have a platform dedicated to “leveraging all the assets” they possess.
One common hurdle many IT professionals face is convincing leadership to support a large-scale integration—or any other digital transformation project—with necessary resources. While Rao noted that every organization has a portion of its IT budget devoted to innovation, IT professionals need to emphasize how integration will drive business value and connect to external stakeholders. “You have to tie integration to how it's going to help the company evolve,” Aron said.
Help Is Available from SAP Cloud Platform Integration Suite
Craig Stasila, SAP Cloud Platform go-to-market specialist, walked attendees through the importance of integration and how SAP Cloud Platform Integration Suite can help customers tackle their projects. With such a huge number of solutions in use, Stasila emphasized the need for customers to effectively integrate their tools. “We’ve seen a big proliferation of additional software systems and business processes,” he said.
While there does need to be a solution that marshals all these applications and processes, Stasila told attendees that they need an application that isn’t monolithic, but rather “acts like a quarterback for the entire intelligent enterprise.” He discussed how the SAP Cloud Platform Integration Suite is the only integration platform offering such a wide breadth of integration capabilities including prebuilt integration packages that dramatically lower the TCO when tackling integration scenarios.
Stasila emphasized a few of the tools available to customers, including the Integration Advisor, which can assist users by crowdsourcing capabilities for business-oriented interfaces and mappings by leveraging machine learning. API management allows customers to design, manage, and publish vital APIs, which can then be shown to developers and customers. It allows users to create data models and leverage them as secured and governed APIs. On the connectors' side of things, the platform offers more than 160 open connectors that broaden the range of SAP’s integration capabilities by allowing integrations with non-SAP solutions to be completed effectively and efficiently. There are more than 1,500 prebuilt integrations within integration packs to save time and cost and make your business more agile
Stasila described the entire suite as a “toolbox,” complete with different tools for different projects, designed to help customers during each of their own specific integrations.
Making Use of Aligned Domain Models
Rui Nogueira, chief product expert of Intelligent Enterprise Technology at SAP, gave a presentation on the SAP Integration Strategy. A substantial portion of his discussion focused on aligned domain models, and how customers can leverage these models during their integrations. These models fit into the SAP Integrated Intelligent Suite, which “provides end-to-end process integration across the entire intelligent enterprise.” Examples of these business processes include lead to cash, design to operate, source to pay, and recruit to retire.
The SAP One Domain Model is the “lingua franca”—or common language—of the entire intelligent enterprise, connecting all of the business processes mentioned above, and all of the solutions customers are using. Not only does this ubiquitous language lower integration efforts, but it also allows customers to move away from a point-to-point solution to a centralized one.
“This ensures business objects are distributed across all solutions in the intelligent enterprise,” Nogueira said.