Helps you figure out what is moving in the SAP Integration world with all the new cool technologies and the use cases of old.
Will cover SAP PI/PO, SAP Cloud Platform Integration (CPI), API management, Gateway and how to support it. And a host of other topics that are relevant.
036 – Sravya Talanki SAP Integration
In this episode of the Integration Podcast, I had Sravya Talanki Head of Integration at KeyTree to share some of her ideas about integration strategy that is fit for the future and how they are coping with Covid19 situation.
Sravya has written a number of posts about SAP Integration like the Best practice for SAP CPI and also shared some of her project experiences about integration and how we should approach API first strategy in the last webinar on SAP CPI integration.
In the podcast, we spoke about the following topics:Covid-19 and the effect on the organization and leadership. Keytree has built Matrix booking tool that allows employees to book desks, monitor occupancy in real-time, for customers to safely open the office, and also has the facility to warn employees if office capacity has been reached.
API strategies is one of the key areas that many customers are looking for getting some guidance and insight on where to start. Sravya has the following suggestions for getting started:
* Pilot MVP project first and brace yourself with an agile mindset. For Example, Be bold enough to change the solution architecture component or data model or add more features throughout the sprints.* Constantly Engage and Educate your API Consumers and perform a show and tell your API audience regularly. There is no point in building wonderful API(S) with no consumers and hence engagement is critical to evaluate the pulse of the consumers. * Provide the right Incentive for API project implementation and adoption as well, if you need to be agile then you need to be flexible enough with a budget as well. It may be a bit more expensive to enhance the API now than the budget, but it will give you are more reusable API.
One of the projects Keytree has been involved in is the high volume of data load into SAP C/4 HANA Cloud system via CPI Enterprise Edition and CPI(Process Integration + Data Services) can do ETL if migration doesn’t require complex transformation and we need to migrate from many source systems
We talk about which platforms customers must understand for integration and what is important. Getting to use ISA-M to understand the different patterns is important. There is no one size fits all.
I’m glad that I finally got a new session recorded in the podcast. I hope you will enjoy the conversation.
035 – Blockchain and integration
Blockchain has been one of the hottest trends in the last few years. It said that it would be a way to improve trust between organizations. It seems like people want to understand what it can do. I think it can be a little difficult really to understand what is going on in the area and what the benefit of it is.
In this episode of the Integration Podcast, I’m interviewing Stephan Nilsson from Unisot(The Universal Source Of Truth). Stephan has been working a long time in the SAP Integration space and we even had some time to work on a project together a long time ago. Now he is working with SAP Integration Architecture and Blockchain, so the perfect candidate so share what blockchain can be used to in an enterprise setting.
I have not seen much use in using blockchain and value in having a distributed database. In the podcast i did learn about some interesting apsects of what it can do.
Stephan and Unisot were working with making it easy to integrate directly from SAP ERP that could then transmit invoice and another document directly into the blockchain. They are using BDI (a blockchain version of EDI) to transport the data. They are mapping the documents to UBL which is a global standard for exchange business documents. So it should be simple to get started with it.
The choise come to choise which blockchain to use. They have used Bitcon SV(Satoshi’s Vision) which is able to handle many transactions pr second at a low cost. It is a public chain that everybody can access. Your documents can only be decrypted by the parties you want to see the data. So you can share data with your partner and the tax authories. It also support smart contracts so you can have payments as a part of the process.
We did talk about SAPs different blockchains products. Stephans though on this was that they are essentially just replicated databases and something that you have in a trusted network of partners.
We also talked about the business cases for it. During the 6 months, he had gotten many requests from people to ask if a problem can be solved by blockchain. It was not the other way around to start with blockchain and then find something to solve it with. We covered an example of how the salmon industry could use blockchain, so consumers could see the full lifecycle of the fish they are buying. This will allow premium vendors to take more for their product to show history.
Sorry for the bad audio, i hope it can provide some value for you.
034 – Paw Sandal on Microsoft/Azure Integration
I had the great pleasure of talking with Paw Sandal Pedersen, who is an Microsoft Integration expert at a danish company called Bizbrains. Paw is very experience working with Microsoft integration technologies and I think it was very interesting to hear his oppinion on topics like BizTalk Azure, Logic Apps, Microsoft Flow and EDI.
We did have a talk about BizTalk. It have been evolving much like SAP PI for the last long time. Microsoft have not wanted to say a lot about the future of the product, as they wanted more cloud usage. Now they have released plans of a 2019 version to give customers support for longer duration and the ability to integrate more with the cloud.
Logic Apps can be used by anyone
We talk about Logic Apps. It is Microsoft Serverless technology that allow you to only pay for the number of actions you perform. This is a new way of making integration possible. It allow integration to get to smaller organisations and run there.
“Logic apps is this new way of creating integration, so as a developer you don’t have to think about which servers, you just pay pr. action, there is a lot of connectors, that helps you to connect to a system“, paw says and continue: “There are 300 connectors at the moment that Microsoft supplies, and you also have the possibility to create custom connector.”
It is fairly simple to start creating the Logic Apps, but you will need to know how to process documents in the way that is most effecient with regards to the license of pay per action. For some customers the license model is better, where as for other project a BizTalk solution is better.
There is also the Flow service, which allow business users to create Logic Apps without much knowledge on the background processing. So a Citizen integration approach.
One of the products that Bizbrains have is a tool to help with EDI partner management just like the B2B Add-on called Link.
I can see it gives a number of features in a more user friendly way, like partner management, documents tracking and easy creation of new EDI agreements. Often this is more or less only for developers or It Admins. It is possible to integrate with SAP using BizTalk SAP Adapter or Logic App SAP Connector, but there is currently no possibility to use SAP PI/PO as an engine for transformation and transport of the documents. If more customers ask then it could be relevant.
Many customers talk about API is the way to go but if you have 300 partners it can be a lot easier if you can follow one common approach for handling your partner integration.
We also talk about the Peppol a new standard for exchanging e-Invoices with European governments and also businesses. It contains the option to lookup partner information and then uses it for sending the data to providers. It will be interesting to see how the adoption of it will be.
We discussed that and other topics during the Integration Podcast. It was interesting to see how much Microsoft and SAP is looking when viewing their approach for integration.
033 – What Integration challenges I see
In this podcast about Figaf´s Integration Regression Tool I take a look at some of the challenges, that SAP is facing with integration.
As an independent developer of both tools and courses regarding SAP I get to talk to quite a few customers when presenting my tool. And I can see how the tool can help them in the process of planning their workflow.
Some of the most common challenges I see are as follow:
* How the change in integration
* Cloud means
* S4 also impacts the way most will be doing integration
Key question: Where is your architecture?
Many people working with SAP are struggling with understanding CPI and how it should fit into their organization. There seems to be a spike in the number of requests for projects, and the developers have to skilled in both CPI and PI. It is of course very important to ensure that the developers do not break anything. The key question is where your architecture should be.
Automize your testing
Figaf´s IRT is a tool made for testing. It will automize many of the things you do manuale, and it will lower your number of errors. It will help you test:
What kind of impact it will have.
Will be more widly used
Hope that we will be the place of choise for customers wanting a better testing framework
Will see how we can integrate with it, when customers are there
IRT also offers Monitoring:
CPI is quite a different way to monitor than PI.
Need some external tool for it
The best way to implement
Finally, IRT gives you great input when you have to find out, when is the best way to implement:
If you have the data in the delivery but
Can see how the tool fits your organisation
Regression when making changes.
032 – Successfactor integration with Luke Marson
I had the pleasure of having Luke Marson as a guest in the Integration Podcast who is a solution architect at Ixerv. He is an experienced solution architect and widely-recognized expert in SuccessFactors and SAP ERP HCM. He Provides end-to-end HR and HR technology strategy, advisory, assessments, roadmaps, transformation, optimization, and implementation services for large, global enterprise customers.
Luke Marson has been around the SAP space for a decade, more than half of that is within the SAP SuccessFactors space. He has been solution architect, integration architect, a lead consultant, a project director and also different roles over the years, working with customers on SAP SuccessFactors transformations.
A proven, powerful integration platform
There are a few different options, you can look at it from a perspective of middleware technology, from API´s and then from functionality within SuccessFactors itself. So, from a middleware perspective when you subscribe to employ central, as part of the subscription customers will get a subscription for SAP Cloud platform integration, and that essentially provides you with an unlimited amount of integration connections as long as one end of the integration, either the inbound or outbound, is touching the employee central system. Now it is a proven, powerful integration platform, previously SAP had up in the atmosphere into the employee central subscription. That´s still available for customers on request, most costumes are getting the news in the SAP cloud platform integration as their middleware employee central.
There are two core foundational API´s, there is the SuccessFactor API, that’s the original SOAP-based API and now the OData V2 and V4 that are taking over. There is also the Integration Center that allows business users to perform integration and developing reports them self. There is some collaboration between the two sides.
After doing a SuccessFactors project I do understand some of the complexity of the suite and what needs to be integrated. We cover some of the pre-packaged content where a lot of the modifications is because of customization on the backend SAP systems. Here some of your customizations will cause the integration to be more difficult.
031 – SAP Open Connectors
I had the pleasure of having Bogdan Petrescu as a guest in the Integration Podcast. He is the director of Strategic Accounts at Cloud Elements – a fast growing API integration platform for SaaS companies and enterprises. I think we had a great talk, and it was very interesting to hear Bogdan Petrescus thoughts on what SAP Open Connectors can do.
One of the key challenges for integration strategy for SAP customers and partners are becoming connectivity to third-party applications. One gap has been the ability for those services to make the third part application easier so that users don’t have to build their own connectors.
Open Connectors is a way to fill that gap and take all the amazing integration services, that have already been delivered and continue to be innovating and basically add third part connectivity as a component directly in the product. Developers working on the platform of Cloud Elements do not have to work with other types of API or connectivity message, everything on the open connectors platform is exposed to a rest API.
170 application connectors
The Open connector platform has about 170 application connectors which are market-leading apps across marketing, sales automation, payments and more. It is possible to build new connectors to every endpoint who is offering an API.
When it comes to mapping data that’s traveling between SAP a not SAP-systems it can be quite a challenge because those applications are not requiring to maintain any kind of standard data model of course. So along with the mapping method, one of the normalization components is the ability to work with consumer data. As long as the endpoint to CPI that is used in the connector allows access to the custom data, is will be possible to translate that through API´s.
So when you are building those virtual data resources or even doing mapping and CPI which works perfectly as well, you are working with a full payload and not just a standard field of objects.