SAP Cloud Platform supports a wide variety of integration scenarios. And just like the SAP app ecosystem, it includes tools that provide significant flexibility. But SAP Cloud Platform integration options are complex, and there is some overlap, which can lead to confusion over choosing the right tool for the job.
The complexity reflects, in part, SAP’s need to ensure governance, risk and compliance (GRC) requirements are maintained when SAP Cloud Platform is used to extend enterprise applications.
SAP Cloud Platform Integration services are focused squarely on supporting cloud scenarios, such as B2B transactions, or integrating between various SaaS apps and SAP applications running in the cloud. At a high level, there are really two categories of integration: one for process integration, such as for B2B transactions, and another for data integration of applications, like analytics and machine learning.
Many tooling tradeoffs
Enterprise architects must weigh several tradeoffs when considering SAP Cloud Platform Integration tools against third-party alternatives. “The main pros are related to the fact that these services include pre-packaged integration content (adapters, connectors, etc.) for the SAP SaaS applications (S/4HANA Cloud, Ariba, SuccessFactors, Hybris, etc.), which makes integration easier and faster,” Massimo Pezzini, a research director at Gartner, wrote in an email interview. “SAP provides AI-assisted tools to rapidly discover the most suitable of these assets.”
The main limitation of SAP Cloud Platform Integration is it is designed to support cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-ground integration, but not ground-to-ground integration. This makes the tools less useful for integrating SAP and third-party applications that are both on premises. To address these scenarios, SAP provides other tools, such as SAP Process Orchestration and SAP Data Services. However, they are only partially compatible with SAP Cloud Platform, which implies some duplication of technologies and skills, Pezzini said.
SAP’s main offerings, such as S/4HANA and ERP Central Component, include several APIs based on open standards, such as REST, OData and Web Services, as well several proprietary APIs, including Business Application Programming Interface, Application Link Enabling, intermediate document and Remote Function Call. Pezzini said SAP integration is one of the most common use cases supported by integration platforms. Tools such as Software AG’s webMethods, Tibco BusinessWorks, Dell Boomi, MuleSoft, Informatica, IBM Integration Bus, Jitterbit and many others have a proven track record in enabling SAP integration.