A first attempt at using HANA Cloud Integration to integrate Workday and Salesforce
Early this week, I blogged about the release of new documents concerning HANA Cloud Integration (HCI). As I was reading these documents, I thought about the various integrations that might be possible with this new technology. I was feeling a bit naughty and thought – “I wonder if it would be possible to use this technology to integrate Workday and a SAP Back-end”.
Starting to do some research on this idea, I ran across an article about a recent agreement between Workday and Salesforce:
Under a technical agreement and go-to-market strategy, Salesforce and Workday will do the following:
- Salesforce will standardize on Workday’s applications.
- Workday will standardize on Salesforce’s applications and platform.
- Workday will integrate Salesforce with Workday’s human capital management software, financials and big data analytics software.
- Salesforce will integrate Workday into Chatter and other applications. [SOURCE]
Then, I had an even more amusing thought – “What about a Workday – Salesforce integration”.
Since the Eclipse-based software for HCI is already available, I decided to see how far I could get with my nefarious – no – heretical plan.
Unfortunately, I had a few hurdles to achieve my mischievous plan:
- I would be unable to actually deploy my integration since I didn’t have access to a real tenant in the HCI cloud environment.
In the operation subsystem preferences (WindowPreferencesSAP HANA Cloud IntegrationOperations Server) specify the URL provided to you by SAP.
This meant that I was just restricted to playing with the design-time environment. The runtime environment / operations views with all the cool monitoring stuff wouldn’t be available.
- I’m not a domain expert in HCM or CRM or a technical expert in Workday or Salesforce– so my integration probably wouldn’t be optimal.
Since I saw that both Workday and Salesforce both used SOAP, I started looking for example WSDL files. It turned out to be more difficult than expected but I finally discovered what I needed. I got the Salesforce WSDL file from an example Java project and the Workday WSDL file from their public API site.
Note: I was unable to find publicly available WSDL files for most SAP Cloud applications – it looks like such files are just available for partners. The one exception is for SuccessFactors where various APIs / WSDL files were found – though I have no idea whether they are still valid or not.
A Caveat for PI Developers / Partners: Prepare to meet an old friend – Eclipse Tools for HCI appear to be very similar to existing Process Integration Eclipse tools. They could even be the same tools. I’m not a PI expert, so I can’t make that judgment call. This similarity shouldn’t be a reason for disappointment but rather excitement in that existing PI developers / partners can exploit their previous experience to rapidly use this new cloud-based technology.
Note: I’m not going to going to describe all the preliminary steps (project creation, etc) – you’ll find an excellent description in the HCI Developer documentation.
1. Import both WSDL files into Eclipse
2. Build a very simple integration process.
3. Create a mapping between the two WSDL files
The WSDL files from each participant were difficult to understand and my mapping between the two WSDL files was valid but not correct in terms of actual / functional associations.
Caveat: I’m obviously missing tons of functionality such as authentication, etc
4. Deploy to the new integration to my tenant in the cloud
Full stop – without a valid tenant I can’t deploy anything. My initial attempt would have failed miserably in the runtime if I had actually tried to start it but with more work, accounts on Workday and Salesforce, etc, I’m sure that eventually it would be functional.
When I started this exercise, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to use the Runtime features. Yet, I still decided to try out the new functionality. My primary motivation was a response to a comment on an earlier blog on HCI and Mulesoft:
While SAP will provide (in time) is own integration platform in the cloud, it will primarily be focused on SAP to SAP, similar to Netweaver PI is today. MuleSoft is one of the early access partners, focused on providing both cloud and ground based integration for SAP to non-SAP. Today we provide SAP certified connectors to ECC directly, through JCO, a native plug-in for Netweaver PI, as well as cloud connectors for both SAP Sales OnDemand, and SuccessFactors. [Source]
This comment implies that with HCI, SAP would concentrate on SAP-SAP integrations – primarily via the predefined content that SAP will provide. Partners – including Mulesoft – would cover SAP-non-SAP content – perhaps via other integration platforms. As my example above shows, HCI is neutral – as a partner, you can use HCI to deploy a variety of integration patterns (SAP — SAP, non-SAP – SAP, non-SAP – non-SAP). I assume that SAP itself has little interest in providing a Workday – Salesforce Integration, yet this potential is present and demonstrates the exciting promise that the platform will provide for the broader SAP ecosystem.