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.

Integration

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 friendEclipse 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.

Steps

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

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2. Build a very simple integration process.

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3. Create a mapping between the two WSDL files

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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

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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.


Conclusion

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.

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18 Comments

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  1. Luke Marson

    Hi Dick,

    Good work and an interesting POC. It is interesting about the applications you chose (no-SAP to non-SAP) and the comments in the blog link at the end of your blog. I believe that SAP must be considering non-SAP to SAP since a number of current and potential SuccessFactors customers do not use SAP and by excluding this group of customers they are limiting the potential upsell of HCI. However, the complexity of providing integrations for other core HR systems might outweigh this potential upsell.

    Best regards,

    Luke

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    1. Richard Hirsch Post author

      Luke,

      I’m going to watching to see what sort of SuccessFactors-related content is available on HCI – especially to see what sort of offers partners can provide in this area. SuccessFactors already has a close relationship with Boomi and my assumption is that HCI-based integration would have to provide additional value to challenge this existing relationship.

      D.

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      1. Luke Marson

        Hi Dick,

        All of the NWPI content for the Hybrid model is available on HCI. There doesn’t seem to be any plans for HCI to have any Employee Central content – it looks like Boomi will stay the platform of choice for Employee Central.

        Best regards,

        Luke

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        1. Richard Hirsch Post author

          There doesn’t seem to be any plans for HCI to have any Employee Central content – it looks like Boomi will stay the platform of choice for Employee Central.

                             

          That is exactly where things get interesting.  This is all from the perspective of SAP.

          My assumption is that HCI is integration neutral. You are correct in saying that Boomi is the platform of choice for Employee Central. If a partner, however, decides to create a similar solution on HCI, technically this should be possible.  The resulted integration package would then be available in some sort of marketplace. I’m hoping that SAP won’t exercise “editorial control” over the integration packages that come from partners – even if such ecosystem-created content competes with non-HCI-based integration offers.

          D.

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          1. Luke Marson

            Hi Dick,

            I am hoping that a partner does produce the same content on HCI because I don’t think SAP will invest in this. There doesn’t seem to be much incentive for them to invest on reproducing the content. Maybe they will create a way of importing this configuration from another platform or provide native functionality to read directly from SuccessFactors and allow simple mapping.

            Best regards,

            Luke

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  2. Fons van Nuland

    Hello Richard,

    Nice POC for integration between Workday and Succesfactors.

    The Integration Designer perspective in Eclipse for HCI is indeed very much the same as the perspectives for Netweaver BPM and PI 7.3 Therefore the development will be very easy to adopt.

    Your scenario is correct but it actually misses some configuration. Within HCI, SOAP senders are obliged to do authentication with certificates. Therefore Workday has to identify at HCI with a certificate. At the other end, Salesforce will require a certificate to logon. Therefore you also need to configure these certificates in your iFlow. This is all well documented in your mentioned link above.

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    1. Richard Hirsch Post author

      Hi,

      Good eyes.

      Actually, I didn’t forget the step with certificates – I just didn’t describe it in the blog. I didn’t have access to the Workday certificate so I used a fake one from another site.

      D.

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  3. diptee s

    Hello,

    Unfortunately, an integration with Salesforce through HCI does not seem possible as of now, we tried it. As Salesforce needs a dynamic SOAP header with a session ID and HCI does not support dynamic SOAP headers as of now 🙁 .

    BR,

    Diptee

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    1. diptee s

      Hello Fons,

      I have tried it, but the content I specify for the header does not appear in the target payload 🙁 . Only the modification for body tag works in case of SOAP adapter.


      Also checked with SAP guys on this, they confirmed that HCI does not support dynamic SOAP headers as of now.

      BR,

      Diptee

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      1. Fons van Nuland

        Too bad! You could also use an XSLT mapping instead of message mapping and define the SOAP header in your XSLT mapping.

        In this way you could succeed?

        Best regards,

        Fons

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          1. Fons van Nuland

            Did you define the receiver adapter as a HTTP adapter when using the XSLT? In that way it does not standard use an SOAP envelope and you can define the whole payload in your mapping. If you use the SOAP adapter then your payload will be placed within the SOAP body.

            Hope this will work.

            Best regards,

            Fons

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