SAP Cloud for Customer Integration: Use HCI or NW PI
Welcome to the blog series on SAP Cloud for Customer integration with SAP ERP and SAP CRM. This blog series walks through the integration guides, highlighting key considerations and providing tips and links to ensure you have all the information you need for integration.
This blog discusses the middleware options for integrating SAP Cloud for Customer with SAP ERP and SAP CRM.
When integrating SAP Cloud for Customer to SAP ERP and CRM you have 3 options:
- SAP HANA Cloud Integration
- SAP NetWeaver Process Integration (SAP NetWeaver Process Orchestration)
- 3rd party integration platform
SAP provides prepackaged integration scenarios for integration with SAP ERP /SAP CRM. These are discussed in the SAP Cloud for Customer (C4C) e-learning blog. We recommend you go through the e-learning before reading this blog series. The e-learning blog describes the integration scenarios and how the integration works. Additionally, it includes a link to integration demos.
The graphic below shows SAP’s recommendation to use either HCI or NW PI (or NW PO) for C4C integration with SAP ERP / SAP CRM.
The main message of this blog is the following: SAP Cloud for Customer recommends to use HCI or NW PI for integration with SAP ERP/CRM. If you already have NW PI (or NW PO) and actively use it, then we recommend you use NW PI for your SAP Cloud for Customer integration. If you do not use NW PI, then it is not required for you to install it, you can use HCI for the integration.
To explore the options further, let’s look at each option in more detail:
SAP HANA Cloud Integration
SAP HANA Cloud Integration is SAP’s cloud middleware technology that can be purchased on a subscription basis. It includes process integration capabilities as well as data integration capabilities. It is used by many of SAP’s cloud applications. The prepackaged integration content delivered by SAP Cloud for Customer leverages the process integration capabilities.
When using HCI for integration of SAP Cloud for Customer (C4C) with ERP or CRM you can use a Web User Interface to access all integration content, deploy, and monitor. If you need to change, extend, or develop your own integration scenarios, then you use the Eclipse user interface.
SAP’s recommendation is to use SAP HANA Cloud Integration for C4C integration to SAP ERP / SAP CRM if you do not have SAP NW PI on-premise, or you do not have skills on SAP NW PI. During this blog series we will talk more about HCI for SAP Cloud for Customer. We have several videos that describe the HCI configuration and setup for SAP Cloud for Customer.
This is short video introduces the HCI steps. The 12 minute video below shows the configuration of HCI for C4C integration with ERP.
We could have an entire blog series just on the HCI. To learn more about the process integration capabilities, follow Udo Paltzer. Here is one of his blogs introducing HCI: http://scn.sap.com/community/hana-in-memory/blog/2013/10/22/sap-hana-cloud-integration–test-and-learn-more-about-sap-s-cloud-based-integration-solution.
SAP NetWeaver Process Integration / SAP NetWeaver Process Orchestration
When integrating C4C to SAP ERP /SAP CRM SAP NetWeaver Process Integration / SAP NetWeaver Process Orchestration is the recommended option when you already have experience with SAP NetWeaver Process Integration. Many customers already have a significant investment in SAP NetWeaver PI. For customers using NW PI, then it is the best option for C4C integration as well. C4C integration requires at least NW PI 7.11. C4C integration content works with later release of NW PI and NW PO as well. Hopefully are already familiar with the PI space on SCN.
3rd party Integration Platform
If you want to use a 3rd party integration platform, that is totally fine. The prepackaged integration content provided by SAP was developed on HCI and NW PI. Leveraging HCI or NW PI enables you to more easily consume the prepackaged integration content. If you already have a significant investment in an existing on-premise or cloud middleware tool, then you can leverage this for C4C integration as well. It may take some development since SAP will not guarantee the prepackaged integration content usage on another platform.
Summary of pros/cons for each technology option
The following table summarizes the pros/cons of integration approaches for SAP Cloud for Customer integration with SAP ERP/ SAP CRM.
SAP NetWeaver Process Integration is recommended anytime you already use NW PI. If you have the skillset and you are using NW PI already, then the cloud application becomes another end-point for NW PI. All the prepackaged integration content, including ESR content, can be downloaded from the service marketplace. For customers who do not have an existing investment in NW PI, HCI is recommended. If you don’t already have NW PI, it requires installation, patches, tuning, keeping up with patches and changes to the core product itself. As your integration grows and you have cloud to on-premise and cloud to cloud integration, then you might want to move from NW PI to HCI for cloud to cloud integration.
HCI is recommended for all customers who do not use NW PI today. We do find some existing NW PI customers also choose HCI. This is normally for one of the following reasons:
- The NW PI release is older than NW PI 7.11
- They are currently upgrading to NW PO, but the upgrade will take more time than the C4C implementation. (For example, SAP Cloud for Customer implementation needs to be completed within 4-8 weeks).
- The NW PI resources are not available, or for other company- internal reasons NW PI cannot be used.
When using HCI, the implementation can be done by SAP, a partner, or the customer. SAP has the responsibility for up-time, keeping the runtime tuned and updated. The customer owns the actual integration. (For example, if an integration fails because the sales organization does not exist, that is the responsibility of the customer.) HCI adapters include SOAP, SFTP, IDOC XML, and SuccessFactors. If you need something like a mainframe adapter, then you should probably stick with NW PI. If you need to integrate to non-SAP systems that use SOAP, SFTP, then HCI can be leveraged.
Hopefully after reading this blog you understand that SAP Cloud for Customer recommends NW PI or HCI when integrating to SAP ERP/CRM. SAP’s prepackaged integration content is developed on NW PI and HCI. 3rd party middleware tools are also supported, but the tool may not be able to leverage the existing integration content, which would mean more integration content development during the project. However, this is certainly possible and makes sense when you already have a significant investment in another middleware tool.
Please check out the other blogs in our C4C integration blog series at http://scn.sap.com/community/cloud-for-customer. The blog series includes the following:
Blogs that apply to Integration with CRM and ERP
Web Dispatcher as a Reverse Proxy
HCI Web UI
SAP Cloud for Customer Integration with ERP
SAP Cloud for Customer Integration with CRM