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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:–test-and-learn-more-about-sap-s-cloud-based-integration-solution.

For deeper dive on the data integration capabilities, follow Subha Ramachandran and Ben Hofmans.  They have posted several videos and e-learning’s.  

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 marketplaceFor 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   The blog series includes the following:

Blogs that apply to Integration with CRM and ERP

SAP Cloud for Customer Prepackaged Integration Content

How-To Guides and E-learning

Using HCI or PI

Coming soon:

Web Dispatcher as a Reverse Proxy


Initial Load

SAP Cloud for Customer Integration with ERP

Get ready to integrate

ERP configuration

Coming soon:

Cloud configuration

PI Configuration

HCI Configuration

SAP Cloud for Customer Integration with CRM

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  • Thanks for a great blog.  I've only seen one other blog in this space earlier and this definitely adds to that.  It's a tricky time as customers have even more options and they try to decide whether to leverage existing on premise solutions, a cloud based approach or even a balance of the best of both. 

    The best of both seems pretty handy in a transitional scenario to the cloud, especially whilst waiting for support for more adapters in HCI.  Costs of running something like this in parallel are always a factor, but having more options is certainly not a bad thing...

    • Hi Katan,

      Thanks for your post.  If you are integrating to SAP  ERP/CRM  OP then use PI if you have it, if not use HCI - that's the central message we want to get across.  

      This is a new space and thanks for finding us before the official launch!   We will be posting new integration blogs each week   - so please follow the space and continue to provide feedback!

      All the best


  • Nicely explained.! Customers who are already on SAP PI, it will be hard to convince them to move on HCI but it will be interesting to see how HCI will make impact on there costing.



    • Sunil

      That is a good point.  I've has customers ask me who have small PI usage if they could migrate their PI usage to HCI.  This is not possible yet - HCI is only licensed in conjuction with specific cloud applications.  However, later in 2014 I can see the conversation on overall costing of PI op versus HCI when you have a limited use of PI OP.  We'll see how it evolves!

      All the best


  • Are PI and Data integration platforms runs on separate instances? Any plans to merge these together onto one instance and make it more powerful integration tool. If not possible, at least we should have common window to monitor both applications.



    • HI Krishna

      Today when you purchase HCI you have rights to both the process integration and data integration capabilities.  These are delivered today with two different tenants. HCI provides a  Web User interface that harmonizes the UI for both.   



  • Hi Ginger,

    Where can I get information about licensing of HCI ? It will be a good alternative to PI for Cloud Integration. We are SuccessFactors partner and we have upcoming projects that will require on-premise integration but I couldn't get any information from local SAP about HCI (probably because it is just released). 



    • Hi Abdul

      This blog was written from the perspective of SAP Cloud for Customer.   HCI is also available for SuccessFactors application.  The pricing is a percentage of the net application subscription.  Would you please email me and I can send you a deck specific for partners on this.

      All the best


  • Hi Ginger,

    I would like to automate the budget update and maintenance process by integrating SAP FI with SAP TOD Cloud.  It doesn't make sense for users to update and maintain budget information in two separate systems (SAP FI and SAP TOD Cloud).   Looks like I can use HCI or NW?

    Thanks Ginger!

    • Hi Tanya

      This blog was written about integration with Cloud for Customer.  Each cloud application is a little different in the integration strategy.  My understanding is the prepackaged integration content for Cloud for Travel is direct integration or provided on NW PI.  You can use HCI for Cloud for Travel to other applications as you need, but the content provided by Cloud for Travel defaults to direct integration.   You can post integration questions specific to cloud for travel here: 

      My understanding is the Cloud for Travel has very few extensions/customizations by customers.  So, they have not had a driving requirement from customers to be able to extend and/or customize the mappings.   However, I'm not very knowledgeable on the details, so posting on the TOD site would be best.

      All the best


  • Hi Ginger,

    Not only the blog but your overall work on HCI is really nice.

    I just have one query, how the scenario transport will be done from Test to Production environment ( if I am not wrong there are only 2 environments in HCI).



  • Hi Ginger,


    Could please make a video on End to End integration flow as it would be helpful and easier for us to learn quickly..