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SAP Cloud Platform Integration (f.k.a HCI) – A complementary offering to SAP Process Orchestration

A lot of ambiguity is seen wrt. usage of SAP Process Orchestration and SAP Cloud Platform Integration (f.k.a SAP HANA Cloud Integration or HCI) and in short referred as Cloud Integration. Even heard that Cloud Integration is a replacement of PI/PO which is not TRUE. Cloud Integration is public since 2013. And we get from time to time, questions on the difference between Cloud Integration and SAP Process Integration/Orchestration. Let us understand on both the offerings:

 

SAP Process Orchestration provides on-premise middleware platform to design, model, execute and monitor business processes by ensuring connectivity to multiple different business / technical systems and applications (SAP and non-SAP). Along with the options of creating human and/or system centric processes, it offers the following products under one umbrella:

 

  • SAP Process Integration (including B2B Add-On and Connectivity Add-On)
  • SAP Business Process Management
  • SAP Business Rules Management

 

SAP Cloud Platform Integration is a SAP’s strategic secure cloud-based integration platform with a strong focus on process and data integration across domains (SAP Financial Services Network (FSN), SuccessFactors, Cloud for Customers, Ariba, Business by Design, Travel On Demand etc.). It provides you the Process Integration (HCI-PI) and Data Integration (HCI-DS) capabilities.

 

SAP Cloud Platform Integration enables you to connect your cloud applications quickly and seamlessly to other SAP and non-SAP applications (on-cloud or on-premise) without extensive coding. This integration as a service solution from SAP can help you integrate your business processes and data in a secure and reliable environment. Also, another important point to understand is that cloud integation is not SAP Process Integration on cloud. It is a new product that runs on SAP Cloud Platform. Cloud Integration is designated as IPaaS — Integration Platform as a Service.

 

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As both the products are from SAP, SAP has provided a way to re-use your existing investments on SAP Process Orchestration wrt. message mappings that can be readily used in SAP Cloud Platform Integration. Both the solutions are complementary and lot of factors decide on which solution to be used:

 

1.    Cloud to cloud integration. There are many use cases that derive integration from one cloud solution to another. E.g. SuccessFactors to SHL or PeopleAnswers or Workforce integration. These cloud solutions can be SAP or non-SAP.  Right choice of the solution for this use case would be SAP Cloud Platform Integration as there is no on-premise involvement and most important fact to understand is that customer has invested on cloud to get  everything as an hosted/subscription model including integration to avoid capital expenditure and development of technology skill set.

 

2.    On-premise integration: There are use cases when a customer wants to integrate mainly on-premise systems and applications. These can be SAP or non-SAP. As all systems/applications need to be connected reside in customer’s on-premise landscape, the right technology to use is on-premise middleware i.e. SAP Process Orchestration.

 

3.     Cloud to on-premise and vice versa: We also call it as hybrid integration use case. This integration area is causing most of the confusion.  Let us see  the different factors that need to be considered to decide which solution fits best:

 

    1. If a customer is already having PO/PI and wants to leverage the same, SAP has introduced the required technical adapters e.g. SuccessFactors adapter, Ariba cXML adapter etc. to connect to the respective cloud applications. So SAP Process Orchestration can be continued as a single middleware in customer’s landscape covering both integration needs.
    2. If customer is not having PI/PO, immediate right choice would be to use SAP Cloud Platform Integration as a minimal up-front investment. SAP Cloud Platform Integration is a multi-tenant solution specially built for cloud integration usecases.
    3. There are many usecases that exist when the customer is on PI, but still SAP Cloud Platform Integration can be considered for cloud Integration. Few examples:
      • Customer is thinking to move into the cloud and requires speed integration of new cloud applications for business innovation and Pre-packaged content is only available on SAP Cloud Platform Integration, then SAP Cloud Platform Integration is the right choice.
      • From the different LOBs perspective, they want to have integration bundled within cloud application to achieve faster results and keep a bifurcation of different integration use cases. So, customers can have one middleware each for cloud integration and for on-premise integration use cases respectively.
      • PI is on older release and does not have all the technical adapters available with latest release. Customers do not want to invest on upgrade.

 

Though SAP Cloud Platform Integration is already capable of integrating cloud applications via custom integration, in cloud era, lot of focus is on simplicity, quick configurations and deployments. Pre-packaged content is of utmost importance. As of today (Jan. 2015), lot of pre-packaged integration content is already available on SAP Cloud Platform Integration:

  • SAP Cloud for Customer (C4C) with SAP ERP
  • SAP Cloud for Customer (C4C) with SAP CRM
  • SAP SuccessFactors LMS Curricula with SAP HCM Qualification
  • SAP SuccessFactors HCM Suite Competency with SAP HCM Qualification
  • SAP SuccessFactors HCM Suite Talent Management with SAP HCM
  • SAP SuccessFactors Recruitment Management (RCM) with 3rd party assessment vendor PeopleAnswers
  • SAP SuccessFactors Recruitment Management (RCM) with 3rd party assessment vendor SHL
  • SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central (EC) with 3rd party benefits vendor Benefitfocus
  • eDocument (Electronic Invoicing) solution with government solution in Peru (SUNAT) and Chile (SII)

 

Lot of other pre-packaged content is under development for Ariba, SAP SuccessFactors (e.g. Employee Central Payroll, Cost Centre, Org integration) and other cloud applications that is s planned to get released during next release cycles.

 

Also, as SAP Cloud Platform Integration is having monthly release cycles, it becomes interesting to check continuously and keep yourself up-to-date on the newly released features and upcoming pre-packaged content. 

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