Introduction

Are you going through an SAP PI/PO upgrade decision paralysis and due to make a ‘go’ or ‘no-go’ action on an SAP PO upgrade?  Or are you looking for an integration product that is ‘fit for the future’ and connects all your current and potential applications for your organization?

Ain’t it hard to put up a business case for an integration platform upgrade or replacement to business and get the buy in unless the vendor withdraws support? Ain’t the upgrade or replacement project often executed as IT only project because business fail to see direct financial benefits ( Really, Are there any 🙂 benefits for upgrades that use shift and lift methodology )?

I hope I can provide you with some insights to help you make that decision – if you have the patience to read the blog!

“In the new world, it is not the big fish which eats the small fish; it’s the fast fish which eats slow fish.” – Klaus Schwab



Rise of Robots & Fourth Industrial Revolution

With the rise of robots, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the explosion of mobile technology, driver less cars, genetic engineering, cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT), we live in a world of limitless possibilities. These technological advances are changing the way we live, work and interact with each other and the machines in the physical and digital world.

According to the World Economic Forum, the blurred lines between physical, digital and biological spheres amount to a Fourth Industrial Revolution.



Integration landscape in 2050

In the future, will AI help us download our brains onto laptops? Will I be going to a beauty salon in 2050 in a driver less car, which uses IoT to advise me which haircut is trending and then finds me a highly rated salon – via social channels – located in my vicinity and offers me the best price and then books an appointment automatically with that salon?

Will AI provide details of the haircut to the hair stylist automatically and rate the salon on social channels after the hair cut is done using facial recognition sensors? Will it automatically teleport a photo of my new hairstyle to my sister in the USA and post the image on social media channels?

What would integration road maps look like in future for such a model? Would the future of integration allow the connection of humans with the physical world and robots and AI assistants in the digital world?

Changing ‘Industry Trends’ in integration

Back in 2004, when I did my first course on SAP XI 3.0, I thought integration was all about connecting two systems. After few years, the buzz words ESB products and SOA methodologies changed how we integrate applications and expose services over the web. At that point in time, if someone claimed that they could run enterprise apps using a touch screen on my phone, I probably would have classified them as slightly crazy.

I have seen the biggest shift in technology and watched consumers guzzle content access services within a decade, and the lesson I have learnt is the world is changing at a faster pace than the speed at which your brain adjusts to the change.

The biggest lesson Nokia taught the world was “Innovate or Die”,  No Secret! Android and Apple Crushed Nokia because it moved too slowly.




Gartner iPaaS Reference Model – SAP

Industry trends are changing in the integration space very rapidly and according to Gartner, Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) is a form of Platform as a Service (PaaS), which enables users to “implement integration projects involving any combination of cloud-resident and on premise endpoints”. This approach means that iPaaS can develop, deploy, execute, manage and monitor integration flows, linking multiple parameters, such as applications, data sources, APIs and processes and devices.

According to the Gartner Magic Quadrant report in 2015, SAP is positioned as an iPaaS visionary because it’s adapting to changing market conditions – although the portfolio isn’t fully streamlined. SAP also acquired API Edge to re-position itself as a market leader in this space, but the SAP PO road map is dynamically changing.

Would SAP consolidate all products on the HANA Cloud Platform and provide cloud-based subscription, using drag and drop interfaces to connect applications, data and processes and devices? SAP has the appetite and a big enough wallet to innovate and streamline their portfolios and emerge as the market leader.

SAP PI/PO upgrade decision paralysis

While the SAP PI/PO upgrade and migration projects provide organizations with many new features and operational and strategic benefits including building innovative interfaces at a rapid pace, companies can only benefit when they revisit their integration road map for the future. Businesses must identify the potential candidate business processes and critical interfaces and review how they can redesign innovative processes (not just interfaces:)) to exploit new capabilities and technology advancements to reap the maximum strategic and financial benefits.

Isn’t migrating all the interfaces without reaping the strategic and financial benefits of the enhanced functionality like serving old wine in a new bottle?

Where do we go from here?

We need to strike a delicate balance between emptying company wallets using a cost-benefit matrix on an upgrade project and finding out that product doesn’t fit future business objectives or have a new version of the product (or a different product) that offers more strategic, operational and financial flexibility. The best approach should be to revisit your integration roadmap and assess the product fitness and align the upgraded projects with current industry trends and future integration strategies and business objectives.

“Digital is the main reason just over half of the companies on the Fortune 500 have disappeared since the year 2000.” –  Pierre Nanterme


If you want your organization to be trading in the next century with a comparative advantage over competitors then you should get your organization integration platform and strategy right for current and future landscapes.

What do you all think? Please post your ideas!

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6 Comments

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  1. Bhavesh Kantilal

    Sravya,

    I remember the days when we were involved in “Middleware Portfolio Rationalization” discussions where customers tried to consolidate multiple Integration Solutions across a single Integration Platform.

    The way I see things in the Integration space at-least over the next decade ( I am not willing to gaze down 2050, its way beyond my comprehension ) is that integration landscapes would evolve into a best of breed integration platforms with both iPaaS and On-Premise ESB’s in place but major of the new integration’s being done on iPaaS platforms thanks to the new breed of Integration requirements.

    The pace of change in the technology space means getting new “Adapters” / “Connectors” for new dimension integration’s on a Customer’s on-premise ESB hub is going to get extremely difficult due to long upgrade cycles and dependencies . This is where iPaaS platforms will rule as adapters / connectors / mappers are available off the shelf every month/ quarter!

    My rule of thumb these days is – if one end if a Cloud Application, iPaaS is the way to go and customers investing in these technologies now would do well ( at-least their Integration Competency Centers )

    Hybrid Integration ( & Platforms ) is the future


    Regards,

    Bhavesh

    PS: Am glad you are back to contributing on SCN!

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  2. Sravya Talanki Post author

    Bhavesh, Moon shot Man 😈 !  Hands on heart, most of the interfaces in many of the fortune 100 companies are still file based. 😏 .:)

    The alignment of business and IT is still a challenge and will be even more challenging to bridge the gap in the next century. Will we will still have legacy systems even in next century 😯 , my fortune telling parrot tells me that we will 😀 ?

    The world is not full of Elon Musk Army to catch up with advancements in technology 😕 !

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    1. Bhavesh Kantilal

      True that which is why Hyrbid Integration Platforms hold the key.

      While legacies will continue to exist ( and even thrive ) including classical File based Interfaces [ I still do like File based Interfaces ], when there is a need for Integration using newer communication patterns, iPaaS will help organizations get such Integration in place at a faster place. This means Business trust in IT doing what they need without using the word “Upgrade” [ read more $$ required ] will lead to a more openess to change!

      My hope is Organizations pick up an iPaaS platform and start trying to figure out who and why they would like to use them as that would eventually help them in realising Integrations at a faster pace and gaining a much needed Business trust!

      But yes, this is what I hope and this is going to be a slow transition!

      Regards

      Bhavesh

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  3. Ravi Carpenter

    Hi Sravya,

    Good to see your blog (I’m seeing one after long time from you, maybe I’m mistaken). I really liked the point wherein you mentioned that just upgrading existing interfaces to new version is like serving old wine in new bottle. Innovative interfacing needs to be done and companies need to align their integration needs with the future trends

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