SAP cloud platform’s integration services have gained much popularity during recent times and many customers are interested in doing a proof of concepts (POC) and then take up a project to migrate some or all of the interfaces to cloud platform. I have worked on both the business cases. We have a customer who is running complete custom business scenarios on SAP cloud platform. This being said still integration services lack some of the features which are available in the SAP Process Integration (SAP PI) or Process Orchestration solutions (SAP PO) which are on-prem solutions.Some of which are B2B capabilities and respective adapters to handle EDI messages. SAP is aware of this requirement and they are investing a lot of money and rolling off new features every quarter so that customer can migrate to cloud solutions and run complex solutions by paying a subscription fee and not worry about upgrades and patches or even hardware maintenance. When I say complex business scenarios am taking about Application to Application (A2A) and Business to Business (B2B) scenarios which are very complex to develop due to following reasons.
- Data format between 2 parties involved in exchanging the data
- Mode of communications between 2 parties systems
- Requirement gathering from perspective of business functionality
- Gap analysis of the business requirement and functional requirement
- Development phase
- The testing phase which includes both unit testing from a development standpoint and UAT from a business perspective.
- Go-live phase
The above-mentioned phases of a project can be classified under 2 most popular terms used in any A2A and B2B projects called MIG’s and MAG’s the former is abbreviated as Message Implementation Guide (MIG) and latter is abbreviated as Mapping Guidelines. Developing MIG’s and MAG’s manually is a complex process which raises expense peak of a project and increases IT budget. This is the reason why many customers will not venture to take up these complex project when their landscape is complex and involves multiple integration touch points. SAP has provided cloud solutions to ease the integration process development and help the client to train their internal resource so that they would not have to spend a lot of money on integration experts. That being said still integration experience is always an addition to a complex A2A or B2B projects. SAP has implemented same philosophy towards reducing the complexity involved in A2A and B2B projects by introducing a tool called Integration Advisor. Integration Advisor is available as part of customer’s SAP Cloud Platform Integration tenant subscription.
Integration advisor will help in reducing the time and effort put in developing MAG’s and MIG’s phases of an A2A or B2B projects. Integration Advisor will provide a common platform for customers and partners by facilitating project team to use an interactive tool using which development team can input parameters which help develop MIG’s like message types for B2B projects and also define mapping according to associated MAG’s.
Let’s take a dig at how actually Integration Advisor works. Initially the tool will ask you to input the business criteria in form of parameters by using some basic filters which will allow you to create initial MIG’s and MAG’s which fulfills your business requirement, Then the interactive tool will help you to redefine MIG’s and MAG’s by providing more details about the specific message type and their usages in the business scenarios which needs to be developed. One important functionality which this tool provides is crowd-sourcing aspect in which companies and customers can use and contribute the data from and to SAP integration advisor knowledge database which will improve the quality of the packages, in turn, will improve MIG’s and MAG’s which will result in a better mapping that can be used in the directly in A2A and B2B business scenarios. Like any new tool comes with some restriction with respect to functionality likewise Integration Advisor has the following limitation. As of today using integration advisor, it supports only 8 message formats for ISO 20022 message which are listed below. SAP road maps are planning to supports many other ISO formats in Q4 of 2017.
The current edition of the standard includes eight parts, published in May 2013:
ISO 20022-1: Metamodel
ISO 20022-2: UML profile
ISO 20022-3: Modelling
ISO 20022-4: XML schema generation
ISO 20022-5: Reverse engineering
ISO 20022-6: Message transport characteristics
ISO 20022-7: Registration
ISO 20022-8: ASN.1 generation
In my next blog will try to cover SAP Integration Advisor in action.
Hope this helps!