Integration can mean different things to different people. For business users, integration can mean seamless data flows between applications; to mobile application developers, integration means real-time access to backend systems; for other user groups, integration can mean data integration and B2B exchanges between buyers and suppliers; to still others, it means a distinct abstraction layer. As a result, different companies have different approaches to integration based on their core pedigree.
For SAP, our pedigree started 45 years ago with the first ERP system release in 1973. More recently, SAP has purchased multiple cloud-based SaaS applications, each one focused on a different line of business. In addition, SAP has enjoyed success with our real-time SAP HANA database capabilities. As a result, SAP approaches integration from the perspective of solving our customer’s end-to-end business needs. SAP appreciates that the reason why integration is so important to both CIOs and CEOs collectively is not because of technology interest, but because integration solves business problems.
The C-Suite increasingly requires faster business performance. To obtain faster business performance, companies need real-time data access across their organization. Companies also need to be able to act quickly once real-time data has been achieved. This could mean faster financial reconciliations at the end of a quarter, working in real-time with partners, suppliers, and customers, and/or empowering employees to make business-impacting decisions.
SAP Cloud Platform Integration Success Stories
To help illustrate these points, I want to quickly showcase some SAP Cloud Platform Integration Suite customer examples.
NTUC Fairprice is a grocery retailer based in Singapore. Every day, NTUC Fairprice services over 100,000 customers across 100 supermarkets and 50 convenience stores. It’s critical in such a fast-paced business environment for Fairprice to obtain real-time updates and information relating to the underlying business performance.
- With the help of SAP, they have rolled out a mobile application to their employees that empowers them to make real-time updates to store-specific inventory levels. It was the SAP Cloud Platform Integration Suite that provided Fairprice’s workforce with end-to-end connectivity to their digital core systems.
PostNL recently pivoted their business to become more e-commerce centric. PostNL, like many traditional mail carriers, saw that letter volume was continually declining whereas demand for package delivery was rapidly increasing.
- In order to position itself correctly, PostNL opted for SAP’s API Management capabilities, which enabled PostNL to establish digital relationships with local e-commerce providers who were seeking to take advantage of PostNL’s last mile delivery capabilities and expertise.
- With SAP API Management, PostNL can now digitally accept shipping requests, confirm pick up and drop off details as well as facilitate consumer facing package updates.
- PostNL was also in a position to monetize some of the geolocation expertise by using API Management to sell local delivery address related information. In this case, SAP API Management helped PostNL pivot their underlying business by enabling them to harness new market opportunities and associated revenues.
Fulfilling Customer Needs
When evaluating integration providers I encourage you to consider the vendor’s respective market positioning and pedigree. A standalone integration provider might seek to position the most impressive and detailed middleware platform. But a standalone integration’s platform can be expensive to implement, require associated governance and ultimately task prioritization. Standalone integration platforms can also be hard to staff and slow to complete related tasks due to the complexity and specialist skills required.
Integration should be as simple as possible, always with the purpose of helping intelligent enterprises run better. SAP’s integration solutions
- Achieve this through pre-packaged content for common application to application data flows
- Seek to enable direct API calls to systems wherever possible, removing the need for expensive, complicated middleware altogether
- Promotion of the latest best practices, which in turn can achieve operating efficiencies for the integration flows as well as the underlying applications
Integration is about more than just application to application, or company to company.
- SAP’s complete Enterprise iPaaS portfolio of related services helps customers with integration challenges across the organization.
- Whether you’re seeking a comprehensive integration platform now or in the future SAP has a complete set of Data, Process, API, B2B, B2G, Event driven and micro-services capabilities.
Integration needs to accommodate cloud environments. Customers are under pressure to perform like never before. The digital age is forcing companies to take advantage of the latest technologies or risk being disrupted. Digital migrants (companies that existed before the Internet age) have a lot of intellectual property and assets that need to be harnessed in addition to all the latest cloud capabilities. SAP
- Approaches cloud to ground integration with empathy for our customer’s day to day challenges
- Leverages the latest capabilities in application development and associated integration capabilities to make our customer’s lives easier
Integration ultimately must focus on the user. SAP is continually looking at integration across the intelligent suite, seeking ways to make integration as easy as possible so our customers can in turn focus on the most important issues and initiatives in front of them. We
- Work closely with individual line of business stakeholders to understand how integration needs impact their respective organizational pillars with the goal of providing these valued stakeholders with the integration solutions they need
- Provide an easy to use integration UI that is intuitive and quick to leverage
- Make the ongoing operation of integration technology easier than ever in cloud environments
Cloud integration packages should be flexible.
- SAP Cloud Platform integration customers enjoy the choice of purchasing integration capabilities on an individual basis, as part of an integration bundle, or as part of a consumption-based model that covers both integration and application development aspects.
- Under this last commercial structure customers can leverage all aspects of our platform-as-a-service, which covers not only integration, but also important application development, digital experience and dev-op focused capabilities.
At the end of the day, as you approach your integration challenges, consider the perspective your potential integration vendors are starting with. Are their goals aligned to yours? Do they understand your underlying business problems? Are they seeking to help make your life easier? Can you achieve your ever changing business goals over time?