Imagine you are an organisation in the midst of a Digital Transformation Initiative. You have committed time and resources and lots of money to build out a new front-office landscape in tandem with the next evolution of back-office and ERP. You have selected the best of breed products in the front-office categories from your most trusted vendor/supplier (SAP). However, there is a catch. While they are supposed to be ‘pre-integrated’ or ‘connected’ with OOTB connectors, it turns out that nothing is actually connected OOTB. Separate middleware and tooling of which there is a variety, needs to be acquired, deployed, configured, and then integration packages deployed and tested. What had initially appeared to be a seamless demonstration that generated awe and enthusiasm at the C-level of your company, is now turning to frustration and dissatisfaction.
An Analogy from Construction
Maybe you have understood that evaluating multiple integration products from this trusted supplier is a norm, and that it even opens the door for looking at integration products and services from competitors, let’s say Mule from Salesforce for example. This still might be OK if we were offering multiple different products from different categories that were never really intended to be integrated in the first place, but if we are selling a SUITE, should integration not be included? An analogy from construction might be, for example, in the middle of the buying process of a house, informing the buyer that they must select between suppliers for piping and plumbing, or a variety of electrical installation options when they have no idea yet how anything works together in the house, or what their on-going usage will look like. Its not realistic as the expectation is that the house should be delivered as a working unit, and is definitely not a good customer experience. It becomes even more complex for the customer to understand when some components of the Suite have integration services included, and some do not. As of writing, SAP Marketing Cloud, for example has SAP Cloud Integration for cloud application as an included service. How should the customer figure out a reasonable, future and upgrade proof integration strategy for this digital transformation initiative ?
How to move forward
Once we can see that Integration should be an ‘included service’ for a suite, the path towards less time consuming and complex projects becomes more clear. The burden of choice without sufficient information is removed from both the buyer and the supplier. Integration services will be paid for by the revenue from subscriptions of cloud applications. Including integration services is also a clear differentiator with competitors, such as Salesforce, that would have customers believe the can provide better integration capability and strategy than the vendors who supply the applications.
SAP CX has already began to move in this direction with the SAP C/4HANA Foundation and SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory.