The Story of Enhanced Integration for Asset Central Foundation Has Just Gone Viral!
Asset central foundation is the leading master data foundation for the following asset-centric solutions of SAP Intelligent Asset Management that are built on SAP Cloud Platform:
- SAP Asset Intelligence Network
- SAP Asset Strategy and Performance Management
- SAP Predictive Maintenance and Service
- SAP Predictive Engineering Insights
It is also our system of record used to perform day-to-day activities during the various asset phases; design, develop, construction, commission, operate, maintain, and service. Therefore, linking SAP Enterprise Asset Management (SAP EAM) within SAP ERP and asset central foundation is an essential integration requirement between multiple SAP products.
Having up-to-the minute information from asset-centric applications enables SAP EAM customers to make better decisions for handling equipment malfunctions or information shared by external stakeholders based on intelligent predictions.
Integration Component: Past Solution and 1906 Onwards
The original solution was based on SAP Notes. Data orchestration was centred on the SAP ERP side and didn’t provide transparency into life cycle events for asset data shared between asset central foundation and SAP ERP. The process of consolidation was cumbersome and ran in batch mode. In short, the solution required a renewal.
Our customers want real-time information and total visibility into the life cycle changes to asset data. The solution needs to run for hybrid and full cloud deployments. After a series of research and analysis iterations, we have come up with a solution that helps us address the integration challenges.
With the renewed solution, the data orchestration is distributed and requires new features to be built on both sides of the integration, in other words, in SAP ERP and asset central foundation.
The integration features make it possible to keep asset master data consistent between SAP ERP and asset central foundation. It relies on the following building blocks.
- Data model alignment and public APIs from asset central foundation. Open and published REST APIs for end-to-end connectivity.
- Message infrastructure based on Kafka events and event bus are used to publish messages from asset central foundation to external systems
- Real-time business events are triggered for push enablement using SAP mobile add-on for data changes to asset master and transactional data in SAP ERP.
- Queue processing to handle high volume data distribution with supported user experience to monitor queues.
- Configuration support to enhance field and value mappings
In a hybrid setup with SAP ERP on-premise, and asset management apps in the cloud, integration component supports two main patterns – replication and synchronization of asset data.
With the replication pattern, selected master data from the leading system (for example, SAP ERP) can be copied to asset management apps in the cloud and from thereon receives regular updates for master data revisions in the leading system. With a data synchronization pattern, master data can be created in one system and further enriched in the other, keeping data current between the systems throughout the life cycle. The latter has a distributed setup for the leading system.
The decision to support either of the patterns depends on the leading system and related processes in the involved systems. For instance, customers want to retain SAP ERP as the leading system for dependent non-asset data, for example, material master and customer master data, which is then consumed across enterprise-wide processes, including e.g. asset management. On the other hand, equipment master data originating in SAP ERP or asset central foundation can be further enriched in both systems with additional information.
With the enhanced integration, you can switch from synchronization to replication and not the other way around, which is not a technical challenge but a fundamental business decision that should be aligned with the definition of leading system as mentioned above. Integration component considers the following patterns based on the association between business objects and the leading system.
|Business Object and Related Data||Data Origin||Integration Pattern|
|Equipment (header data, hierarchies, characteristic values)||SAP ERP/ACF||Synchronization|
|Functional Location (header)||SAP ERP||Replication|
|Functional Location (hierarchies)||SAP ERP/ACF||Synchronization|
|Notifications (header)||SAP ERP/ACF||Synchronization|
|Notifications (items)||SAP ERP||Replication|
|Maintenance Orders||SAP ERP||Replication|
|Maintenance Strategies and related data||SAP ERP||Replication|
|Classification and Characteristics for Equipment||SAP ERP||Replication|
|Classification and Characteristics for Material||SAP ERP||Replication|
|Business Partner as external organization||SAP ERP||Replication|
Here are some of the key highlights of the new solution:
- (Near) Real-time synchronization
- Standard integration content with field and value mappings as business configuration
- Data synchronization can be managed with flexible configuration options
- Queue processing for handling high data volumes
- Inbuilt conflict resolution
- Monitoring based on SAP Mobile add-on admin and monitoring console.
The enhanced integration is more than a technical upgrade. It offers all the current integration functionality delivered with SAP Notes and provides options to configure and extend the solution. With the renewed solution, we address previous shortcomings and provide a stable base that helps us accelerate our integration offerings in future releases.