SAP customers use SAP Ariba Solutions and Ariba Network as their backbone for procurement and for connecting their buyers and suppliers. Many of them leverage SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) as their technology platform and use SAP Integration Suite as the enterprise wide strategic iPaaS for integrating their many SAP and non-SAP applications.
The goal of this blog is to share the Integration strategy and approach for integrating SAP Ariba with other SAP and 3rd party applications.
As businesses grow, more spending is happening across additional channels using more payment methods than ever before. Customers are demanding more from the organizations they buy from and work with. They want more speed, better quality, the best experience, and full transparency into the impact their suppliers are making on the world.
It’s up to procurement and supply chain managers to control costs, manage risks, and make sure process doesn’t slow down progress. Using SAP Ariba’s market-leading spend management solutions and Ariba Network, companies are equipped to be responsive and responsible, both today and in the future.
Ariba Network makes it easy for buyers and suppliers to collaborate on transactions, strengthen their relationships, and discover new business opportunities. Buyers can manage the entire procurement process from source to settle, while controlling spending, finding new sources of savings, and building a healthy, ethical supply chain. Suppliers can help buyers achieve their procurement transformation goals, while boosting customer satisfaction, simplifying the sales cycle, and improving cash flow.
Now let us understand what the Integration options to bring the world of Ariba closer to the rest of your Business.
Ariba recommends Ariba Cloud Integration Gateway (CIG) to integrate their standard IES Integrations. CIG provides a simple and efficient Integration-as-a-Service (IaaS) solution. Under the hood its enabled by SAP Integration Suite and gives you a fast, simple way to connect your back-end systems without the need for multiple adapters. It provides intuitive self-service tools to let you quickly configure, extend, and test processes, while automated upgrades and monitoring make it easy to keep transactions flowing smoothly. SAP Ariba Cloud Integration Gateway is available to facilitate transactions between buyers and suppliers on Ariba Network as well as for integrating SAP Ariba cloud applications.
It runs on a dedicated tenant of SAP Cloud Integration to which the Ariba customers just need to activate their logon to (mapping their Id of the Ariba network/solutions) and simply configure the connection to their SAP ERP/ S/4 HANA system. It acts as a single gateway with prepackaged mapping content provides everything you need to make integrations fast and painless. It also takes care of the required data transformation (to cXML) to be passed to Ariba. The typical user persona for Ariba CIG would be a LOB user with specialization in procurement and IT.
Figure 1: Ariba CIG Architecture
You can learn more about Ariba CIG by joining the CIG Community
On the other hand, the scope covered by SAP Integration suite is much broader.
SAP Integration Suite is an enterprise integration platform as a service (eiPaaS) that allows you to seamlessly integrate any-to-any on-premise and cloud-based applications and processes with tools and prebuilt content managed by SAP. It is SAP’s strategic hybrid integration platform for the intelligent enterprise.
You can learn more about how Intelligent Enterprises are Integrated Enterprises by reading the Integration strategy paper and roadmap.
Figure 2: Intelligent enterprises are integrated enterprises.
SAP Integration Suite is built on the 3 keys principles to simplify and accelerate our customer integrations by providing E2E turnkey out-of-the-box content which will help you to reduce the TCO and maintenance for both SAP and non-SAP integrations, open Integration based on AI’s and 3rd party system connectors and AI driven integration to make your B2B integration development simple, efficient and easy.
Figure 3: SAP Integration key principles
SAP Integration Suite supports holistic out-of-the-box integrations for A2A and Process Integration, Master Data Integrations, B2B/EDI integrations, B2G (eGovernment) integrations, Data Integration/pipelines, Event-driven Integration and API-based Integrations acting as the foundation for process excellence across the value-chain. It is SAP’s recommended Integration platform for any-any cloud and hybrid Integrations. The typical user persona for the Integration Suite would be an integration expert or integration developer who can model and extend the integrations.
Figure 4: SAP Integration Suite, SAP’s Hybrid integration platform for the Intelligent enterprise.
Integration Suite supports any-any Integrations across the various value chains of an intelligent enterprise like Lead to Cash, Source to Pay, Hire to Retire etc. It supports integrations of various business processes within each of these like buyers and suppliers, exchanging Purchase orders, invoices and acknowledgments and enabling payments in Source to Pay integrations with SAP Ariba.
Figure 5: Netflix for Integrations with Integration Suite
You can learn more about SAP Integration Suite by joining our community
Ariba Integration Strategy
Ariba CIG is used to deliver these standard out-of-the-box integrations between SAP S/4HANA, SAP ERP and other IES scenarios (Concur/Fieldglass). Ariba CIG also supports field extensions through an easy wizard-based approach. But CIG does not support custom (non- standard) and 3rd party integrations, so here the recommendation is to use the SAP Integration Suite which SAP´s Hybrid Integration Platform, co-existing with CIG.
Figure 6: SAP Ariba Integration Approach
Also based on country specific guidelines, several customers do not want their ERP to directly talk to the cloud (especially in EMEA) and prefer a middleware in between (as shown below)
*SAP Integration Suite includes SAP Cloud Integration (f.k.a SAP CPI)
Figure 7: Customers using SAP Cloud Integration and Ariba CIG together
Ariba CIG is available as a part of the SAP Ariba offering while SAP integration suite can be licensed as part of SAP’s Business Technology Platform (BTP).
Ariba CIG and SAP integration suite are complementary, interoperable offerings and can co-exist. The two offerings should not be viewed as one vs another. While Ariba CIG greatly simplifies and provides you an accelerated way to connect SAP ERP to the world of Ariba, SAP Integration Suite provides you with a flexibility to model your extensions and orchestrate to connect Ariba to both SAP and 3rd party systems.
Many of our large enterprise customers are using both solutions together for Integrating with SAP Ariba and Ariba Network with the rest of their business.