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Author's profile photo Frank Riesner

SAP Cloud Integration into SAP BW/4HANA

Dear BW enthusiasts,
integration has always been a hot topic in SAP environments. And now as business applications move to the cloud, I daresay the challenge will not vanish in future…

This blog post provides recommendations for integrating SAP´s cloud solutions into SAP BW/4HANA. In general, most approaches also apply to SAP BW 7.5 on SAP HANA; however, in this case you will have to leverage the classic source systems Web Service, Data Services or maybe External System instead of the ADSO write interface because this one is available from SAP BW/4HANA 2.0 only.

The below recommendations refer to common best practices which suit most conditions on the market. There are multiple additional options not listed here, and for some requirements and conditions other approaches might be more advantageous, of course. Hence, consider these integration patterns not as single point of truth! They are rather a solid foundation for an evaluation of the best individual integration approach for your organization.

Traditionally, external data is connected to SAP BW/4HANA through so-called DataSources which refer to a BW Source System of type Operational Data Provisioning (ODP), SAP HANA (Smart Data Access SDA / Smart Data Integration SDI) or simple flat files. Then Process Chains are used to pull the data into the BW applications.

On the other hand, there is the write interface which provides an option to push external data into the inbound queue of ADSOs. SAP offers several integration tools which can leverage this interface:

  1. SAP Data Services (DS), starting from release 4.2 SP12
  2. SAP Data Intelligence (DI), starting from release 2010 and BW/4HANA 2.0 SP07
  3. SAP Process Integration (PI), starting from release 7.5 SP15
  4. SAP Integration Suite as part of the Business Technology Platform (BTP), formerly also known as SAP Cloud Platform Integration (CPI)

Let´s not forget to mention, that this write interface is also open to 3rd party tools.

The remainder of this blog post provides details for specific SAP Cloud sources.

  1. SAP S/4HANA Cloud (full-fledged ERP) and SAP Marketing Cloud (CX/CRM)
    Here the extraction capability relies on ABAP CDS Views which serve as new type of “extractors” with proprietary delta capabilities. There are roughly three core activities required to prepare this approach:
    a) Setup a communication arrangement between both systems
    b) Create a new BW/4HANA ODP_CDS Source System
    c) Transfer the data from Cloud to the target BW/4HANA
  1. SAP Service Cloud and SAP Sales Cloud (CX/CRM)
    Formerly combined and known as “Cloud for Customer”, both sources leverage ODP in the context of ODP_BYD (SAP Business ByDesign) to provision data to SAP BW/4HANA. The communication is managed via HTTP/SOAP (Web Service). This ODP_BYD context builds on so-called Analysis Views as data sources in the cloud applications. The major customizing steps are similar to ODP_CDS in the previous paragraph; see more details in this blog post and the SAP help. Consider, that delta capabilities are not available currently (SAP note 2662674).
  1. SAP SuccessFactors (HCM)
    Here the recommended connection is based on SAP HANA SDI and its OData adapter. For this setup, SAP SuccessFactors provides an OData API called FormHeader. This API requires a HTTPS connection and therefore the client certificates need to be downloaded and then imported into the SAP HANA platform of the SAP BW/4HANA system.
    SAP even delivers SAP BW/4HANA standard content which is a great help to explore the reporting options with little effort. The following configuration activities are required (see also SAP note 2776343 – Connectivity to SuccessFactors for BW/4HANA Content):
    a) Export client certificates from the SAP SuccessFactors instance
    b) Import these certificates into SAP HANA database of SAP BW/4HANA
    c) Setup the SAP HANA SDI connection and create a RemoteSource
    d) Create Source System of type HANA_SDA in SAP BW/4HANA
    e) Create DataSources in SAP BW/4HANA
    f) Activate Content objects and adjust them as required in SAP BW/4HANA
  1. SAP Fieldglass (Vendor Relationship Management)
    SAP Fieldglass integration relies on CDI. CDI? Wait a second – here it is worth to spend more time actually:
    – CDI stands for Cloud Data Integration (yes another acronym..)
    – CDI is a new standard API from SAP
    – CDI relies on the OData V4 protocol
    – CDI is meant to get the default for consuming SAP Cloud Applications’ data in future
    – Currently, the SAP HANA SDI CDI Adapter and SAP Data Intelligence are able to connect to this API and provision the data to a target system like SAP BW/4HANA.
    As SAP Fieldglass has implemented this new standard API already, it is recommended to leverage it either via SDI or Data Intelligence (DI) to extract the data and load it to SAP BW/4HANA. For SAP BW 7.x only SDI is available, because DI requires SAP BW/4HANA 2.0 SP07 at least.
  1. SAP Ariba (Procurement)
    Here an Analytical Reporting API is available for extraction purposes. Currently, SAP Data Services and SAP Data Intelligence are the tools of choice to call this API, extract the requested data, and to send it to SAP BW/4HANA (based on write interface-enabled ADSO) or to SAP BW (Data Services Source System). The API can be used synchronously to retrieve smaller data sets, or but it is recommended to leverage it in asynchronous manner to retrieve larger amount of data. For smaller amounts of data SAP BTP Integration Suite might work as well.
  1. SAP Commerce Cloud (CX/CRM)
    SAP Commerce Cloud provides a sophisticated Integration API based on ODATA Services which provides the interface for a large variety of integration tools. While the default integration for operational scenarios with SAP S/4HANA are based on the SAP BTP Integration Suite, the mass data DWH extraction scenario might prefer SAP Data Services or SAP Data Intelligence as integration approaches. However, it really depends on the customer environment and what options are available already.
  1. SAP Concur (Travel Expenses)
    SAP Concur provides a so-called Intelligence Extract which provides travel expense data in a flat file format only, other data (e.g. travel data) is not available yet. These flat files can be loaded into SAP BW/4HANA via the Flat File source system, but of course all other integration tools listed in my blog post are also able to pick up and provision them to SAP BW/4HANA.


Outlook
As you saw above, a new SAP standard API is emerging called Cloud Data Integration (CDI). Additional SAP cloud solutions are on the way of adopting this API to become CDI providers for SAP BW/4HANA or SAP Data Warehouse Cloud in future, but there is no confirmed roadmap available at this point of time…
I will keep you posted about updates – stay tuned!

Big thanks to Stefan, Andreas, Michael, Johanna, Julio for your inputs to this challenging topic. Also thanks to Kalyan, Manos, Reto and Andrew for the fruitful discussions.

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      6 Comments
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      Author's profile photo Deniz Osoy
      Deniz Osoy

      Hi Frank, great blog! Very innovative, and future-oriented. I am sure, this will help the whole BW community. Thank you!

      Author's profile photo Emmanouil Kouvaritakis
      Emmanouil Kouvaritakis

      Great Blog!!!

      Author's profile photo Paul Vatter
      Paul Vatter

      hi Frank

      thank you very much, a very comprehensive blog which achieves a great overview! It will be once again a reference site for me to support the discussions within my customer base... 🙂

      I would like to post some questions which I faced recently in the context of SAP cloud integration. Maybe you or someone else can add some insights, remarks or other experience.

      • We successfully implemented the SAP Service Cloud connection as mentioned above at a customer and were wondering about the missing delta capability (as mentioned also in 2662674). We used a "pseudo-delta" for datasources where it was possible, do you or someone of the other readers know if there is a roadmap item or at least a customer influence that this missing feature is solved somehow?
      • Also we had a discussion about the connection of SAP Open Connectors to BW/4. We see the option to connect it over CPI-DS and then push the data towards a write-interface ADSO. Is there any option to connect it and use a pull-mechanism (DTP) from BW/4 to skip the additional setup of CPI-DS just for this use-case?
      • We have recently successfully implemented the connection from SAP IBP to DWC based on the generic OData connection and used IBP OData Service for this requirement. Now I am wondering what would be the best approach for BW/4...

      Thanks again and best regards

      Paul

      Author's profile photo Frank Riesner
      Frank Riesner
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Paul,

      regarding 1) As the note 2662674 mentions, this is not available right now. But with a clear customer requirement it should be possible to discuss this matter with the SAP product mgmt.

      regarding 2) CPI-DS or BTP Integration Suite can leverage those open connectors. Then the write-interface for ADSOs is the proper interface to push the data to BW/4HANA.

      regarding 3) If OData is the API, then SDI could provide a standard PULL interface to SAP BW based on a remote connection. Of course, all other mentioned middleware tools (DS, DI, PI or BTP) should also be able to leverage this interface and PUSH into a ADSO.

      Have a nice Friday!
      Frank

      Author's profile photo Sreedhar polakampalli
      Sreedhar polakampalli

      Hi Frank,

      Good blog.

      Could  you please let me know if you have any idea how to we established the connect from Ariba  to BW (Ariba->CPI->BW system). We need to extract the data.

       

      Thanks,

      Regards,

      Sreedhar

      Author's profile photo Frank Riesner
      Frank Riesner
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Sreedhar,
      please check this blog for further details.
      https://blogs.sap.com/2021/02/05/replicate-sap-ariba-operational-data-to-sap-bw-4hana-2.0/

      Regards
      Frank