The Business Value of Prepackaged Integration Content
To follow up to my recent blog on Forrester’s Total Economic Impact study for SAP Integration Suite, where I was able to showcase the fantastic success our customers are achieving with SAP Integration Suite (the group customer study found an average payback of 6 months and an ROI approaching 300%), I want to discuss in more detail SAP’s prepackaged integration content that plays a foundational role in helping customers around the world save time, money, and effort in both the design and management of their integration solution.
Many integration providers claim to have prepackaged integration content, but the scope of this content can vary greatly. As a result, the level of effort required from a customer to successfully get the associated integration flow up and running also varies greatly. This causes the cost, time, and level of effort required of the customer to go up when the capabilities of the prepackaged content are minimal in their off-the-shelf capabilities.
For SAP, our philosophy around prepackaged integration content is that it should not just be a system connector, protocol adapter, or minimal generic mapping that needs extending and substantiating. It should be a wide-ranging catalog of comprehensive packages that provide plug-and-play deployment (where applicable) for a specific flow or exchange of data between systems that require minimal effort to implement.
As a result, not only are customers able to quickly realize integration deployments, they are also able to benefit from ongoing management, optimization, and updates from SAP for the prepackaged content. This approach, therefore, provides both initial design and development efforts, as well as ongoing management, updates, and makes it easier to take advantage of best-practice approaches.
Prior to the pandemic, I attended a customer event, in London, where multiple customers made presentations on the merits of SAP Integration Suite’s prepackaged content for their organizations. Not only did they verify the technical and financial benefits, they also consistently spoke of the related business process impacts. When the implementation and management of integration flows is made easier through prepackaged content, it also makes it easier for IT teams to support their business stakeholders in fundamentally solving business process-related issues and priorities.
One of the customers who presented at that event was Harrod’s Integration Lead, Damien O’Dowd. Damien spoke about the ability of Harrods to rapidly transition to a cloud-first strategy with SAP Integration Suite. Damien shared how SAP Integration Suite helped Harrods to standardize their integrations with third parties, with a minimal amount of IT team effort, that in turn, freed up resources to focus on higher priorities. In the case of Harrods, these higher priorities (among others) were helping the business attract a new generation of luxury customers through the implementation of a high-fashion, Web-based marketplace.
Here is a link where you can find more information on Harrod’s success story. Harrods was not the only customer to share their perspective on how taking advantage of prepackaged integration content can help facilitate the focus on bigger business priorities that, and many customers have shared similar sentiment with SAP since then.
SAP’s catalog of prepackaged integration content is now well over 2K items, where you can discover integration content organized around underlying business processes, applications, and integration type. SAP business processes curation is focused around the four core end-to-end processes of Lead to Cash, Plan to Fulfill, Recruit to Retire, and Source to Pay. Within these end-to-end processes, you can find integration content and supporting assets that covers the related sub-processes within the end-to-end process.
For the application-orientated view, it is easy to find the prepackaged integration content you want by selecting the core application you are seeking to connect, and then selecting the connecting application. For example, SAP S/4HANA and SAP Cloud4Customer in the Customer experience category: SAP’s catalog covers both SAP and third-party applications.
Below is a diagram that provides a high-level outline of SAP’s approach to prepackaged integration content. As you can see, the prepackaged content includes multiple elements. As you would expect, it typically contains adapters for the sending and receiving applications, as well as a prepackaged process flow between the two applications that can be broken down and visualized into multiple steps.
Within the process flow there are also multiple mapping support capabilities and functionalities that help the integration flow “sing”. For example, security steps can be implemented, messages can be modified or enriched, and machine learning recommendations can be leveraged.
For more detail on this diagram and supporting information on SAP’s prepackaged content, I recommend the following SAP asset SAP Point of View on SAP Integration Suite’s Prepackaged Content. This asset also includes great statistics and examples of customer success with SAP Integration Suite.
Depending on the size and complexity of your organization, your integration needs may differ from the off-the-shelf capabilities I have identified so far. In some cases, the rapidly expanding catalog of integration content may provide you with the opportunity to explore “going back to standard” for specific integration flows (perhaps as part of a wider move to cloud initiative). This may not be possible for all your legacy integration flows but is relatively straightforward to achieve should it be explored.
In addition, if you operate in a large and complex organization, you might want to consider leveraging SAP’s prepackaged content as a starting point for your integration flows. As I mentioned, a lot of valuable information is contained within a specific integration flow that can be leveraged by you as you seek to find the capabilities and steps needed within your organization.
For example, you might have a highly specific payroll flow between your finance and HR system of record applications, as well as specialist third-party payroll providers. In this case, SAP’s prepackaged content could be a good starting point for leveraging the latest best-practice approaches (and associated performance) gains before adding on top of your specific company needs.
Ultimately, we believe you need the right blend between out of the box capabilities and flexibility for your organization’s needs in both the short and long term. We perceive that SAP Integration Suite’s prepackaged content is the optimal blend of these needs. We are lucky to have over 15K customers on SAP Integration Suite. These customers consistently point to the benefits of SAP’s Integration Suite prepackaged capabilities in terms of enabling them to ultimately solve their business needs and provide their organization with more value.
These customer sentiments are such great validations to hear, and I can only hope that your organization will be able to benefit from SAP’s prepackaged integration content soon so that you are able to provide your organization with equivalent value and business impact.
Everyone is seeking to work smarter and optimize their scarce resources to influence business performance. What a win if SAP Integration Suite could be an asset in your arsenal of capabilities as you seek to achieve your top goals, and ultimately help your business achieve your business process goals!