SAP Integration Suite – A pragmatic Overview
What’s the difference between a hamburger and the SAP BTP Integration Suite?
There isn’t much difference: you can add the ingredients you want to make it taste how you like it!
But if you add too many ingredients, you won’t be able to remember that awesome burger recipe….
Same with the SAP Integration Suite: we have added a lot of new features in the past months, and you may not know all of them, even if they add that extra-taste to your integration.
Here is a quick recap on the current capabilities of the SAP BTP Integration Suite service (as of February 2023).
SAP Business Technology Platform
The basis of the SAP Integration Suite is the SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP). It is a Platform-as-a-Service offering and provides many different services in 5 key areas:
- Application Development
- Data and Analytics
- Artificial Intelligence
Once you have access to SAP BTP, you can start testing services, including the SAP Integration Suite.
The SAP Integration Suite service is a suite of different capabilities that can work separately or together in order to implement any current or future integration use case. This is why we like to talk about a holistic and enterprise-wide Integration Platform.
By the way: the SAP Integration Suite has been ranked, once again, as a leader in the Gartner IPaaS Magic Quadrant.
Let’s now dive into the various capabilities of the SAP Integration Suite service….
SAP Integration Assessment
Especially large organisations should look for a way to streamline their integration projects. Be it because of merger&acquisitions, regular changes in their architecture or simply to get more efficient in their integration projects.
SAP has been providing the “Integration Solution Advisory Methodology” (ISA-M) since many years now. It is basically a best-practices based methodology for defining an efficient modus operandi regarding integration projects.
Since 2022, users can leverage the SAP Integration Assessment capability within the Integration Suite to define and actually implement that methodology for their own organisation.
To get started, do not hesitate to go through the related Discovery Center Mission.
SAP Cloud Integration
Formally known as Hana Cloud Integration (HCI) or Cloud Platform Integration (CPI), the Cloud Integration capability is one of the most used services within the Integration Suite and the BTP in general.
It allows customers to implement process integration patterns such as A2A, B2B, B2G… through a graphical interface and using predefined integration flow steps.
- Orchestration (of integration processes)
- Connectivity (to virtually any system, be it non-SAP, SAP, on-premises or in the cloud)
- Data transformation (in order to convert message formats and perform data mapping)
You can build your own integration flows to implement non-SAP to non-SAP integrations, or use predefined content for SAP to non-SAP/SAP from the API Business Hub. This dramatically reduces costs and time for the project implementations.
SAP API Management
More and more companies rely on modern interfaces, especially REST APIs, in order to build integrations or applications. The proliferation of REST APIs makes the usage of a central governance building block absolutely necessary.
Within the SAP Integration Suite that would be the SAP API Management capability.
SAP API Management provides:
- Security (who has access to what API)
- Mediation (add, remove, modify information from the payload or metadata)
- Traffic Management (protect your API from attacks or surges in requests)
- Analytics (see who is is using what APIs in what extend)
- Documentation (provide information about your APIs in a low-touch fashion)
API Management is based on a request-reply pattern on which you configure predefined “policies” to be executed during an API call.
But SAP API Management also comes with a “Developer Portal “(API Business Hub Enterprise) which is consumer-facing, an provides:
- Testing capability
- Code snippets
- Subscription capability
This allow to interact in a very low-touch way with developers or integration experts who need to use these APIs.
An announcement was recently made, that Integration Suite will be complimented by SAP Graph in the future.
SAP Graph allows to centrally access SAP and custom-systems data through a semantically connected data graph. This helps developers (especially when considering low/no-code tools) and integrations experts to consume APIs in a much simpler and efficient way.
Wether you want to develop an integration or an application, you will need to have access to functions and data from backends. Ideally, this access is done through a modern REST API that you easily understand.
But because there are so many different non-SAP cloud solutions on the market, it can be really time-consuming to understand how their interfaces work: they all have different styles (SOAP, REST, SDK, …), authentications (basic, certificate, oauth, …), error messages, pagination, data model, ….
In order to simplify that access, you can use SAP OpenConnectors: it provides a central hub to access more than 170 non-SAP cloud applications through harmonised REST APIs.
SAP OpenConnectors can be used by either Application Developers (in need for simple-to-use REST APIs for their low-code/no-code IDE) or Integration Experts, who need to quickly integration non-SAP SaaS.
SAP Trading Partner Management
When it comes to business integration (B2B), it is not only important to technically connect to partners but also to manage that ecosystem.
This is what SAP Trading Partner Management (TPM) does: it supports users in configuring the specific electronic exchange of business data between organisations and partners, and helps to manage B2B relationships with multiple trading partners. Furthermore, TPM provides a specific and dedicated monitoring interface for in-depth traceability of the execution of the B2B integrations.
SAP Integration Advisor
Let’s face it: there are many integration scenarios that have already been implemented by other customers. Let’s say you want to send order information to a supplier using IDOC and ASC X12. Focus it on a specific region and a specific industry, and you can be sure that your B2B integration looks 90% the same than someone else’s.
This is why we have introduced the SAP Integration Advisor capability: based on a knowledge database and machine learning, you can get proposals for interfaces and mappings matching your own use case. You can review these proposals and refine them to match you exact needs, and then export it all to you integration runtime – be it SAP Cloud Integration or SAP Process Integration.
SAP Migration Assessment
With more than 12.000 customers using SAP Process Orchestration worldwide, it is important to support them on their journey towards the cloud. One of the milestones in that journey, is to rethink the way to do integration, ie. to transition towards modern tools providing all capabilities required in an API-led and Cloud-oriented world.
The SAP Integration Suite offers a way to smoothly transition between SAP Process Integration (SAP PI) and SAP Cloud Integration.
This journey starts with the SAP Migration Assessment which lets customers estimate the technical efforts involved in the migration process from SAP PI to SAP Cloud Integration. But it also evaluates if and how various integration scenarios can be migrated. This is done through the extraction and assessment of the current SAP PI landscape design time artefacts.
This capability is flanked by the new Cloud Integration capability to actually migrate SAP Process Integration content.
Basically, that migration feature lets you pick any SAP PI ICO and perform a automatic migration of it’s content into an integration package of SAP Cloud Integration.
Because the migration – or transition – from SAP PI to SAP Integration Suite is a very important topic, we have compiled many information in the following page:
Generally speaking, customers should take the advantage of a transition from an on-premises tool from 2004 (!) to a cloud-based platform in order to modernize their integration approach and align it with the overall goal of the company (API-first, Cloud-first, improve digital agility, etc.).
To drive business processes in real time, to provide business continuity and consistency, setting up an event-driven architecture is one great strategy.
Eventing complements process integration (to cater for orchestration, data transformation and connectivity), REST APIs (as technical means to access data and function) and application development (receive information in real time).
In that regards, SAP provides both SAP Event Mesh and SAP Advanced Event Mesh.
Especially SAP Event Mesh is planned to become part of the integration suite in the future.
A great blog about EDA in an SAP-Context can be found here.
As you may have noticed, the SAP BTP Integration Suite service is growing fast – in various areas such as design, runtime, migration capabilities, methodologies etc..
Even though most of our customers are using Cloud Integration and API Management as core services, it is really worth investigating the other services: you will almost certainly find benefits for your projects in there!
And now that you have plenty of ingredients to prepare your hamburger, it is time to get started – in the right order.
In case you want to see how our customers are using or plan to use the Integration Suite, you can look at:
- upcoming DSAG tracks
- customer stories on the discovery center
- our community call we did with our partner BuCo
- an blog entry I wrote end of 2021
Enjoy your meal!
Great blog post! Thank you for sharing your insights.
Nice one, Sven!
Good summary Sven!.. Event-driven integration architecture is the future.
Great one, thank you!
Great post Sven. Thanks.
Sven, your blog is most informative! How do you forsee that Integration Suite will evolve in the context of SAP's wider Integration Strategy as epitomised by "The intelligent enterprise is an integrated enterprise"? Would all integrations be encouraged purely to use Integration Suite? Thanks, Simon
Thanks for you kind words!
As a customer advisor sitting between our R&D and our customers, I can tell you that we are working relentlessly on making the Integration Suite more complete at every release. And I see the blindspots getting less and less over time (especially ground-to-ground) so that I am confident that integration will be purely Integration Suite- based in the future. Some customers already do this and have been very successful with that.
The future will tell but Gartner already recognized we are in very good shape 😉