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Integration and APIs as foundations for Intelligent Enterprise


Intelligent Enterprises lead the experience economy by connecting customer, product, employee, and brand experiences with business operations, continuously in real-time. Intelligent Enterprises turn insights into actions on an ongoing basis to win in the experience economy.

Integration is key to this transformation into an Intelligent Enterprise. Integration is the central nervous system that connects the Intelligent Enterprise and supports responding to changing business needs across classic enterprise LOB like CRM, HCM, Supply Chain, and ERP.

Integration helps Intelligent Enterprises in three broad ways:

  1. Process excellence and resilience: deliver end-to-end processes across value streams such as lead-to-cash, recruit-to-retire, source-to-pay and design-to-operate

  2. Differentiate with connected experiences by connecting experiences with operations in a continuous feedback loop and

  3. Build digital ecosystems and innovate on new business models. Integration is becoming more and more strategic for enterprises coping with increasingly heterogeneous and hybrid IT landscapes.  The integration platform is the central nervous system that connects the Intelligent Enterprise.


3 pillars of Integration for Intelligent Enterprises - Principles, Platform, and Methodology


SAP´s integration strategy is based on 3 pillars:

  1. Integration Principles: 4 key principles of out-of-the-box integration, open integration, holistic integration, and AI-driven integration

  2. Integration Platform – Versatile, enterprise-grade hybrid integration platform - SAP Integration Suite for holistic integration.

  3. Integration Methodology – SAP Integration Solution Advisory methodology – to guide customers to choose the right integration approaches and tools.


1. Integration Principles


SAP has four key integration principles for Intelligent Enterprises (see below, fig 1):



Fig 1: Integration Principles

Out-of-the-box Integration: SAP offers out-of-the-box pre-built integrations across the value-chain processes such as lead-to-cash, recruit-to-retire, design-to-operate, and source-to-pay across SAP and non-SAP systems. Currently, SAP provides 1500+ pre-built integrations in the API Business Hub.

Open Integration: SAP offers 1400+ APIs in modern Open API Specification in API Business Hub (api.sap.com) as well as Events. SAP takes an API-first development approach and these APIs cover SAP apps, platforms, and business services. SAP Graph provides one harmonized API for the Intelligent Enterprise to support building new apps on top of SAP easier.

Holistic Integration: SAP supports holistic integration across integration domains such as Process Integration, Data Integration, API-based Integration, Event-based Integrations, workflows, and robotic process automation. SAP´s Hybrid Integration Platform to support holistic integration is the SAP Integration Suite.

AI-driven integration: SAP applies machine learning to simplify integration activities such as mapping - this simplifies trading partner onboarding for B2B scenarios.

 

2. Integration Platform: Integration Suite


SAP Integration Suite is SAP´s Hybrid Integration Platform for Intelligent Enterprises. See fig 2 below.



Fig 2: Integration Suite - Hybrid Integration Platform for SAP

Integration Suite is the recommended integration toolkit to simplify and accelerate Integration for our customers for both SAP as well as 3rd party integration scenarios.

SAP´s integration strategy document describes how the Integration Suite supports holistic and out-of-the-box integrations. The Integration Suite offers holistic integration – Process Integration, Data Integrations, B2B/EDI integrations, B2G (eGovernment) integrations, Event-driven Integration, and API-based Integrations and acts as the foundation for process excellence across the value chain. Below we explain the different integration scenarios supported by the Integration Suite.

Supported Integration Scenarios



  • End-to-end Process Integrations across value-chains such as lead-to-cash, recruit-to-retire, source-to-pay and design-to-operate across SAP and non-SAP heterogeneous environments

  • Master Data integrations based on a harmonized enterprise domain model

  • B2B/EDI integrations to integrate with suppliers across the digital ecosystem

  • eGovernment (B2G) integrations to support digital compliance

  • Data Integration and Pipelines to support AI/ML and data lake/ data warehousing scenarios

  • Event-driven Integrations to support sense-and-respond scenarios based on events

  • API-driven integrations for real-time integrations based on Open APIs.

  • Device Integration (Internet of Things): Device integration scenarios where data from a device, asset, or machine must be integrated with business applications

  • Omni-channel Ux Integration: to open up data and processes for omnichannel multi-experience

  • Analytics: supports data integration for analytical purposes – both SAP Analytics Cloud and embedded analytics in LOB applications


The Integration Suite is a next-generation, modern cloud-native platform and compliments the on-premise process and data integration platforms such as SAP Process Orchestration and SAP Data Services portfolio of tools that our customers rely on. In table 1 below, we explain high-level use-cases:











































Tools Use-Cases
Cloud Integration (CPI)

  • End-to-end Process Integration (A2A) supported with out-of-the-box integration with 1400+ pre-built integrations delivered as Integration Packs

  • B2B/EDI Integrations accelerated by AI-driven integration tools such as Integration Advisor that simplifies managing EDI types and mappings

  • eGovernment (B2G) integrations through Integration packs to support digital regulatory compliance

  • Low-code API development tools (cloud-based graphical tools) to develop REST and OData APIs for customers


Integration Advisor (IA)

  • Support for metadata management – EDI Types, Mappings. Out-of-the-box B2B library with EDIFACT, UNEFACT EDI types.

  • AI-based mapping proposals to accelerate trading partner onboarding through accelerated mappings


Open Connectors (OCN)

  • Simplifies 3rd party (non-SAP) connectivity through hub-based 1-to-many integration to many integration hubs such as CRM, ERP, Cloud Storage, Social, etc. with 160+ open connectors

  • Develop your own open connector with Connection Builder


Enterprise Messaging (EM)

  • Event-based Integrations with out-of-box events from S/4HANA, C/4HANA, and Successfactors


Data Intelligence (DI)

  • Data Integration and data pipelining scenarios. ETL scenarios for data lakes and data warehouses

  • Applying machine learning algorithms for data clustering, regression, and insights

  • DI also supports SAP Data Warehousing Cloud and SAP Analytics Cloud in data integration


API Management (APIM)

  • Full lifecycle management of enterprise APIs (design – develop – manage and engage with developers)

  • Support customers to launch their own API domains (api.<customer>.com) and run enterprise API programs.


SAP Graph (“BETA”)

  • One harmonized API for SAP to simplify developing apps on top of SAP. APIs are harmonized based on the unified domain model


Master Data Integration (MDI)

  • Supports out-of-the-box master data integrations across SAP applications in the Intelligent Enterprise Suite


API Business Hub

  • SAP´s marketplace for process blueprints, domain models, Open APIs and Integration Packs

  • 1500+ pre-built integrations, 1400+ APIs, 160+ open connectors

  • API Business Hub is connected to CPI, APIM and DI for customers to easily discover – configure and consume best practices content to accelerate integration projects



Table 1: Integration Tools and Use-Cases


3. Integration Methodology: Integration Solution Advisory


SAP Integration Solution Advisory Methodology (ISAM) helps enterprise architects shape the integration strategy for their organizations. ISAM also offers integration blueprints to address enterprise integration challenges and provides guidance on choosing the right integration approach and tools. Below you will see the ISAM cycle in Fig 3.

 



Fig 3: Integration Solution Advisory Methodology Cycle

See more details here.

Summary & More Information

In summary, customer landscapes are getting heterogeneous, hybrid, and huge. Integration is strategic and foundational for Intelligent Enterprises to achieve process excellence, offer connected experiences to customers and partners, and innovate their business models. SAP provides key integration principles, a hybrid integration platform, and a solution advisory methodology to accelerate your journey towards an Intelligent Enterprise.

Learn more here:
1) SAP Integration Suite (sap.com/integration)
2) SAP Integration Solution Advisory Methodology (ISAM)
3) Take a free Integration Assessment here