SAP is the world-leading ERP software offering for all size of enterprise the right business solution. It is your digital back tier core. On the other side, Salesforce is your digital front tier core for your customer success. Business processes starting from your front tier e.g. Salesforce and ending at your back tier e.g. SAP create a unique business value chain which is essential for your company success. They can only work if the functional interaction and data synchronization smoothly work together. Deep and native integration is, therefore, the key success factor. But are you aware of how the solution suite can integrate into which way with Salesforce?
Before going into the various of SAP Salesforce integration options let us have a look at the business solution landscape of SAP as of today.
SAP business solution suite
Starting from R/2 in the earlier sixties SAP has launched the R/3 suite in the eighties which follows the Client/Server paradigm. In this range, we have SAP R/3 with the following version 3.1, 4.0 and 4.7 which is called R/3 Enterprise. Later there is ECC 6.0 or SAP ERP 6.0. These are the on-premise version of the SAP-ERP Business Suite. For small size business SAP has launched SAP Business One which now exists in on-premise as also in the cloud version.
Most used SAP ERP as of today is the ECC 6.0 or SAP ERP 6.0. New release and functionality enhancement are coming through SAP enhancement packs. Since 2015 SAP has launched a new suite called S/4HANA which come in two flavors e.g. on-premise or Cloud. It is based on the SAP innovative in-memory database engine and now become a populate migration path of an existing customer. Besides these main ERP suite branch SAP has other edition called SAP Business ByDesign which is a cloud offering and the SAP Business All-In-One which contain a reduced functional package as the full-blown SAP ERP 6.0 Suite.
Besides the ERP business suite SAP also provide integration product launched in earlier 2013 which call SAP-XI (Exchange Infrastructure) 2.0/3.0. The successor release is the SAP PI (Process Integration) and was renamed to PO (Process Orchestration). The latest version of SAP-PI/PO is as 7.50. Since the cloud paradigm become widely adopted SAP has launched a cloud version called SAP CPI (Cloud Platform Integration) and has now started the open initiative of SAP Cloud Platform Open Connectors. With the Cloud Open Platform Connectors SAP provides a huge number of different connectors like facebook, google, PayPal, etc.. to support mot than 100+ connectors.
You could have one of such SAP software stack and need to integrate with your Salesforce for a SAP Salesforce Integration. So how can you handle that many integration variants? Which technology to use in which case?
SAP Salesforce Integration variant
The integration of technology and possibility in SAP eco-system is huge and complex. To find the right technology you need to be an expert because there are too many modules, stack, and protocol to consider. You might don’t have time and the technical skill to implement such an integration tool and handle the different protocol conversion and data transformation yourself. With the SAP Connect of the SKYVVA integration service layer, you are able to connect to the different SAP component neither it is the middleware or the business suite application.
It makes sense to use specific and best-fit technology and protocol for each solution variants. For example, if you need to connect to your SAP-ERP ECC 6.0 only and you don’t have a middleware then it makes no sense first to buy a middleware. In this case, you can use the variant with the SAP-ERP Connect without using middleware in between as an integration mediator. This would be the fasted and optimized way to integrate Salesforce with your SAP-ERP ECC 6.0.
SKYVVA has built-in adapters on both platforms to leverage the best in place and natïve technology to handle the integration. It supports in case of SAP-ERP the native protocol such as BAPI/RFC, IDoc, and ABAP-Proxy. You can keep the investment, speed up your development by reusing the existing scenario where you have used BAPI and IDoc. If you want to use the latest technology such as Web service with REST and restful approach SKYVVA SAP connect can supports it as well.
The above picture gives you an overview of which option and variations you can choose to integrate Salesforce and SAP. SKYVVA offers different way based on the SAP business suite component used at your end. If you use on-premise middleware as the SAP-PI/PO then you can go with the SAP-PI/PO Connect. If you are using the cloud version e.g. SAP CPI then you can use the SAP CPI connect. SKYVVA provide on the SAP side the native adapter to utilize the most advanced and built-in technology available on the platform. Thus creating fast, reliable and optimized code for the integration demand.
Here are the available SAP Connect:
- SAP CPI Connect
- SAP PI/PO Connect
- SAP S/4HANA Connect
- SAP Business One Connect
- SAP Business ByDesign Connect
- SAP All-in-One Connect
- SAP ERP Connect
On-premise and Cloud integration technology
We have passed the day where we have only to deal with the on-premise system and installation. New disrupted business required definitely the cloud technology and thus we have to handle the different technology separately to consider and reflect their different particularity. Cloud technology is different from op-premise technology because the paradigm is totally changed.
SAP provides various interface technology from its first release which based on RFC and later evolved to become BAPI which follow the object encapsulation principle and follow the interface contractual design pattern. For asynchronous communication pattern often IDoc is used because it is integrated into the application as SD, MM, FI, etc. These technology based on the proprietary RFC which based on the CPIC protocol implemented in the C-Kernel of the underlying SAP basis stack.
With the emerging of the internet technology, the standard HTTP protocol was introduced to the abap kernel stack and thus new programing model like ABAP-Proxy was created to support open communication with the internet and using a lightweight protocol for better performance.
This technology is used by SKYVVA component sitting inside the abap stack of the SAP ERP 6.0, S/4HANA and SAP Business All-in-One. For integrating to the SAP Business One the HANA Service Layer is used to connect with the available API. These are the technology which is used to build a smooth and seamless integration to the on-premise SAP application suite.
On the other side thinking for the future SAP has launched the last few year’s different cloud-based products such as Ariba, SuccessFactors, Hybris, etc. and released new SAP business suite version such as S/4HANA Cloud, SAP Business One Cloud, and SAP BusinessByDesign which support the cloud deployment option.
Common to all cloud application is that they provide APIs based on the SOAP or RESTful technology and design principle. Swagger, openAPI 3.x and OData are emerging standard protocol to define and described the API while for soap-based web service, WSDL 1.1 or 2.0 are used. Knowing and building on this technology is crucial to conform to the emerging standard technology in the cloud to cloud integration. When we come to the RESTful web services OAuth 2.0 for the authentication are the standard protocol to use over the old-style username and password basic authentication.
Therefore merging the technology and using the same for any kind of integration to the SAP on-premise and cloud application suite will not make the most use of the strength and advantages of certain technology. SKYVVA provide for the on-premise world dedicated and specific connectors to leverage the SAP proprietary technology available. For the cloud world, you can use the SAP cloud connect to leverage the standard technology for cloud-based application integration.
Following we are going to discuss each integration variant in detail.
SAP ERP Business Suite
SAP ECC 6.0 or ERP 6.0 uses the abap stack. The interface technology is proprietary and is based on the CPIC library in the SAP kernel. Based on that the RFC protocol is used to build the foundation of the BAPI/RFC and IDoc. For each SAP module as SD, MM, CO, FI, etc. there are thousands of BAPI for almost any kind of business transaction. Furthermore, the customer can create their own RFC. Where BAPI/RFC is used for the synchronous communication IDoc is used for the asynchronous data transfer. IDoc is built-in into many SAP module and tightly integrated for example in an ALE and change point scenario.
Those interface technologies are proprietary and don’t not compatible with Salesforce interface technology which is based on the internet standard using web service based on the HTTP protocol. Salesforce understands non of the SAP communication protocol and thus incompatible to each other which means that they cannot connect to each other easily. To be able to do you need to convert the old and proprietary SAP RFC protocol to the internet standard.
SKYVVA provide a connector inside the SAP ECC as a bridge to convert the proprietary SAP protocol to the internet standard so that the Salesforce SOAP and REST API can be used. It uses the built-in ICM (Internet Communication Manager) component from SAP to implement the internet protocol. It is able to use the standard soap and rest technology provided by the SAP Gateway.
Note that to have an additional functionality needed for an enterprise-class integration SKYVVA has added a service layer into the Salesforce platform. To understand the need and benefits of the SKYVVA service layer on the Salesforce side refer to the following blog:
Since its launch in February 2015, S/4HANA becomes a significant path for the customer who is still using SAP ERP 6.0 and thinks to move to the new technology supporting by the HANA database. In fact, the application layer is still based on the core abap stack but has been enhanced to support the new and latest technology in term of performance and cloud technology. From the function perspective, it offers a simple and lightweight module for some business area and in contrast to the SAP ERP business suite, it does not cover a monolith block of everything.
S/4HANA on-premise installation is from keeping the same technology stack as the SAP ERP business suite and thus the integration and interface technology remain but got some improvement. SKYVVA has adapted the SAP-ERP connect to support native element and enhancement of S/4HANA and thus provide a native component for the Salesforce integration.
S/4HANA is not only changing the underlying database to use the in-memory approach but from the deployment perspective, it has followed the cloud computing paradigm by providing it as the cloud option as well. This is the biggest update in SAP’s ERP strategy and platform and enables the customer to move into the new cloud computing or stay on the on-premise world.
Regarding the technology stack SAP S/4HANA covers different type of APIs such as web services based APIs (OData, REST and SOAP), traditional SAP APIs (BAPIs and IDOCs) and CDS views which can be exposed as OData services. The SKYVVA S/4HANA Connect uses the web API technology based on RESTful architecture. From the S/4HANA perspective, SKYVVA provides REST APIs to integrate seamlessly to the SKYVVA service layer.
SAP Business All-in-One
SAP Business All-in-One is a special offering which now is not promoted by SAP anymore. It flows into the product area of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and was intended to deliver a pre-packaged and industry-specific bundle of SAP-ERP. It is based on the SAP NetWeaver stack and thus leverages the same abap platform like the SAP-ERP 6.0. The integration technology SKYVVA provide here is similar to the SAP-ERP 6.0 Edition. Therefore refer to the integration option above at the SAP ERP Business Suite.
SAP Business ByDesign
SAP Business ByDesign is a cloud offering and now under the category of SAP Cloud ERP. It was developed by SAP for small and medium-sized businesses in mind which are based on SAP’s “best practices”.
For integration purpose to external system SAP Business ByDesign provide a set of APIs including OData endpoint to seamlessly execute the business operation on the given object. For example, the sales order API allows to create and change a sales order and its document flow. The SKYVVA ByDesign Connect use the web API technology to integrate Salesforce with the SAP Business ByDesign.
SAP Business One on-premise
For data exchange in SAP Business One provides these two interfaces, so-called Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are provided:
- SAP HANA Service Layer API Technology
The next generation API for the digial business allowing you to create lightweight mobile apps consuming SAP Business One data and services using open core protocols such as HTTP and ODATA.
This technology is only available for SAP Business One, version for SAP HANA.
- SAP Business One DI API
The DI API contains objects and methods that enable developers to read, write, update, and remove data objects on database level.
This DI API is available for SAP Business One on MS SQL, too.
SKYVVA support the latest technology using the Service Layer to connect from Salesforce through the API to the Business One Sever. All available API from SAP Business One can be used to create, read, update and delete application object. Business application function can be executed through the SOAP interfaces.
SAP Business One Cloud
SAP Business one can run on cloud which simplifies the hard- and software landscape within your company. There is two option which you can go with cloud deployment. You can either get your own license and your SAP partner host the service for you or you can rent on a monthly basis from SAP. Regardless for which deployment option you will go the underlying basis is the same which means that the integration technology is the same.
On the cloud layer, there is the same component and technology used for integration as in the on-premise deployment. Here the SAP HANA service layer can be used to provide REST, SOAP and OData services to access the business functionality in the form of APIs. SKYVVA Business One Connect can use to integrate to SAP Business One as a cloud-to-cloud approach.
SAP-PI/PO (Process Integration/Process Orchestration)
SAP-PI/PO provide you a middleware to handle all kind of integration which is mostly used to integrate to your SAP software landscape and other on-premise application. It provides a various adapter to connect to the business system and gives you the power to design, develop and run integration scenario within your on-premise landscape.
The integration to and from SAP-PI/PO is done use the SKYVVA connector component sitting directly on the J2EE-Engine of the SAP-PI/PO engine. This component handles all connection requirement to and from Salesforce and offers a specific Salesforce feature which is available as the additional layer on the Salesforce side. Additional value is for example to have the
- Message monitoring
- Message reprocessing
- Error handling
on Salesforce to give you more operational tool to handle your daily integration problem. From the technology standpoint, the native component is talking together to get the best possible integration speed you can ever thing. There is no something in between to impact the integration flow like protocol and format conversation because of the different techniques of the different platform. SKYVVA component uses the native technique and programming library on each side.
For the common integration use case like Account, Contact, Quote, etc. SKYVVA provide a ready to run so-called integration App on SAP-PI/PO which easily can be deployed and adapted to the business requirement quickly. This will reduce your development cycle and save cost and effort considerably.
SAP CPI (Cloud Platform Integration)
The SAP CPI is the cloud integration tool offering from SAP to follow the cloud computing paradigm and provide the latest cloud technology for their integration solution suite. As of SAP-PI/PO, it provides almost the same functionality and adapters and is compatible in term of for example the mapping engine. The SAP-PI/PO mapping can be reused in the CPI runtime.
SKYVVA provide in a similar way a native connector developed with the Adapter SDK from SAP and thus leverage most of the technology possible. It provides the inbound and outbound adapter to handle both communication direction, support streaming, and BULK API to handle the special requirement for Salesforce integration.
The adapter can be deployed to your CPI tenant as a third-party adapter and there is also pre-define integration app available like for the SAP-PI/PO edition.
SAP Cloud Platform Open Connectors
With the latest offering for the cloud, variant SAP has announced to have the open connectors which provide 100+ connectors for different use cases. One of the connectors available is the Salesforce connector which uses the Salesforce standard API to provide the integration services. The issues with any standard Salesforce adapter is the limitation which comes with the API connectivity approach. For some integration requirement, it is too basic and low level just to have the ability to do the CRUD operation. Refer to this blog https://apsara-consulting.com/de/beyond-api/to overcome this issue.
Therefore SKYVVA has added the so-called API Connect to provide SKYVVA value-added API to the external system to be able to connect to the SKYVVA service layer to get all the value-added feature and capability missing with the standard Salesforce connector. With the additional service layer on the Salesforce side, you will add more quality and save significant cost in your daily interface operation.
Summary SAP Salesforce Integration
Now you have seen the possible solution landscape used within the SAP environment which is the most common one you will have yourself or will see it. The SAP Salesforce integration is based on the SAP common technology but has it’s different specific and thus SKYVVA provides for each option a dedicated connector to be able to handle their technology, protocol, and data format in an optimized way.
The connector is developed in SAP native technology to be able to use all available tool, technique, and protocol. Unlike the other solution on the market, the direct and native approach doesn’t create any friction between the connected system. It is the fastest and optimized way you can think for an SAP and Salesforce integration. If you need performance, reliability, directness, lightweight and cost-effective solution without having to buy another middleware then this is the option to go.
What is your SAP integration need? To which system do you want to connect? Is there something missing? This blog covers the most common SAP system used at the company of all size and nowadays with the cloud option there is a seamless way to connect Salesforce to the SAP cloud direct as the cloud-to-cloud connect without having a middleware in between.
There is simply no need for an intermediator like a middleware (middleware will cause unnecessary complexity) to have the deep and direct digital connected platform which is essential and crucial for your business. Go the new and direct cloud-to-cloud connect approach to disrupt your new business and be ahead of your competitor for Salesforce-centric solution-based processes.