This article was written in cooperation with Thomas Kamper, Head of Strategic Product Management at Seeburger.
A key factor for the success of both SAP R/3 and later ERP ECC is and has always been that SAP created mechanisms for integration of systems, data, or business partners early on. For example: Consider the connection of external partners via third-party systems that use tRFC and IDocs as interfaces. For decades, SAP users have been leveraging this connection to build a plethora of process integrations – which unfortunately have become a hard-to-shoulder burden in migration projects. S/4 has to be able to integrate all systems and processes that have been connected to ERP ECC from the start. Projects with S/4 migrations and greenfield implementations have shown that not involving integration specialists early on can lead to go-live delay. System specialists, such as SAP partner Seeburger, focus on SAP integration and offer partner solutions as well as consultancy services for SAP customers. Integration specialists are key to success because they significantly reduce the severity of the main technology risk in S/4 projects – the application integration challenge.
SAP is required to offer customers integrated business processes based on its products and cloud services. The integration of applications from different providers is obviously not SAP’s focus. SAP cannot be expected to deliver the best Salesforce, Workday, or Coupa integration, for example. A dilemma which SAP itself has admitted, is that a majority of integrations concern external system requirements.
Customer needs come first
The success of cloud-based business applications has led to a higher number of non-SAP systems in today’s IT landscapes. To stay technologically independent and maintain freedom of choice, many SAP customers choose to go with integration platform providers. Specialists in this area usually offer decades of experience, deep knowledge, and partnerships with non-SAP system providers. Furthermore, some platform providers also offer configurable application and system connectors as well as ready-to-use interface mappings in their product portfolio. This ensures quick project implementation success and reduces risks that stem from inexperience. Integration providers enable their customers to quickly complete complex integration projects with a high number of business partners and third-party systems, without forcing them to build internal expertise or engage scarce developer resources.
By providing sophisticated interfaces for S/4HANA, SAP has managed to keep one of SAP ECC’s greatest benefits alive: The fundamental openness of the system. Consequently, there are no technological risks associated with the use of non-SAP integration platforms.
Solution offers and content
In light of the multi-cloud phenomenon, market research firms such as Gartner have recommended use of a hybrid integration platform (HIP)[i], which can be deployed on premises, as cloud-based solutions, or in a hybrid environment depending on individual customer specifications. Seeburger’s business integration platform, Business Integration Suite (BIS), meets these functional and non-functional requirements. The company’s approach goes even further than that, though: Instead of only providing “technology” for A2A, B2B, API, IoT, secure file transfer, and other integration requirements, Seeburger offers content, services, and integration as a service. It’s important to note that mappings between SAP systems and business partners, for example regarding EDI or IDocs, do not have to be built up individually every time.
Whether they are international conglomerates or mid-sized companies from different industries like automotive, retail, or the energy sector, Seeburger customers can leverage a variety of ready-to-use interfaces of a mapping repository. Seeburger provides over 15,000 such plug-and-play partner mappings, and even more if variants are included. A double conversion with a canonical master format makes it possible. No need to reinvent the wheel every time – instead, companies can use existing mechanisms with significantly reduced effort. This content, combined with customer-specific services, offered on premise, hybrid or in the cloud, minimizes time and costs involved in implementing integration projects. Seeburger Cloud Integration enables unlimited connectivity while also providing a choice of services to suit your needs.
Cloud integration services are like… pizza?
Let’s say you are craving pizza and order your favorite through a delivery service. You probably couldn’t care less about which kind of pizza oven the restaurant uses, how long it takes to preheat, or how many pizzas it can cook in an hour. The only thing you want out of this transaction is pizza. The same principle applies to Seeburger Cloud Integration services. The solution (the pizza oven) is not the focus, but the service orientation, based on a service catalogue of suitable SLAs (the pizza), is. This includes factors like availability, response capability, employee engagement and competence, communication or empathy to understand individual requirements.
Seeburger offers cloud services as a one-stop shopping experience in the areas of consulting, support, operations, and security. With all of these capabilities, Seeburger services can be considered essential accelerators for S/4HANA projects. In addition, outsourcing integration requirements to a specialist such as Seeburger enables companies – and SAP consultancies! – to focus their own resources on strategic project tasks.
If you want to learn more about Seeburger’s solutions, you might also like this article about lessons learned in S/4HANA implementation projects.