What is Your Integration Strategy for Digital Transformation?

Jeanette Bowler

Para de Luces

There was a time when selecting the way to integrate to and from SAP was simple – the rule was, use Exchange Infrastructure (XI) and that quickly became Process Integration (PI), which was a combined ABAP and Java solution.

Today, the emergence of S/4HANA, Digital Transformation, IoT, Industry 4.0, APIs and Cloud Apps has had a major impact on the integration domain. It makes it even more compelling to manage and monitor your complete end to end processes in real time, which will allow you to capitalise on new business opportunities. In fact, if your systems are not updated in real-time and working as a cohesive unit, you will potentially give the wrong answers to your customers, place the wrong orders with your suppliers, fail to meet your service commitments and produce too many or too few products.

We all know that disjointed systems lead to inefficient business processes and cause user frustration, which inevitably impact the bottom line for any business. But identifying and fixing the problem can be a daunting task. To start with, both IT and business users need to have an input, and they need to be sure that they are all in agreement.

Generally, there are three main phases to improving the efficiency of business systems – each often carried out by different people, but all needing to work to a single theme – hence the term “orchestration”. In any such project:

  • Business users and IT should identify the required business processes
  • SAP technicians and other IT specialists review the underlying core business system to define, then implement appropriate changes and business functions
  • Integration specialists then need to create any necessary integrations to other systems that are part of the process(es) – so everything is joined up and automated

SAP Process Orchestration (SAP PO) is the one platform that empowers both IT and Business professionals to model, simplify, implement, integrate, and monitor custom process applications and securely exchange information across distributed applications and with customers and partners.

It allows companies to model business processes quickly across SAP and non-SAP applications and organisational boundaries, whether they are simple workflows or integrated processes. You can leverage the same modelling tool for both the business users and IT, so there is no loss in translation between the two parties.

We love the fact that this totally simplifies the system landscape, improves performance, reduces communication overhead and provides a visual means of defining integration between individual components. Users can easily move between the high level process view and the low level integration view, checking the business flow and the technical / data flows along the way.

Moving to SAP Process Orchestration enables you to take advantage of the combined power of Business Process Management (BPM), Process Integration (PI) and Business Rules Management (BRM). Then there are the added benefits of other elements of SAP Process Orchestration, including performance enhancements in the integration layer, the rules engine and the integrated portal.

This just scratches the surface in terms of offerings in the Integration space. Based on our technical knowledge and experience in this area, we have launched an Integration Assessment Service, which also reviews:

  • Data services – for ETL, bulk data loads and quality assurance of master data
  • HCI – for cloud integration based on PI
  • SAP API management – to expose capability to the outside world in a secure manageable way
  • Gateway – for user centric integration (tablets etc)
  • Operational Process Intelligence for real time process monitoring
  • Celonis – for process mining

In addition, BackOffice Associates are sponsoring a webinar in conjunction with SAP on September 8th at 10am, which will explain how Halfords used an Integration Readiness Assessment to better understand the SAP Integration landscape and the options open to them. If you wish to join this 30 minute session please follow the link for more details.

About the Author

Jeanette Bowler

Marketing Manager at BackOffice Associates

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