Enterprise Integration is a bit challenging and the field is moving to fast that nobody is able to follow on what is going on. That is what Integration Podcast will cover.

We will be focusing on the SAP Integration platforms from SAP PI/PO,  Cloud Integration, API Management, Gateway and Cloud Platform. There are so many different tools that you must be looking at to understand what is relevant.

We will also be covering the other techniques going on to make sure that your Enterprise works.

Daniel Graversen has worked with SAP Integration for 10+ years. Over the years there have been some frustrations about how to get different software and tool working optimally for clients.

Daniel is an SAP Mentor and a part of the community around SAP.

Daniel is both developing integrations, sharing information about integration, trained people in using the tools and advised companies about best leverage their investments in integration.

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Episodes

035 – Blockchain and integration

Blockchain has been one of the hottest trends in the last few years. It said that it would be a way to improve trust between organizations. It seems like people want to understand what it can do. I think it can be a little difficult really to understand what is going on in the area and what the benefit of it is.

In this episode of the Integration Podcast, I’m interviewing Stephan Nilsson from Unisot(The Universal Source Of Truth). Stephan has been working a long time in the SAP Integration space and we even had some time to work on a project together a long time ago. Now he is working with SAP Integration Architecture and Blockchain, so the perfect candidate so share what blockchain can be used to in an enterprise setting.

Stephen Nilsson

I have not seen much use in using blockchain and value in having a distributed database. In the podcast i did learn about some interesting apsects of what it can do.

Stephan and Unisot were working with making it easy to integrate directly from SAP ERP that could then transmit invoice and another document directly into the blockchain. They are using BDI (a blockchain version of EDI) to transport the data. They are mapping the documents to UBL which is a global standard for exchange business documents. So it should be simple to get started with it.

The choise come to choise which blockchain to use. They have used Bitcon SV(Satoshi’s Vision) which is able to handle many transactions pr second at a low cost. It is a public chain that everybody can access. Your documents can only be decrypted by the parties you want to see the data. So you can share data with your partner and the tax authories. It also support smart contracts so you can have payments as a part of the process.

We did talk about SAPs different blockchains products. Stephans though on this was that they are essentially just replicated databases and something that you have in a trusted network of partners.

We also talked about the business cases for it. During the 6 months, he had gotten many requests from people to ask if a problem can be solved by blockchain. It was not the other way around to start with blockchain and then find something to solve it with. We covered an example of how the salmon industry could use blockchain, so consumers could see the full lifecycle of the fish they are buying. This will allow premium vendors to take more for their product to show history.

Sorry for the bad audio, i hope it can provide some value for you.

034 – Paw Sandal on Microsoft/Azure Integration

I had the great pleasure of talking with Paw Sandal Pedersen, who is an Microsoft Integration expert at a danish company called Bizbrains. Paw is very experience working with Microsoft integration technologies and I think it was very interesting to hear his oppinion on topics like BizTalk Azure, Logic Apps, Microsoft Flow and EDI.


BizTalk

We did have a talk about BizTalk. It have been evolving much like SAP PI for the last long time. Microsoft have not wanted to say a lot about the future of the product, as they wanted more cloud usage. Now they have released plans of a 2019 version to give customers support for longer duration and the ability to integrate more with the cloud.

Logic Apps can be used by anyone

We talk about Logic Apps. It is Microsoft Serverless technology that allow you to only pay for the number of actions you perform. This is a new way of making integration possible. It allow integration to get to smaller organisations and run there.

Logic apps is this new way of creating integration, so as a developer you don’t have to think about which servers, you just pay pr. action, there is a lot of connectors, that helps you to connect to a system“, paw says and continue: “There are 300 connectors at the moment that Microsoft supplies, and you also have the possibility to create custom connector.”

It is fairly simple to start creating the Logic Apps, but you will need to know how to process documents in the way that is most effecient with regards to the license of pay per action. For some customers the license model is better, where as for other project a BizTalk solution is better.

There is also the Flow service, which allow business users to create Logic Apps without much knowledge on the background processing. So a Citizen integration approach.

EDI Integration

One of the products that Bizbrains have is a tool to help with EDI partner management just like the B2B Add-on called Link.

I can see it gives a number of features in a more user friendly way, like partner management, documents tracking and easy creation of new EDI agreements. Often this is more or less only for developers or It Admins. It is possible to integrate with SAP using BizTalk SAP Adapter or Logic App SAP Connector, but there is currently no possibility to use SAP PI/PO as an engine for transformation and transport of the documents. If more customers ask then it could be relevant.

Many customers talk about API is the way to go but if you have 300 partners it can be a lot easier if you can follow one common approach for handling your partner integration.

We also talk about the Peppol a new standard for exchanging e-Invoices with European governments and also businesses. It contains the option to lookup partner information and then uses it for sending the data to providers. It will be interesting to see how the adoption of it will be.

We discussed that and other topics during the Integration Podcast. It was interesting to see how much Microsoft and SAP is looking when viewing their approach for integration.

033 – What Integration challenges I see

In this podcast about Figaf´s Integration Regression Tool I take a look at some of the challenges, that SAP is facing with integration.

As an independent developer of both tools and courses regarding SAP I get to talk to quite a few customers when presenting my tool. And I can see how the tool can help them in the process of planning their workflow.

Some of the most common challenges I see are as follow:

  • How the change in integration
  • Cloud means
  • S4 also impacts the way most will be doing integration

Key question: Where is your architecture?

Many people working with SAP are struggling with understanding CPI and how it should fit into their organization. There seems to be a spike in the number of requests for projects, and the developers have to skilled in both CPI and PI. It is of course very important to ensure that the developers do not break anything. The key question is where your architecture should be.

Automize your  testing

Figaf´s IRT is a tool made for testing. It will automize many of the things you do manuale, and it will lower your number of errors. It will help you test:  

  • What kind of impact it will have.
  • Will be more widly used
  • Hope that we will be the place of choise for customers wanting a better testing framework
  • Will see how we can integrate with it, when customers are there

Monitoring

IRT also offers Monitoring:

  • CPI is quite a different way to monitor than PI.
  • Need some external tool for it

The best way to implement

Finally, IRT gives you great input when you have to find out, when is the best way to implement:

  • If you have the data in the delivery but
  • Can see how the tool fits your organisation
  • Regression when making changes.