Posts

032 – Successfactor integration with Luke Marson

I had the pleasure of having Luke Marson as a guest in the Integration Podcast who is a solution architect at Ixerv. He is an experienced solution architect and widely-recognized expert in SuccessFactors and SAP ERP HCM. He Provides end-to-end HR and HR technology strategy, advisory, assessments, roadmaps, transformation, optimization, and implementation services for large, global enterprise customers.

Luke Marson has been around the SAP space for a decade, more than half of that is within the SAP SuccessFactors space. He has been solution architect, integration architect, a lead consultant, a project director and also different roles over the years, working with customers on SAP SuccessFactors transformations.

A proven, powerful integration platform

There are a few different options, you can look at it from a perspective of middleware technology, from API´s and then from functionality within SuccessFactors itself. So, from a middleware perspective when you subscribe to employ central, as part of the subscription customers will get a subscription for SAP Cloud platform integration, and that essentially provides you with an unlimited amount of integration connections as long as one end of the integration, either the inbound or outbound, is touching the employee central system. Now it is a proven, powerful integration platform, previously SAP had up in the atmosphere into the employee central subscription. That´s still available for customers on request, most costumes are getting the news in the SAP cloud platform integration as their middleware employee central.

There are two core foundational API´s, there is the SuccessFactor API, that’s the original SOAP-based API and now the OData V2 and V4 that are taking over. There is also the Integration Center that allows business users to perform integration and developing reports them self. There is some collaboration between the two sides.

After doing a SuccessFactors project I do understand some of the complexity of the suite and what needs to be integrated. We cover some of the pre-packaged content where a lot of the modifications is because of customization on the backend SAP systems. Here some of your customizations will cause the integration to be more difficult.

 

 

031 – SAP Open Connectors

I  had the pleasure of having Bogdan Petrescu as a guest in the Integration Podcast. He is the director of Strategic Accounts at Cloud Elements – a fast growing API integration platform for SaaS companies and enterprises. I think we had a great talk, and it was very interesting to hear Bogdan Petrescus thoughts on what SAP Open Connectors can do.

One of the key challenges for integration strategy for SAP customers and partners are becoming connectivity to third-party applications. One gap has been the ability for those services to make the third part application easier so that users don’t have to build their own connectors.

Open Connectors is a way to fill that gap and take all the amazing integration services, that have already been delivered and continue to be innovating and basically add third part connectivity as a component directly in the product. Developers working on the platform of Cloud Elements do not have to work with other types of API or connectivity message, everything on the open connectors platform is exposed to a rest API.

170 application connectors

The Open connector platform has about 170 application connectors which are market-leading apps across marketing, sales automation, payments and more. It is possible to build new connectors to every endpoint who is offering an API.

When it comes to mapping data that’s traveling between SAP a not SAP-systems it can be quite a challenge because those applications are not requiring to maintain any kind of standard data model of course. So along with the mapping method, one of the normalization components is the ability to work with consumer data. As long as the endpoint to CPI that is used in the connector allows access to the custom data, is will be possible to translate that through API´s.

So when you are building those virtual data resources or even doing mapping and CPI which works perfectly as well, you are working with a full payload and not just a standard field of objects.

 

 

030 – What is your SAP Integration Migration

In this last episode of the Integration Podcast, I’m talking about something that will probably affect you next year. I know a lot of companies are planning migration projects. Therefore does it make sense to talk about it here, so you can get my views on the topic.

I’m covering my views on

  • Dual stack to Single stack migration
  • Should you upgrade if you have a single stack 7.31/7.4 system to 7.5 and what you will get
  • Third Party to SAP PI/PO
  • Using of Cloud Integration Content
  • Seeburger migration

I created a video while recording the podcast.

Migration Planning

At Figaf we are working on improving the IRT tool, so you can use it to gain an understanding of your SAP Integration. So you can see how many times a given message mapping, Java or XSL mapping has been executed. I think it will make it a lot easier to understand who big your integration effort will be. It should also be able to recognize which Message Mappings is using the Seeburger Message format.

Once you have a plan and an overview it is easier to start estimating the number of resources and developers you need for the project. Can you do it with your existing developers or do you need more consultants. It also depends on the number of hours you need to spend on the migration.

 

Business Case for a migration

Nobody cares about you running your Migration Project, and the business would probably prefer you did not do it. Because you will not be able to deliver new integration for a period of time. The big cust will though be if you don’t do it and are stuck on an unsupported version of the SAP PI system. Also, it will be more difficult to make new development and if you have to create ccBPMs that need to be converted at some point in the future to a bigger cost.

If they are going to be involved because of the testing, it may be an idea to get the Figaf IRT application to perform business test so the business doesn’t need to spend time on it.

You can get a list of all my resources at and be notified

 

 

029 – SAP Integration with Adam Kiwon

In this podcast, I have a conversation with Adam Kiwon. Adam is a part of WhitePaper InterfaceDesign. He is posting some of his products and idea at https://www.integration-excellence.com. Adam and his team have created different CPI Adapters, content, and product for making SAP PI/PO better.  

We do cover quite a bit of different areas regarding integration, it was pretty educational for me to be a part of the conversation.

  • Migration strategies when it makes sense. And we talk a little about upgrading single stack 7.31 system and migration to single stack
  • Creating CPI adapters and how they did it
  • How to create CPI content as a partner and the CPI marketplace
  • How Adam sees the need for tools to improve CPI/PI where he has different interface monitoring systems
  • Why Adam had proposed to use the Figaf Seeburger tools for migrating to the B2B Add-on on a project
  • We talked about some of the training they where working on for the CPI.

 

Today's episode is all about cloud integration. I'm joined by Marco Verhoef who has worked for the last seven years for a Netherlands utilities company. He has been pushing his company way from SAP-PI and towards cloud integration. The business case for making that transition was largely cost related. Cloud computing was a better solution for a number of reasons. First was eliminating the need for regular updates which was costing his company as much as €50 thousand per year. The hardware costs were dramatically lower as well. Just running the servers cost €6000 per month. Marco has achieved a lot in the two years since he first proposed a cloud strategy. They have installed an Azure environment. They have also implemented field class and an external worker environment. He thinks the field class setup was very similar to using SAP. He found that HCI was not that mature two years ago but by working with the product developers he was able to guide the process. One of the more frustrating issues using SAP was ccBPM. HCI uses one ID and one window to do configuration and development which is much more user friendly than SAP-PI. The entire process took Marco and his team 18 months to complete. Migrating all the interfaces was the biggest task. There have been no performance issues though at times it can be slow. Marco thinks that has more to do with bandwidth limitations rather than a processing issue. Marco says before considering cloud integration you need to know how complicated your current integrations are. Is it core business or just business support? A lot of companies don't even think about going to the cloud for their integration tool. Marco says everyone should at least think about it. It can be as little as €1500 per month. You can just start and create a proof of concept.

002 – Cloud integration stories with Marco Verhoef

Today’s episode is all about cloud integration. I’m joined by Marco Verhoef who has worked for the last seven years for a Netherlands utilities company called Eneco. He has been pushing his company way from SAP PI and towards SAP cloud Platform integration (CPI aka HCI).

The business case for making that transition was largely cost related. Cloud computing was a better solution for a number of reasons. First was eliminating the need for regular updates which was costing his company as much as €50 thousand per year. The hardware costs were dramatically lower as well. Just running the servers costs €6000 per month.

Marco has achieved a lot in the two years since he first proposed a cloud integration strategy. They have also implemented fieldglass, an external worker SAAS product. He thinks the fieldglass setup was very similar to using SAP PI. He found that CPI was not that mature two years ago but by working with the product developers he was able to guide the process.

One of the more frustrating issues using SAP PI was ccBPM. CPI uses one single integrated development environment to do configuration and development and is much more user friendly than SAP PI.

The entire process took Marco and his team 18 months to complete. Migrating all the interfaces was the biggest task. There have been no performance issues though at times it can be slow. Marco thinks that has more to do with bandwidth limitations rather than a processing issue.

Marco says before considering cloud integration you need to know how complicated your current integrations are. Is its core business or just business support? A lot of companies don’t even think about going to the cloud for their integration tool yet. Marco says everyone should at least think about it. For as little as €1500 per month you can start and create a proof of concept.