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The Best Ways to Choose Your integration platform in sap landscape

Published on 5 January 2021
Integration Platform in SAP Landscape
Lekshmi Nirmala
Lekshmi Nirmala
Lead Consultant

With more than 14 years of experience in Technical Consulting for SAP R/3 mainly in SAP XI/PI/PO, Lekshmi Nirmala is the SAP Lead Consultant at Applexus Technologies. A certified XI Consultant, Lekshmi has rich Industrial experience in Retail, Manufacturing, Service (Airport) and Government sectors in the areas of Enterprise Application Integration, B2B applications, and Enterprise Resource Planning.

The Best Ways to Choose Your integration platform in sap landscape

In today’s world of digital transformation, more and more customers are focusing on SAP’s cloud products after considering the benefits for the long run. With multiple cloud as well as on-premise applications in the landscape, the integration platform is one of the major areas of concern for a majority of customers. While planning to build the customer landscape on a cloud platform, an important topic that turns up in every discussion is the integration platform and the various options from SAP. Choosing the right integration platform will give customers the flexibility to meet current and future integration requirements of the organization.  SAP is aware of this and they continue to work on this aspect to make integration for cloud and hybrid platforms easier.

SAP’s two complementary offerings in the integration domain designed to make the job of integration simple are:

  • SAP CPI
  • SAP PO
SAP Cloud Platform Integration

Customers may face some challenges when choosing the correct integration platform for their landscape especially when they decide to utilize a mix of products from SAP’s cloud and on-premise applications. So, as a practice, our rule of thumb is - SAP CPI for cloud integration and SAP PO for on-premise integration. This sounds like a straightforward solution when the customer landscape is either on-premise or cloud. But more commonly, customers have a hybrid landscape where they have both on-premise and cloud applications. When it comes to a hybrid landscape there is no hard and fast rule on the choice of integration platform. Let’s look at some of the vital points to be considered that will help customers finalize the integration tool for an SAP landscape.

Cloud Landscapes

In a cloud dominate landscape where the customer concentrates on cloud-to-cloud integration, SAP CPI becomes inevitable part of the landscape. SAP is coming up with more and more solutions in cloud and CPI is SAP’s strategic integration platform for SAP Cloud customers. CPI is cloud based solution which allows orchestrating processes and integrating data with ease. By building data and application integration platform in cloud, SAP makes the integration really simple. CPI helps to connect cloud applications seamlessly with on-premise or cloud applications without extensive coding. We can jumpstart the integration by leveraging pre-built integration flows and adapters thus reducing the development effort. It is a really flexible platform which makes integration much simpler and being a cloud based solution, customers will always work with latest version without worrying about upgrade. So for cloud-to-cloud integration the recommended integration platform is SAP CPI.

Large number of on-premise applications

Compliance with data security might be one of the reasons for customers to opt for an on-premise solution.  Some customer landscapes have various on-premise applications which are critical for their business operations with no plans to decommission these applications in the near future. These on-premise applications can be either SAP or non-SAP, involved in numerous business scenarios and which demand on-premise applications to interact with each other. In this situation it is better to use SAP PO for integration instead of SAP CPI.  With both solutions to be integrated remaining on-premise, the cloud benefits of SAP CPI will be lost in such scenarios.

If the customer already has SAP PO used for quite a number of integration scenarios and they are not planning to phase out existing on-premise solutions in the long run then it’s better to use SAP PO. If the primary focus of such customers is on-premise then they can continue to use SAP PO for hybrid scenarios. These customers would have made a significant investment in terms of money and skillset, so they would be happy to leverage SAP PO for hybrid integration scenarios. 

Hybrid landscapes

Starting from release 7.5, SAP PO supports runtime for SAP CPI which enables customers to deploy the cloud integration content developed for SAP CPI into SAP PO. Thus customers can make use of the best out of both worlds to nurture their business by deploying prepackaged cloud integration content for CPI into SAP PO and at the same time continue to use on-premise solution i.e. SAP PO.

If the customer plans to procure multiple cloud applications from SAP and wants to leverage SAP CPI for more flexibility then we can think of a co-existence scenario where SAP PO can be used along with SAP CPI in a hybrid model in the customer landscape. The customer can continue using SAP PO for existing on-premise integrations and SAP CPI for cloud integrations. Also if the customer policy demands routing all on-premise communication via SAP PO, then in hybrid scenarios SAP CPI can be integrated via SAP PO for communication with on-premise applications.

Future Roadmap

SAP is evolving so fast with more solutions in cloud and SAP Cloud Platform. In terms of cloud integration, SAP CPI is much simpler and comes up with many standard solutions thus demanding less involvement from development team. In short, if customer’s long term strategy is to move to cloud then rather than building integrations in SAP PO, then go with SAP CPI.

No more SAP PO with Cloud Integration?

The decision to go for on-premise or cloud applications depends entirely on the nature of the business and plans for the future. SAP CPI’s gaining popularity has made it the preferred integration platform as it provides both customers and partners the flexibility to develop integration solutions. Still we could see multiple customers opting SAP PO as the middleware.  So, the above factors discussed here will help the customer to select the correct integration platform that suits their requirements and aligns with their plan to leverage SAP’s cloud applications.

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