I was lucky enough to attend the IFG Integration Days event (part of SAPSA Impuls 2018) in Stockholm, probably the first Integration focused SAP event I’ve ever attended. As I wait to fly back to the UK I wanted to share some of the key themes and insights that I took away, so in time honoured tradition here are my top five:
1) SAP PO/PI is emphatically not dead
Of late I’ve seen customers and consultants alike write off SAP PO as ‘end of life’ on numerous occasions, this however doesn’t take into account some key facts. Namely that SAP have over 11,000 customers on SAP PO and that some of those customers have numbers of interfaces that go into five figures – that is a lot of customer investment. SAP however, haven’t forgotten this! As such SAP PO 7.5 will be supported to 2024 and there is a new version in the pipeline (taking on a new version of Java as a base) and that will likely see SAP PO supported to 2030. Given that this pushes its lifespan out another 12 years I would say that there is plenty of life in the old dog yet.
2) The Integration Suite
With the ever increasing pace at which services are released on SAP Cloud Platform it can be a bit of a challenge to work out how each service relates to the others, and whether there are any overlaps in terms of functionality. As such SAP have looked to put some sort of grouping around a number of SCP services by labelling them as the SAP Cloud Platform Integration Suite – this includes CPI, API Management, Workflow, Business Rules, Integration Content Advisor, IoT, API Business Hub and Open Connectors. Each of these services can be licenced individually and is a sensible attempt to articulate how a number of SCP services can interrelate within integration use cases.
3) Open Connectors as a differentiator
Earlier in the year I wrote a blog following SAP’s announcement around bringing SAP Open Connectors to market. At Integration Days it was clear that SAP see Open Connectors as a key differentiator both from an integration and application development perspective. The ability to simplify the consumption of data and services from third parties within SAP environments by using normalised data models and APIs provided by Open Connectors alongside the power of CPI and the rest of SCP is something quite unique in the market and can be a key differentiator for SAP.
4) Automation, automation, automation
As this was primarily a customer event it was interesting to see a number of talks that either focused on or touched upon automation topics, from automated testing to documentation. With key drivers being a move to a DevOps model of delivery, the need to deliver more integrations with a shorter turnaround, or a focus on API-led design and delivery. SAP also chimed in on the theme with an automated test tool on the roadmap for SAP PO and a number of partners with various tools to enable testing and documentation. My takeaway from this theme is that companies who want to do more, with less at a faster pace need to ensure that they give serious consideration to automating whatever they can. This is key to enabling efficiencies and more agile ways of working.
5) CPI breaks away from the SAP cloud
Whilst this has been on the roadmap for a while, SAP CPI (Cloud Platform Integration) on public cloud (initially AWS) is currently in Beta, with Azure and On-Premise deployments to follow next year. This is an interesting development as CPI to date has been locked down and SAP have had control of both the code and the infrastructure. Therefore, enabling CPI to run in the Public Cloud and On Premise opens options around integration patterns (will you be able to use CPI for On-Premise to On-Premise integration for example) and architecture decisions around high availability and disaster recovery. Whilst we don’t yet have a lot of detail about how these options will work, it is something that I think could make the case for CPI even more compelling.
Overall a really great event that brought together SAP and customer perspectives on integration topics at an important time for SAP integration, as the integration challenge grows within industry and an ever increasing set of competing products and services are available and competing for attention.