SAP HANA Cloud Integration (SAP HCI) is SAP’s cloud integration offering that significantly simplifies the needs of integration in the cloud. With SAP HCI you are able to integrate a cloud application with an on-premise application in a few steps, and then leverage predefined integration content from SAP’s integration content catalog. You don’t have to set up and maintain an on-premise integration system. SAP HCI is not limited to integration content predefined by SAP, but is also open for integration content developed and delivered by a wide ecosystem of partners. SAP HCI is a full-blown integration platform, with which you can implement any integration scenario, including the integration of non-SAP, on-premise, or in-the-cloud systems.
We explain how to do this with the following sample integration scenario. An enterprise already leverages SAP ERP HCM on-premise and now wants to use SuccessFactors Learning Management System (LMS). The company wants to raise the productivity of employees through training courses and to increase talent within the company. The training procedures are done with the help of the SuccessFactors solution.
However, the maintenance of learning successes needs to be automated as part of the employee data management within the SAP ERP HCM system. The information to be synchronized between the SuccessFactors LMS application and SAP ERP HCM include, for example, the list and description of the training courses that the employees have taken, and the start and end dates of the training courses. Let’s look at this in detail.
(For more detail about SAP HCI, see the sidebar “Integration Platform.” For more information about integration content, see the sidebar “Integration Content.”)
Configuration Steps in SAP HCI Using Predelivered Integration Content
A good starting point for integrating your on-premise functionality with the cloud is the publicly available content catalog of SAP HCI, found at https://cloudintegration.hana.ondemand.com (log-on required). The content catalog contains all the integration packages that are available for SAP HCI. An integration package consists of all the artifacts that are required to set up and configure an end-to-end integration scenario using SAP HCI. They include:
- Interface descriptions in the form of Web Service Description Languages (WSDLs) or XML Schema Definition (XSDs)
- Mappings, including value mappings
- Integration flows (Business Process Model and Notation [BPMN]-based graphical representation to describe a message flow from the sender to the receiver application)
- Adapter configuration
Figure 1 shows the content catalog of SAP HCI.
The SAP HCI content catalog containing the integration packages currently available
You can find the correct package for the integration of the SuccessFactors learning solution with SAP ERP HCM on-premise learning using SAP HCI’s built-in search capability. Click the filter option, which is the boxed icon in Figure 1. Then choose SAP HCM in the Product category. This opens a screen with two integration package options (Figure 2). The first one, called SuccessFactors LMS Curricula with SAP HCM Qualification, is for the integration between SuccessFactors LMS and SAP ERP HCM. It contains the required scenario for integration with LMS.
Choose the integration package
After selecting this package you can view all its details (Figure 3). You can see a description, the integration flows (including mappings), and the pre-configured adapters. With an adapter SAP HCI can connect to the back-end system via a specified communication protocol, log-on parameters, and time (interval).
The details for the SuccessFactors LMS curricula with the SAP HCM Qualification integration package
Click the Copy button at the bottom right corner of the integration package to copy the integration package and finalize the predelivered configuration according to the requirements of your landscape. The copy functionality allows you copy prepackaged integration packages to your own workspace of your SAP HCI tenant.
Using the navigation menu you can navigate from the Discover area (where you are currently) to the Design area workspace of the company-specific tenant of SAP HCI. Click the navigation icon (three-bar icon above the back arrow) at the top left of Figure 3 to open the navigation menu (e.g., Discover, Design, Run, and Monitor). Choose Design to go to Figure 4.
The Design area workspace of a company-specific tenant of SAP HCI
Select the integration package SuccessFactors LMS Curricula with the SAP HCM Qualification that you copied before. That takes you to Figure 5. Choose the integration flow by clicking the SFSF Curriculum Catalog on the left of the screen in Figure 5. This synchronizes the Curriculum Catalogue in order to integrate the learning successes from SuccessFactors LMS to the on-premise SAP ERP HCM system.
The integration flow is a BPMN-based graphical representation. It describes the message flow from a sender application to one or multiple receiver systems. Thus an integration flow contains all the pipeline steps that are executed during the processing of a message on its way from the sender system to the receiver applications – for example, mapping, routing, encryption, and signing of the message payload, and conversion of communication protocols.
The integration flow for the synchronization of the Curriculum Catalog data between SuccessFactors LMS and an on-premise SAP ERP HCM system
You can see a graphical representation of the entire Integration Flow in Figure 5. The end point of the SuccessFactors cloud is on the left side (e.g., SFSF_LMS) and the end point of the SAP ERP HCM on-premise system is on the right side (e.g., SAP_HCM). In principle, the integration flow is already fully functional. You just need to add the company-specific system parameters, such as the end points of the two systems that need to be integrated with each other.
To configure the integration flow, switch to edit mode by clicking the Edit button at the bottom right corner of the integration flow, which takes you to Figure 6. The Edit functionality allows you to modify prepackaged integration flows according to the requirements of your system landscape.
The configuration of connectivity parameters to integrate the SuccessFactors LMS application
Within the integration flow shown in Figure 6, the integration expert selects the connection line to the SuccessFactors LMS system on the left side of the Integration Flow. Here you enter the required parameters, such as end point URL, credentials (username, password), and further connection parameters, including:
- Address (the server address of the cloud application)
- Resource Path (which contains the path of the object that is retrieved from the SuccessFactors system)
- Credential Name (which is an alias containing the user name and password in order to logon to the SuccessFactors application)
- Operation (whether data are pulled or inserted in the back-end system)
- Entity (which is the object that is retrieved from the SuccessFactors system)
You also enter the detailed parameter settings to retrieve the object from the back-end application (e.g., all data or only data that has changed after the last retrieval run). After you have finished the configuration, you can save your integration flow by clicking the Save button at the lower right corner.
The same steps need to be repeated for the SAP ERP HCM on-premise system. In the integration flow (Figure 6) select the connection line to the SAP ERP HCM system on the right side of the integration flow and enter the required parameters (Figure 7). The parameters include the name of the directory on the SFTP server in case of a file-based integration (the directory to which the file is written), the name of the file itself, the address of the SFTP server, and other communication protocols in order to tightly integrate the SAP HCM system, such as IDoc or OData, which are supported as well.
Configuration of connectivity parameters to integrate the SAP ERP HCM system
At the end, the fully configured integration flow needs to be deployed, which is then ready to run. For this click the Deploy button at the bottom right corner of the integration flow in Figure 7. That deploys the integration flows to your own SAP ERP HCI tenant. From this moment on, the learning success of the employee is automatically synchronized from the SuccessFactors cloud to the on-premise SAP ERP HCM system.
This integration scenario is just one example of how SAP HCI integration content can be used for the integration of cloud applications. The scenarios can be much more complex and many more integration patterns can be used, such as mapping, routing, and security. All these additional integration patterns can be configured in the web user interface (UI) in a similar way as described above for the configuration of the end points.
How to Use SAP HCI to Integrate Other Applications
The example so far focused on integration between SAP ERP HCM and SuccessFactors LMS where SAP delivers standard integration content. Following is more detail about how SAP HCI can be used to integrate other applications.
SAP HCI can be licensed via different editions. One edition is the SAP HCI Application Edition, in which SAP HCI is embedded in cloud applications and can be used as the default integration option. That means you can use the SAP HCI Application Edition to integrate an SAP cloud solution with any other SAP or non-SAP application. Other SAP HCI editions are the SAP HCI Standard and Professional Editions, which allow users and partners to use SAP HCI as a stand-alone integration platform for any integration scenarios between SAP and non-SAP solutions, on premise and in the cloud. The SAP HCI Standard and Professional editions are licensed according to transferred message volume and connected systems. Lastly there is also an SAP Developer Edition available for SAP HCI, which is intended for partners to, for example, build SAP HCI integration content or connectivity options.
The available integration content for SAP HCI can also be found in the public content catalog at https://cloudintegration.hana.ondemand.com (log-on required). SAP offers prepacked integration content, for example, for the following scenarios:
- SAP C4C: SAP C4C is designed for sales, service, and marketing professionals. It equips them with SAP cloud solutions that are integrated with their on-premise SAP ERP and SAP CRM solutions. SAP HCI supports the integration of SAP C4C with both on-premise SAP ERP as well as SAP CRM.
- SAP HCI for SuccessFactors: SAP HCI for SuccessFactors is comprised of several sub-applications, such as Recruiting, LMS, BizX, and Employee Central. As of March 2015 SAP HCI integration content for the integration of SAP HCI for SuccessFactors is already available for the following scenarios: SuccessFactors HCM Suite Competency with SAP HCM Qualification for the integration of SFSF HCM Suite with SAP HCM Qualification, SuccessFactors BizX Talent Management integration with SAP ERP HCM, SuccessFactors LMS Curricula with SAP HCM Qualification integration, SuccessFactors Employee Central with third-party benefits vendor Benefitfocus, SuccessFactors Recruitment (RCM) with third-party assessment vendor People Answers, and SuccessFactors RCM with third-party assessment vendor SHL.
- SAP HCI for Globalization Scenarios: The globalization scenarios are for the integration of a company’s applications with legal authorities, for example for scenarios such as e-invoicing. These scenarios are a legal obligation in many countries (e.g., Chile, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, US, Canada, Italy, Spain, the UK, The Netherlands, Germany, Slovenia, China, Japan, India, Korea, and Australia). In Peru and Chile, for example, the legal obligations were due in October/November 2014. Therefore SAP has already delivered the solutions using SAP HCI including integration content for these two countries. The documents to be issued electronically are mainly customer invoices, but can also include payroll statements, delivery notes, and accounting information. There is a clear trend of more and more countries making emission of e-documents a mandatory requirement.
- SAP HCI for Ariba: The Ariba cloud solutions consist of the Ariba Network and the Ariba applications. The Ariba Network connects buyers and sellers with each other. The Ariba applications help buyers and sellers to become more efficient across their buying, selling, and cash-management processes. There are different technology options available for buyers and sellers to integrate with the Ariba Network. Currently it is planned that Ariba will use SAP HCI in 2015.
SAP HCI, which has been available since March 2013, leverages the underlying Platform as a Service (PaaS) capabilities from SAP HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) and uses services from SAP HCP, such as user management and security. SAP HCI runs exclusively in SAP data centers around the globe (i.e., companies can choose in which data center they should be supported). The data centers are operated by SAP, including system setup, maintenance, and operations. There is a strong focus on security in SAP HCI, such as data isolation at run time via multi-tenancy, data isolation at persistence via storage of customer data in customer-specific database tables, transport-level security via certificate- and user name-/password-based authentication, message-payload-level security for encryption, decryption, and signing and signature verification via various standards.
SAP HCI is not just SAP Process Orchestration (SAP PRO), SAP’s on-premise integration platform with more than 8,000 licensed customers, on the cloud, but a new integration platform specifically engineered for the cloud. Thus SAP HCI supports key cloud capabilities, such as rolling software updates without downtime, multi-tenancy, and horizontal scalability. Furthermore, SAP HCI also supports key capabilities that an enterprise integration PaaS (iPaaS) typically needs to have.
Integration content typically consists of integration flows, interface (APIs) descriptions, mappings, and adapter configuration. With this content, users don’t have to start from scratch to build integration scenarios, but can use the integration content as a jump-start, typically saving around 80 percent of the implementation cost of an integration scenario. SAP delivers pre-packaged integration content for many integration scenarios for cloud applications and on-premise systems. A schematic overview of the different areas for SAP HCI integration content is depicted in Figure 8.
Schematic overview of different areas of SAP HCI
As shown in Figure 8, integration content can be provided by SAP as well as partners and independent software vendors (ISVs). SAP concentrates mainly on integration content for SAP applications, while partners can typically focus on the integration of third-party systems, for which SAP often does not have the required know-how. A certification process for integration content as well as connectivity options built by partners is in place. The users of the content catalog are able to share, rate, follow, and comment on content published in the catalog, and the content catalog users are also able to enrich the content already published on the catalog in a moderated manner.
The public content catalog at https://cloudintegration.hana.ondemand.com offers integration packages for SAP HCI as well as SAP PRO. In the Discover area of the public content catalog customers and partners can browse through the available integration packages (e.g., for the integration with SAP C4C, SuccessFactors, and electronic invoicing for globalization scenarios). Typically the mappings between the different applications are the most expensive artifacts in integration implementation projects. Therefore SAP delivers many pre-built mappings for typical integration scenarios. To lay the foundation of principle re-use of mappings, SAP HCI leverages the mapping engine of SAP PRO. This means that in general you can re-use to a great extent the integration content built on SAP PRO. Future integration content will allow users to deploy the integration content on either SAP PRO or SAP HCI.
Once customers and partners have chosen an integration package, they can copy the integration package into their own workspace on their own SAP HCI tenant. This specific SAP HCI tenant can be accessed only by those users who have been authorized by the customer or partner. Within the workspace customers and partners can modify the pre-packed integration content according to the needs of their specific system landscape. For all the different phases of the integration package customers and partners can stay completely in the web-based tooling environment (i.e., from the Discover phase to the configuration, deployment, and monitoring phases the web UI provides one common environment to publish, discover, maintain, deploy, and monitor integration content, be it offered by SAP or by partners).
Roadmap for SAP PRO vs. HCI
SAP’s vision is to deliver all packaged integrations using SAP HCI. However, SAP recognizes that companies have invested in and have expertise in multiple integration technologies, both on-premise and in the cloud. Many SAP users want the freedom to choose their integration technology. They can choose to use their existing SAP integration middleware technologies on premise or in the cloud.
That means that SAP will continue to develop and market SAP PRO as well as SAP HCI in parallel in the future. SAP will also continue to deliver pre-packaged integration content for SAP PRO as well as SAP HCI. Since the SAP PRO mapping is also part of SAP HCI, companies have the choice to deploy the integration content either on SAP PRO or on SAP HCI. Existing companies can continue to use their SAP PRO platform.