How do you Document your SAP CPI Iflows

Documentation of integration has always been a strange thing. It has been pretty difficult to make sure we documented the details correctly and had enough information with. Normally you will just get some document designed to document some other thing and then try to adapt it to your integration. That will never give a good result. You may be compliant but just a waste of time if the documentation is not useful.

For SAP PI/PO we have for ages been using a Word template for the documentation of each interface. We support that with the Figaf IRT tool, so you can generate it fast. You can see an example of the SAP PI documentation here. The inspiration was to avoid having the documentation that was never updated and always had the initial version.

SAP Best practive

I did find an example of a SAP CPI template in the best practice guide. I did not like if for a few assumptions:

  • It was focusing on the wrong things that were a bit to detailed and too generic. Like a file conversion, or mapping it just has empty tabs that users need to fill in.
  • It could not be automated every well, which ment it did require a lot of user governance to host the information
  • It was juggling 3 different adapters and not showing the required details

I wanted to improve the process and make it even easier to capture the most important part of a CPI Iflow. It ended up with the following information:

  • Overview of the iFlow header information like name and description
  • History of changes logged with business requirements
  • Connection sender and receiver together with information
  • Test cases you have created for the tool
  • Flow description which is a table representation of the iflow. It will give some overview of how the different steps are connected
  • Configuration parameters configured in the full landscape, so you got some information on what is being used and the relavant resources.
  • Resources and the lat change data for them.

You can download an example of the document here for the SF to AD iflow.

There are ways to improve the document with more information. If you have anything that you think will provide value and make it easier to understand the documentation. Do let us know.

Automated documentation does have some limits like being able to update it different places, and add the extra information that makes sense.

You can try it own on your own iflows and see how it performs in your landscape.

Figaf now improves your SAP PI/PO CTS transports

SAP PI/PO Change management and documentation have not developed much. And the full cycle of development is the same. It is really a manual process that requires people are spending a lot of time on documentation.

Is your Integration Important. Do you want to minimize the downtime and failures? Then the documentation and QA important.

If you are doing spending too much time on documentation, and if you are not you don’t have enough documentation of the changes made.

We have automated the full process from start to end designed to optimize SAP PI/PO. So you can get the transport documented with all integration objects have been changed.

This means that all your SAP PI/PO transports will be

  • Documented all your development objects
  • Changed link to a business reason, so you know how have approved the change and why.
  • Tested and validated in the QA system with same set of test cases, so you know that everything works as expected.
  • Configured in once place so developers do not need access to configure production system
  • Linking with the incident system so you can get information about what is wrong with your system faster

Check out the video

Because of the above reason, you will be able to:

  • Deliver integrations faster because of an automated delivery process with less time consumption
  • Happier employees because they do not need to perform documentation manually
  • Your QA process will be a lot faster because you don’t have everything delivered automatically
  • Higher quality with fewer errors because you are able to test all integrations fast
  • Fewer differences in the productive system because people are not doing modifications in other systems

Try IRT

We also support the same change management process for SAP CPI

Links to your SAP Cloud Landscape

As a developer one of the things that I often struggle with is to understand what system I need to login to to develop. With PI your learn to remember that PIT is the test system. But with CPI you just have some seemingly random numbers and it can be difficult to remember. I have received my fair share of emails with links in that I often go search for. I need to create a long series of bookmarks. And all new developers need to do that. Now we have made it easier for you to access the different pages.

I also normally added new tab names for each system so I can remember which system I’m currently have open in my tab.

With the new release of Figaf IRT 2.8 we are adding a function to allow you to configure your full landscape so you from the Figaf home page can go to all the relevant systems. Since we support transport and monitoring in your landscape you will anyway need to configure all your systems in Figaf IRT. You can also register all instances to a landscape so you will get links to all the entries in your environment.

The new homepace of Figaf IRT now look like this.

New Figaf IRT homepage with links to all your SAP Integration tenants or systems.

From each landscape you can then go to the relavant tennant and links. You can have multiply landscapes of each.

  • For API management it is both the developer portal and the API portal.
  • For PI it is /dir, Netweaver Administrator, PI monitor and B2B Add-on homepage
  • For CPI it is design, monitoring and IRT monitoring page.

If you have ideas to more then let me know.

We may add links to SAP sites like status pages or Cloud Platfrom links.

This feature will be rolled out to Figaf IRT Cloud and Figaf IRT around 14 May. You can get free access on either link. We also have some other cool features making your development process a lot easier.

SAP PI/PO Governance made easy

One of the biggest challenges with SAP PI/PO has been the lack of governance models for users. Documentation part has really been lacking making it and it has required a lot of manual work to get it done.

The process for handling governance for SAP PI/PO is just the same as with SAP XI for 15 years ago. The tooling has not changed much. There have just been a few changes that could say to improve the area. Ever since I started with XI/PI i have been working on different ways to improve the process of documentation but we have not made the dream solution yet.

Last year we added the option to use the ticket and thereby log changes to any object in SAP PI and PO, so all versions between them would be remembered. This was the first step in making documentation easier with Figaf IRT.

Now we are ready with the next big thing liking the full development together. So all documentation of your development is linked to CTS transports. That way you will know why something was changed and can see what is being transported much more transparent.

We have also added a central configuration of your channels. So there is just one place where you need to configure the information. IRT will then apply the configuration once the transport has been imported.

You can then make exports of your Integration scenarios documentation, and then show a changelog of this. And also show what was performed as a result of a ticket that you can add to your Jira, Solman to prove what you have done.

Here you can find the recording of the webniar that I did on 1 May 2019, where we showed this information to the public.

We are soon adding this to the release, so signup to check out the current version, and be the first to know once we have released the new iteration. If you have ideas on how to improve the tool and be a part of the beta program reach out to support@figaf.com.

Run Figaf IRT in your own Cloud

We have added the Figaf Cloud. as a way to allow users to run our tool to manage the SAP CPI and API management. It is a great way to scale and deploy your application.

We have it hosted in Google Cloud Platform in a Kubernetes cluster. It i pretty easy to do in GCP and it allow scaling of the application pretty easy. It did take some time to understand how to build the app and secure the application.

For customers, it is a really good way to get started using Figaf IRT because they don’t even need to install anything. And all their partners can get access to the network and run applications. So a customer can run all the application to perform DevOps on the SAP CPI and API management systems. The DevOps include

  • Monitoring and alerting
  • Change Tracking or Versioning, so you can link business requirement with a change
  • Documentation
  • Testing
  • Transport of CPI/API flows

With all the focus on data protection, it may prove to be difficult to control all your data that exists in the Figaf IRT solution. You want to have control of where it is located.

We have an ompremish installation of the Figaf IRT tool and it contains the same features as the cloud, though there can be a bit of delay with it because of the release cycles of the applications. One problem that we often hear is so where should we install the IRT application. It can sometime be deficult to find a database and a Virtual server where the Java application can run.

Cloud

For some customers it is much easier to go buy/start a server in the cloud from GCP, AWS or Azure. You can have a direct connection from the cloud enviorment to your on-premish system and thereby get access. The integration department can then get the server self and run it there.

Our installation is pretty simple you can basicly just start the application with the click of a button. It does require a bit more effort if you want to run it with specific databases and setup SSL. It take 30 minutes to install IRT if you have installed the database. The good thing about the cloud enviorments is they all have the PostgreSQL server that we use as a managed. It will then eliminate some of the Normal DB operations that you are doing and just handle it with a few click in the web configuration.

It will also be possible to provide upgrades fairly simple. We have made a docker image that you can use.

We have added a Docker image to DockerHub, so you can run IRT pretty simple to get started with using it. You will need to make a few configurations to get it running. We have a guide on running it on Azure with the hosted database.

The container for running IRT on a Docker image in one of the places starts at 200 USD a month, depending on how you want to scale and have it to perform.

Try it

You can also try Figaf IRT out on your own laptop fast.