How to get paid more for your SAP PI/PO/Cloud Integration Projects

I started my IT profession in one of the big five accounting companies in 2001. One of the things I got really impressed by was how they were able to create nice looking models of how to approach all kinds of challenges.  It is a lot easier to sell something to a customer if you had a model then you had a superior product. If you have the matching powerpoint that you can show it becomes even easier. The model did have some good ways of approaching the situation from a business perspective, but it relied heavily on the experience of the consultants.

Example of a model, probably not the best. It does have nice colors

I was writing my master thises around one of the models for security testing. My focus was on how we could improve the testing with an automated tool. This way we would be able to test more with the same resources. The tool we build worked ok thought it was not the easiest to use. I did manage to get the project approved and got my masters degree.

I did learn that you need a good framework to show you are different and can command higher rates.

I wrote a blog on the importance of having a great quality and how difficult it is for customers to judge. Customer score price and quality as separate parameters, and score them in some way. If you are able to prove your score in quality you may be able to command a higher price. The way you can document your quality is with:

  • ISO, ITIL or other certifications
  • Have customer references
  • Having a model that shows what you will do
  • Have a tool that automates the processor model

How are using Models or Frameworks

SAP Activate (credit: SAP)

SAP has SAP Activate which assists companies to implement S/4 HANA faster. It is using a methodology, a set of templates for best practices and the solution manager tool. It should all be making it a lot faster to implement S/4 for customers and enable them to faster take the leap of faith and start the implementation. Earlier they also had the ASAP (Accelerated SAP) implementation method. They have updated the model to be more agile focused suitable to newer approaches. 

In some cases, you may have your own methodology for delivery. Either a project management or from a service delivery point of view. You can present in a slide deck of about 105 slides. That covers all the situations and explain how the business will get all the benefits and no risk for the implementation project.

For SAP PI/PO projects you can follow any form of a waterfall or agile methods. From what I have seen there is a lot of exploration in the process to get users to understand what is going on. There has not been that many tools allow you to increase your performance and reduce the risk.

At Figaf we are working to improve the development process making it a lot faster to do developments. This will support your projects making it a lot faster for you to do the implementation and will lower the risk for you. The same thing is true for SAP PI/PO project the better framework you have for prove that you will deliver quality the better.

And if you can show this is not just paperwork but something that has an IT system behind will improve the quality even more. Enabling you to get bigger projects. 

What tools will help SAP PI/PO or Cloud Integration

We have the following offer things that could be in your next bid, to ensure that you can prove your work and what you are doing.

  • SAP PI/PO/Cloud Integration lifecycle tool. This will allow tracking of what objects are changed, show you the difference between each version and show and test the objects in question for any project.
  • SAP PI Support tool that will allow you to handle errors faster and ensure you document how to solve the issues.
  • SAP PI Test tool that allows you to set up test cases for all scenarios fast and runs them. You can use it for
    • Migration project to ensure there is no impact on the output messages
    • Upgrade project where you just want to upgrade the SAP PI/PO system to latest support pack and do not want to test too much
    • Everyday development of interface where you want to be able to do regression testing.
  • Seebuger to B2B Add-on Migration tool that allows you to speed up the conversion of the old mappings to use the new formats for X12 and EDIFACT. In this we would also recommend the test tool, so you can ensure that everything is covered and there are no surprises. 

(The first 3 tools is grouped into just one application that you can run standalone making it easy to deploy and use on projects)

You can try out the products for free on the website or simply just register below.

Why will a tool help your projects

As a consultancy, you are often billing for a number of hours so the more hours you work the better. If you can lower the number of hours you work and get a higher rate for your works it will give you bigger revenue. Some of the reasons are: 

  • A lower number of hours worked, so you can command higher rates for the hours or have fixed price projects
  • Reduce the risk of your project
  • Improve the quality of your documentation
  • Better employee satisfaction because they are not going to spend as much time on the creation of boooring documents
  • Better business satisfaction with your services, so you will be able to work long-term with the customer

At the moment I don’t have any SAP service partners at the moment, but some are looking at it.

We can also get a price for your project that accounts for project duration and number of developers, so it can match your project scope.

Whitepaper of what Figaf IRT can do for your SAP PI/PO or CPI integrations

Over the last 6 months, our IRT application has expanded from just being an application that facilitates SAP PI/PO testing to deal with more of the full development process for SAP Integration.  We have added the following capabilities.

  • Filter your SAP PI/PO alerts so you can see new errors and document how old errors can be resolved
  • Enable you to test SAP Cloud Platform Integration(CPI)
  • That you don’t need to install anything at the PI system to use the tool
  • Enable you to track all development objects on SAP PI/PO and CPI so you can see the difference on each one
  • Create Ticket to log which objects you have changed for any specific use cases, so you can document what you have done to solve a ticket.

    Download the Figaf IRT white paper now

    • Test all the ICOs where an object is used like a message mapping

We have had some challenging trying to communicate all of the functions that we are supporting in the process and how it worked. So now I finally was able to create a document that tries to explain all the capabilities we have in an easy to read manner.

We have tried to make it as appealing to the business but also explain what we are doing to make the life easier for integration developers.

You can download it here

If you have any idea on how to improve it, please share.

Get FIGAF IRT and start using it for free here

 

 

 

Testing SAP PI/PO without installing anything on the PI server

With Figaf IRT we have been able to test your SAP PI/PO system for two years.

One of the big concerns of customers was that they needed to install our component on their SAP PI/PO system. We have tried to ensure that it cannot break anything and they can receive the code for it. I do understand the challenge in organizations.

That is the reason that new now have added a new feature that allows users to test only their SAP PI/PO interfaces without installing any code on the server. They just download our Jar application and start it on the local laptop for testing. Then add connection information on the PI server, and in most cases, you can use your existing SAP PI user for it.

You can try it out now at https://figaf.com/irt

It is free up to 10 ICOs/100 inbound messages used for testing. You can run it as many times as you like. There is also a host of other features for testing and improving the development of interfaces.

Requirements for testing

You must have JAVA 8 on your laptop to run the IRT application. And it must be able to start up the web application that is build in to it.

You need a patched system after October where the feature to read payloads from the log messages was released. See SAP note 2437778 

You user must have access to read in the message logs and possible setup the XI30 channel for running the test with.

You will need to have the interface to save both the inbound and outbound message (BI and AM) . You can configure this global or just for the specific ICO/Iflow See this blog on the logging. It is just the logging required not the staging.

Future development on this

We still have a few improvement that will be delivered over the next weeks.

  • The ability to look in the history instead of just from you start the recording. This will make it a lot faster to setup test cases because the system could see everything you have processed.
  • Option to add the standard SAP Logging modules on the channels to allow recording of messages after module. It will cost a little on the performance and storage requirements but for some scenarios it will make it easier to run
  • Support for other patterns than just Async.

I’m looking forward to hear you feedback on how this works in the real world.

Migrate from Seeburger to SAP PI B2B Addon webinar

Yesterday I hosted a webinar where we covered how to migrate from Seeburger on SAP PI to B2B Addon on SAP PO.

In the webinar, I covered some of the biggest challenges with migration.

  • How to create a business case for it. This is one of the challenges that I cannot help that much with, the main reason would be to the Seeburger Licensing. I’m unclear what it would mean.
  • How to convert the mappings. The message structures have changed, so you will need to update the schemas. It is not much but you need to do it correctly to ensure nothing is changed.
  • How to get rid of the seeburger User-Defined functions. The B2B Add-on have some different approaches to variables and counters, you probably need to upgrade the mappings to ensure that it works smoothly.
  • How to ensure everything is tested correctly. You don’t want to coordinate a migration with your partners more than necessary. So you just want to move the mappings and then ensure you have tested enough in the process.

I have two products that work to improve such a migration

Seeburger Migration Tool to migrate your mappings from the old format to the new. https://figaf.com/SMT

Figaf SAP PI testing tool IRT  https://figaf.com/IRT

To learn more have a look at the webinar replay.

Or have a look at the slides from the presentation

 

The Goldilocks Zone of Change management for SAP PI

Setting the correct change management procedure can be challenging. You need to capture the right things and not too much.

For one SAP PI/PO client, I just had to do development in Dev, and then move to production to test. I was really uncomfortable doing this.
Another client requires a lot more effort to do the transportations needed. Here is multiple checks and validations to do transports. Here it takes too long time to do something.

That is the reason I believe there is a Goldilocks zone for change management you need to do not too little and not too much.

In many places, people are just trying to implement the same changes that they have to do ERP changes. Which is probably not ideal for transporting SAP PI/PO objects. I have been spending a lot of time making documentation that was not ideal.

In my example where I had to change a field in the XML formats it would be nice if I could mark the changes and then use it. The more manual work you are going to do the more difficult it will be to make the documentation and ensure it is correct. And how do you find it when it is necessary. So at the client, I worked where we had a lot of documentation we could just capture a few lines text about what we had done on the interface. Finding it again would be difficult because how did you find the message mapping information.

 

For SAP PI/PO we are working to improve our Change Tracking tool that allows you to do better change management on your landscape. We have currently been looking at just directory objects, but in the next, release we will also have documentation of repository objects. This will allo you to assign a ticket and a description of why something was changed. You can then see for a message mapping when something was changed in it and why. You can also do an easy comparing between the versions to find the differences.

Read more at http://figaf.com/ctt