The future of SAP Integration PI, CPI and how to prepare your self

So yesterday, Tuesday, November 13. 2018, I just hosted a webinar about the key takeaways from SAP Teched and how to implement things based on it. It thinks it was one of my own webinars with most viewers (40). So it is an important topic. I think I missed the Gartner quote that 50% of the development budget will be about integration or something in that line.

When we were starting to see some cloud applications I did not see so many integrations. Lately, I have seen quite a number of a project involving some cloud application. I had seen that SAP would be able to provide some of the content as pre-delivered, but there are going to be so much more than you will need to develop. I just got an email from an SAP customer that they got a tsunami of cloud integration, so it is other areas as well.

Understand where you are going

On the webinar, I do cover how you can understand your own integrations and try to plan what integration you should be doing. I recommend that you take a look at the Integration Solution Advisor – Methodology. It has been updated and I have talked with quite a few architects using it and it gave them a good understanding of what they should be doing.

Roadmap

Then I cover the current state of the SAP PI roadmap, which will affect your existing integration. I do see the CPI on your SAP PI system as a good option to run some of your content. You probably want to start a migration if you are on a dual stack system, I have some resources on how you can do an SAP PI migration project. If you have Seeburger and want to migrate to B2B Add-on I created a webinar on how you can automate the migration. I also recorded a podcast on how a customer did a migration of Seeburger to B2B Add-on.

After you have been going thru your ISA-M you will have some integration patterns that you need new tools for. I’m covering SAP Cloud offerings for integration and their full iPaaS product. I think it would be wise to use the SAP tools first to see if they suit your needs and if not then you can find a better vendor for the solution. SAP will be adding new functions to the Cloud Offering to address the customers needs.

Operations

There is a need to make more integration at a faster pace. And you are probably not able to get more people on your team. So it is about making them as effective as possible. At Figaf we have created solutions to enable the development process to be a little easier from development, documentation, testing and supporting. You can check our tool Figaf IRT that can support the full lifecycle. I think it will help you improve your development of new features, so you will be more flexible and develop things faster.

Next week I’m hosting a webinar where I’ll cover how you can use the Figaf IRT tool to optimize your SAP PI and CPI development process.

 

View the presentation

You can watch the full video here.

 

 

Integration at #Impuls18 and IFG for Integration, you missed out

I’m on my way home from IFG for Integration/Impuls18 in Stockholm. IFG is the international focus group for Integration and consists of users in a lot of the European countries, I’m member. I think it was one of the more exciting conferences regarding SAP Integration that I have been to in a long time.

So SAPSA the Swedish SAP user group wanted to host us for the event and gave two rooms that we could use for presentations. So for most of the 2 days, there were two parallel sessions on SAP Integration. Most of the time it was stuff that people was implementing.

One big topic was about the Integration architecture, from design concept and implementation.

We did get some roadmap presentations of the SAP PI/PO and cloud integration products from SAP. Users and consultants were also contributing to what they have been doing for integration.
One of the big areas that are challenging at the moment is the hybrid integration that everybody is going thru to understand what to take away. In XI 3.0 days we had one tool that could solve all the challenges at that point in time.
How it is a lot different you have the option to use PI and then new iPaaS solution from SAP Cloud Integration Suite. One of the presentations cited Gartner, that the hybrid platform was that it is a toolbox and you should use the ones that make the most sense.

It does make a lot of sense to understand the architecture part beccause otherwise you will be focusing on the wrong thing, and probably ending up with something less optimal.
On a big QA session, we got talking around how rogue IT is causing challenges in the landscape. I created a video on it here

I did share a presentation on Open Connectors, which i believe is a pretty cool tool for integration. It takes a lot of effort away for doing integration and understanding what is going on in the landscape. I hope to get some time to record a video of it, because I don’t think my slides makes a lot of sense.

The other presentation was about how you can speed up your integration development on SAP PI/PO or CPI with the Figaf IRT tool. I got some good feedback on it after the presentation and interest.

I did make the mistake of going into the wrong room for a presentation and was stuck on one of the first rows in the middle. So I missed one of the Integration keynotes.

The only problem with the event was the vine at the party was 100 SEK (10 EUR), and it did not even taste good.

I do think that I need to update my guidelines for the SAP Integration webinar that I’m doing next week. You can signup for free to learn how you can implement a better integration .

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.