Highlights from the Figaf Blog 2018

So, here, at the beginning of 2019, I think it will be appropriate to take a look back on what happened on the blog on Figaf.com during 2018.

Last year, we published 35 posts on the blog. Some blogs post were about new releases on some of Figafs´s tools, some were about new insights or how I did see the future and some were about how you can use SAP PI/PO to optimize your workflow. To be honest, I had great fun making all the videos, slideshows and blog posts.  Still, after working with SAP in more than 15 years, I find it very interesting to develop new functions on the different tools, Figaf offers, so that users, in the end, will have a better experience working with  SAP PI/PO.

So, in this blog post, I will take a trip down memory lane and show you the three blog post from 2018, that I appreciate most. Not necessarily, because it was exactly these blogs which had most readers or got most shares or likes on the social media, but because they are still worth reading today in the very early stage of 2019.

Why our testing is different than most test systems for SAP PI

This first post, “Why our testing is different than most test systems for SAP PI“, was published March 24, 2018. This blog is still very interesting, because of two reasons. Firstly, testing is, and will always be, a very important part of working with SAP PI. Secondly, the blog follows up on a podcast with Mark Oshifeso, who is a customer of Figaf IRT.

It is always very interesting for me when customers take time to explain, which challenges they see when they are working with SAP PI. And maybe it will also be valuable for you to read.

SAP PI/PO support, why not learn from the errors

The second post, “SAP PI/PO support, why not learn from the errors“, was published on September 28, 2018. I think it is still worth a read because it is very important to learn from errors and bad created scenarios when you work with SAP/PO.

As you can read in the blog, there are two kinds  of errors in an SAP PI/PO context:

  1. Errors that repeat and solvable by actions like restart the message, refresh of the cache or send mail to the business user in charge.
  2. Errors that occur because a coding error that will be fixed and never occur again (hopefully.

In the blog, you will find a video, where I talked about how you can optimize your SAP PI/PO Support.

Optimize your SAP PI/CPI development

The last blog post I would like you to take a look at is called “Optimize your SAP PI/CPI development“, and was published November 21, 2018. SAP is always in progress, and it is important to set aside time to develop so that your scenarios and solutions always are up to date. In other words, I think it will be valuable for you to take a look at the blog.

In the blog post I talk about a process built on the following steps:

  • Scoping
  • Development
  • Testing
  • Document
  • Transport
  • Validation
  • Go live
  • Support

In the blog, I also talk about a webinar, I held, about how the Figaf tool allows you to optimize and automize the different steps in the process, so you don´t have to have all the manual paper tasks to fill in. You will get much greater visibility into what is developed of your SAP PI/CPI landscape.

I hope you liked the content, I have chosen for this blog post. If so, you might also like to see Highlights from the integration podcast 2018.

If you have questions to the three blogs or other topics regarding Figaf.com, do not hesitate to contact me.

IRT SAP CPI Monitoring

In my opinion, many companies are using too much time on their support process, while working with SAP Cloud Integration (CPI/HCI). They do not have the big overview, that can help them to create and optimize the best scenarios for their workflow.  This is one of the reasons why I have created the Figaf IRT SAP CPI Monitoring. With this tool, you will be able to manage your support process in a much more efficient way. IRT SAP CPI monitoring with automation will help you to automize many of your tasks. The automation both means that the work is always done correctly and that you can use your time on something else.

I wrote about how you can monitor and search for messages earlier, and it gained some interest so it is something the SAP CPI users are interested in check out the post How to search for messages in SAP CPI, here you can see how to make it easier to monitor your iflows so they contain information that tracks them correctly.

Normally it is a slow job working with support and many things you have to take care of manually. And you have to do it in many different places. This means, that it is very difficult to remember to check all the different places, where you have to make changes, and more important: It is not easy to be sure, that all the changes are made correctly.  And that is way, IRT CPI Monitoring will be a valuable tool to many companies. You can then have just one way to monitor and support both SAP PI/PO and SAP CPI, so  you can set up rules for the processing.

Besides the normal rules we have, it would be possible to retrigger some scenarios with the tool if they are using SOAP or HTTP, but that is something that we need to develop together with a customer.

In this video, I will tell you more about IRT SAP CPI Monitoring with automation:

I offer to solutions to help you with your automation:

  • A cloud solution. If you want more information about this, please contact me. It is still in beta but has the same code line.
  • An on-premise installed version of the Figaf Integration Regression Tool can help you make better documentation to ensure you know what is changed and that you can test the correct interfaces. You can try it for free. Please take a look at figaf.com/irt

 

 

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 .

Test your SAP PI/PO transports

SAP PI/PO development is not just about creating interfaces, map the documents and configure the interface. There is the full change management part about ensuring you know what is transported and ensuring it is tested correctly. This is something that normally requires a lot of paperwork and manual steps. It is one of the critical things about the process, to ensure that nothing else is broken.

We have been working on a tool for making sure that the testing works better and is a lot faster to set up. We have now implemented a functionality that allows you to run the same test on your QA environment with a click of a button. We have had the option earlier but it required some manual work, now you can just select which system to run the test on and it will happen.  You can also run the tests with the key of your transports.

Check out the video on the tool and how easy it is to run the same tests again on your Test system.

 

 

The solution is designed to work together with the SAP Transport (CHARM) you just need to implement a call once the transport has been imported to ensure that the test is called with the correct system.

We have a free version that allows you to start testing your system really fast and then it has the option to also support in your development process.

It is really fast to implement the solution and get it up and run. It will probably take 15 minutes to get it running on your system.

 

 

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.