Alternatives to SAP PI/PO
⇨ Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) helps in the communication between different enterprise applications to move business data across various systems in the landscape.
⇨ SAP Process Orchestration (PO) provides various adapters for establishing connectivity with various systems and has been the middleware of choice for 12500+ customers across the globe.
⇨ Customers can choose from various deployment options, licensing models, and support plans according to their requirements.
Introduction to EAI and SAP PI/PO
Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) is the implementation of technologies that facilitate communication between various enterprise applications to move business data across various systems in the landscape. An EAI can integrate different types of systems like Databases, File based servers, Web services and packaged application solutions like SAP ERP etc.,
Most customers with SAP in their landscape have used SAP’s own middleware to make their integrations seamless. SAP XI (Exchange Infrastructure) was the chosen middleware of SAP customers since early 2000s. This product evolved over the years and as SAP added different features to it, SAP changed its name to SAP Process Integration and most recently to SAP Process Orchestration. SAP PO provides various adapters like SFTP, JDBC, IDoc, SOAP, OData, REST, RFC etc., for establishing connectivity with various systems. It has a powerful monitoring tool that provides both overview and detailed message monitoring views.
- SAP PO can integrate on-premise as well as cloud applications. SAP PO has been the middleware of choice for 12500+ customers across the globe.
The most recent release is the SAP Process Orchestration 7.5 for which SAP will provide maintenance until 2030.
While SAP will continue to provide new upgrades to SAP PO, let’s look at the alternatives available to customers looking for options – in case they wish to plan for an earlier migration
SAP Integration Suite
SAP Integration Suite (aka Cloud platform integration – CPI) is an Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) that provides Integration tools and prebuilt content to help its customers solve their Integration challenges. It is part of SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) which brings together integration, data analytics, artificial intelligence, automation in one unified environment.
Customers can develop new cloud and hybrid integrations to connect on-premise and cloud-based applications.
Customers can import their existing design objects like mapping etc. from SAP PO’s Enterprise Service Repository into CPI. Like SAP PO, CPI provides various native SAP adapters for seamless integration with SAP S4 HANA and SAP ECC.
CPI provides access to SAP Open Connectors which has hundreds of connectors making it easy to integrate with many popular third-party cloud applications like Amazon S3, Facebook, Twitter, Google Suite, Jira etc.,
SAP CPI provides access to 2000+ pre-built integrations developed by SAP and its partners. These integration flows can be used with just minimal configurations and deployed straightway in the tenant. Customers who have several SAP cloud applications in their landscape such as Success Factors, Ariba, Concur Fieldglass etc. benefit from the pre-built content ready to be configured and deployed.
Customers can choose from various available data centres spread across the globe with service providers such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft & SAP.
Apart from Application-to-application integrations, SAP CPI also supports Business-to-Business and Business-to-Government scenarios. The Integration Advisor capability uses artificial intelligence to accelerate integrations with business partners. There is a lot more investment planned in this AI connectivity space.
SAP Integration Suite also consists of API management which lets the users design, publish & manage APIs.
Event mesh provides messaging capabilities through which events can be transferred between applications such as SAP S/4HANA and third-party applications.
- SAP Integration suite’s licensing options include Standard, Premium and Digital editions.
- Standard edition includes one tenant and 10,000 messages per month, while the premium edition allows 4 tenants and up to 10 million messages a month.
- SAP offers pay-as-you-go and subscription-based pricing models.
Customers sometimes choose to move all their existing integrations from SAP PO to SAP Integration Suite in other cases it is more strategic to move their cloud & hybrid integrations to CPI and retain their on-premise integrations in SAP PO.
(BTW – at emphasys we have a partnership with a tool provider that automates the discovery and documentation (including transformations) of every interface in your PI/PO landscape to facilitate your migration.)
MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform is a widely used Integration platform for connecting SaaS and enterprise applications in the cloud and on-premise.
MuleSoft provides numerous pre-built APIs to integrate various applications and systems.
- A recommended approach is to design one system API per application and then have one experience API for each of the systems looking to access data from the applications.
- This approach decouples the systems, allowing them to communicate without dependency on or knowledge of other participants.
Mule Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) allows integration of applications over a bus-like infrastructure. The core concept of the ESB architecture is connecting different applications by putting a communication bus between them and then enable each application to talk to this bus.
Mulesoft Anypoint platform is now a part of the Salesforce Integration Cloud. Customers can choose from several deployment options like Cloudhub which is managed by Mulesoft on AWS, Runtime Fabric which is a container service that brings cloud benefits to on-premise deployments. There is also a hybrid option where Mule runtimes can be deployed across any cloud, including Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS.
Mulesoft provides access to hundreds of connectors to help customers integrate with various applications like SAP, Amazon, and several SaaS applications.
The licensing is based on the number of virtual cores allocated to the customer. Mulesoft provides Gold, Platinum, and Titanium support models. Gold plan offers only core features to get started with APIs and Integrations. The Platinum and Titanium plans offer advanced features like High Availability, Flexible hybrid deployment, advanced log management etc.
The SLA for support tickets varies based on the plans, with Titanium plan offering the fastest turnaround time.advanced
Dell Boomi is another powerful iPaaS available in the market. Dell Boomi Atmosphere is a multi-tenant cloud-based integration platform that facilitates data and application integration. It has a rich set of connectors to facilitate cloud, on-premise and hybrid integrations. Boomi’s licensing model is based on the number of endpoints.
Other big iPaaS players in the market include Informatica, TIBCO, Azure Logic Apps, Oracle, IBM and several others. Customers should select the iPaaS based on what best suits their landscape.
Whilst there are many options – at emphasys we can help you build a strategic blueprint and the decision criteria specific to your business to facilitate the decision making.
Factors to consider when selecting an integration platform
Most of the products mentioned above can do the job just right, but there are several factors that determine which integration platform is best suited for a particular customer. A few factors to consider:
- Which Applications are there in the landscape? (An SAP centric landscape would benefit from an SAP middleware.)
- Are there available resources with the skillset to support the implementation and support?
- Which product offering provides a licensing model that suits your company?
- Which Integration platform have the connectors that your company requires?
- What is the ease of deployment and project timelines per product?
- Which product provides the best support and service?
- What is your long term strategy – are you planning to build a composable enterprise – or reusable API library to be consumed by your enterprise?