Assessing Your Integration Strategy

Objectives

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Describe the integration maturity level of your company
  • Evaluate your integration strategy

The Integration Maturity Level of Your Company

The systematic integration approach, which is divided into four phases, helps you to implement integrations and ensures the transformation to an intelligent, sustainable enterprise. The objective of the first phase, "Assessment of your Integration Strategy," is to identify the integration maturity level. Here, we look at whether existing integration strategies and integration technologies meet the needs of the company or not. Part of this step is to review the integration architecture by performing a scoping of focus areas more precisely to identify the future building blocks of your integration platform. SAP Integration Solution Advisory Methodology makes this possible by using technology-agnostic use case patterns to identify future integration bundling blocks that are needed. This in turn enables the support of new integration patterns, because:

  • Often it is necessary to update your integration strategy and complement your integration platform to support the new strategy and the new integration patterns.
  • The desire to adopt cloud-based solutions is high, because the more you move to the cloud, the more important it is to review your integration strategy in this area so that the transformation to the cloud can run smoothly.
  • The need for a standardized integration platform becomes more and more relevant. However, this happens mostly through mergers and acquisitions to complement or to streamline your technology portfolio and to have a unified governance for that.

There are many integration scenarios. Performing an integration strategy assessment is essential in those scenarios because the differences of the solutions that should be integrated are huge.

Integration Domains, Styles, and Use Case Patterns

Discover Integration Domains

Integration domains describe typical areas (Cloud2Cloud, OnPremise2Cloud, and so on) in a hybrid landscape where integration is needed. Most customers are in the transition phase from OnPrem2OnPrem to hybrid applications (OnPrem2Cloud).

Depending on the business strategy, it might also be important for you to integrate either user-centric applications (User2Cloud, User2OnPremise), for example, to better support your customers or physical objects with IoT (Thing2Cloud, Thing2OnPremise). The SAP Integration Solution Advisory Methodology template provides a table where you can specify which integration domains are relevant for your company and which are currently under evaluation. You can also list the currently used integration technologies (as-is). This defines the first level of the Integration Strategy and reduces the scope of the integration domains.

The Integration Assessment includes predefined integration domain definitions which also allows you to perform an assessment of integration domains, which you can adapt.

You can download the template here: template

How to use:

  • 1. Specify the relevance of each integration domain for your organization.
  • 2. For every integration domain that is currently in use, add the integration technologies, if existing (as-is).

Find more information in the Perform a Scoping of Integration Domains lesson.

The following table gives an overview of the Integration Domains.

Current Scope of Integration Domains

Integration DomainDescription
Cloud2CloudIntegration of cloud-based business applications with other cloud-based business applications.
Cloud2OnPremiseIntegration of cloud-based business applications with business applications that are deployed on premises.
OnPremise2OnPremiseIntegration of business applications that are deployed on premises.
User2CloudIntegration of cloud-based business applications with user-centric applications.
User2OnPremiseIntegration of business applications that are deployed on premises with user-centric applications.
Thing2CloudIntegration of cloud-based business applications with real world objects (Internet of Things).
Thing2OnPremiseIntegration of business applications that are deployed on premises with real worldobjects (Internet of Things).

Identify the Functions of Integration Styles and Use Case Patterns

Integration styles describe basic categories or types of integration in hybrid and cloud-centric environments. They are defined with the help of various characteristics and can be refined by use-case patterns. In total, there are five integration styles available within SAP Integration Solution Advisory Methodology:

Explanations about the five integration styles:

  • Process Integration: How to chain business processes across business applications.
  • Data Integration: How to synchronize data between business applications.
  • Analytics Integration: How to derive and expose analytical data for business insights from business applications.
  • User Integration: How to integrate user-centric applications with business applications.
  • Thing-centric Integration: How to integrate real-world things with business applications.
Note
As a customer, you have to make a high-level assessment of your integration architecture, which includes the integration styles.

All integration styles are technology agnostic and are applicable within multiple integration domains (for example, cloud, on-premise, hybrid). Those characteristics can help enterprise architects/integration architects to map integration styles to the relevant capabilities of integration technologies/services (as part of the technology mapping). The listed criteria can be used as a starting point for discussions and could be further refined in your specific context.

Besides the five integration styles, cross use cases and use case patterns are important in assessing your integration strategy.

Use case patterns cover common integration scenarios in your company. They are defined in a technology agnostic way, which is developed based on business perspectives and requirements. The use case patterns are grouped along the integration styles. By having those use case patterns, every integration style can be refined. The SAP Integration Solution Advisory Methodology framework includes an extensible library with predefined use case patterns. You can use them as a starting point in your business and you can flexibly adapt the library of use case patterns to your specific needs, for example, by adding additional use case patterns or removing patterns that are not relevant for you. So far, the library provides more than 20 integrations patterns.

Some use cases cannot be assigned to one single integration style. These are called "cross-use cases". Cross-use cases form categories for all integration-related use cases that complement one or more integration styles. For the current version of the SAP Integration Solution Advisory Methodology, there are five cross use-cases. For instance, API-Managed Integration, which provides full-lifecycle management for APIs that, for example, can be leveraged in user- or process-centric integration scenarios.

Cataloging Integration Use-Case Patterns

It is advisable and helpful to group the individual integration use cases. SAP Integration Solution Advisory Methodology has the advantage of already providing a catalog of predefined integration use cases that can be customized as needed. The different integration use case patterns are grouped by integration styles and cross use case patterns from other groups.

That means that for each pattern, the catalog provides a description, an illustration, and an example in the context of an SAP business application. There are two different types available, as follows:

  • Pre-defined samples by SAP: They are provided by SAP. This means that means pre-defined integration scenarios as part of, for example, SAP solutions or integration packages, which you can find at SAP Business Accelerator Hub.
  • "Customized" samples (samples that are defined by customers or partners): These are individual, customer-specific samples that are configured and implemented by a customer or a partner.

In the following lesson, you can see an example of Integration Use-Case Patterns of the Process Integration Styles. For more information, see Catalog of Integration Use-Case Patterns | SAP Help Portal.

B2B Integration

In the following, an example of an integration use case pattern, B3B integration, will be outlined.

Using business to business (B2B) integration use case patterns allows you to electronically exchange business data with other companies. This enables you to extend your business processes beyond the boundaries of your company to your business partners, such as customers and suppliers. To ensure electronic data exchange with your business partners, you must agree first with them on common B2B standards, including document types, transport protocols, partner identification, and security features.

A common example for a B2B integration use case pattern in the SAP environment that is customer defined would be receiving a bank statement electronically (with an Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) in SAP S/4HANA.

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