The increasing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) adoption of today is attributable to multiple reasons. One, the user doesn’t actually buy the software and only rents it for as long as they need it. Two, it massively simplifies the IT model of the company. These are the top-most reasons I have been given by companies for why they opt for SaaS solutions more than on-premise ones.
However, I’ve often heard it said that SaaS solutions lack the off-the-shelf integrations with on-premise backends. It’s an important thing to remember here that, indeed, complete business value can be actualized only when the whole nine yards of process integration is possible. And as someone who has worked with SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer (C4C) for most of his career, I know this is not a bone of contention for the solution’s users — especially when it comes to its integration capabilities. Why do I say that? Here’s a unique scenario that my team dealt with recently that will help you see what I mean by the above statement.
Tailoring integration to unique business scenarios
To start with, SAP solves the issues faced with SaaS solutions by offering off-the-shelf integrations with backends. This enables the efficient integration of SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer with SAP CRM or SAP ECC.
If “off-the-shelf” is not something that works for you, then the way to go is SAP HANA Cloud Integration (HCI) or Process Integration (PI. Utilizing SAP’s own cloud-based integration platform does make everything so much more secure – a definite plus for those of us who stress on network security.
However, while HANA Cloud Integration is a foolproof method for most scenarios, it is also possible to work out other unique workarounds that are better suited for specific situations. For this, you have to first take into consideration the unique requirements of your network, the time available to complete the project, the number of resources available for the task, and so on.
This is exactly what we did when we were approached by one of our customers with a unique challenge. They sell their products in various industries such as Engineering – (Construction, Industrial Marine, EP&C), Commercial – (Government institutions, retails) and Energy & Utility – (Oil & Gas, Petrochemical, mining). Most of the time, one representative deals with multiple accounts in various industries. They have processes to send invoices and other order information to their customer’s contact email address so they capture the contact person information on Sales Order.
This becomes a more complicated situation than it appears to be because in SAP ECC, one contact can be aligned with only one account. Could we have utilized HANA Cloud Integration to counter this problem? Certainly. However, the customer had neither the time nor the resources to go the HANA Cloud Integration way. And of course, as it would have just created a lot of duplicate data. The customer did not want their processes altered either. All this totaled up to the need for a unique workaround. What would you have done in such a scenario?
There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ concept in integration
SAP ECC does not provide standard functionality to capture the contact person assignment on multiple account so they had to capture it on SAP CRM previously and now on SAP Hybris Cloud for customer. In order to capture the contact person information in Sales Order, we built custom integration by which we were able to bring contact person from SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer to SAP ECC and store the information in Sales Order for further processing. The customer had about hundreds of users and thousands of accounts. Not all the users had access to the accounts. How could the customer ensure that all users could obtain information freely on all these crucial accounts? Our team decided to approach the situation by providing a direct connection from ECC to SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer. We created a new web service from ABAP using SOAMANAGER in ECC and then called this web service in SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer. This connected the ERP to SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer – and the entire process followed the secure method of communication i.e. using SSL certificate-based HTTPS authentication.
Though this method can be used in similar situations, you would benefit to remember its one limitation – it doesn’t allow you to document errors. So, while deciding on the process to follow to call your webservice, weigh your pros, cons, and priorities well before making the final decision.
If you think you have a lot of customization in your enterprise manager, and think integration would be quite tedious through SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer, why not get creative like we did? There’s always an easy solution around the corner with SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer. If you have any questions on a particular scenario or are facing some sort of network security issues, don’t hesitate to drop me a line in the comments section below, and I’ll surely let you know what I think would be the best way to handle the situation. Happy integration!
Author: Amol Ambalkar
Amol Ambalkar is part of the SAP BASIS/SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer Integration team at Knack Systems. Amol has overall 14 years of IT experience and is a PRINCE2 certified professional, specializing in SAP ERP, Netweaver, Solution Manager, SAP’s new dimensional products with additional expertise of new cloud based solution known as SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer Integration, Oracle DBA & UNIX Administrator. Mainly focused on SAP Netweaver upgrade, migration and maintenance of SAP application using new enhanced technologies. Amol has extensive experience handling SAP Solution Manager versions 7.0, 7.01, and 7.1, end-to-end BASIS configuration for multiple large-enterprise customers.