SAP HANA Cloud Integration is SAP's next-generation integration middleware. It is an integration platform-as-a-service,...
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or IPaaS, platform, which means it is multi-tenant and based in the cloud.
HANA Cloud Integration is similar in design to SAP Process Integration (PI), so SAP customers who have experience with PI will be able to quickly pick up and run with HCI. And HANA Cloud Integration offers both process and data integration for a variety of SAP's cloud offerings, such as SAP Ariba, Cloud for Customer, Financial Services Network and SuccessFactors.
Packaged integrations can save time
One of SAP's focuses for HANA Cloud Integration is the supply of packaged integrations that people can use to accelerate on-premises and cloud integration. Packaged integrations provide prebuilt logic, scenario definitions and mappings. Although custom integrations can be built on HANA Cloud Integration just as they can in PI or any other middleware, packaged integrations offer a strong value proposition. You can leverage the packaged integrations that contain content to reduce the time it takes to implement and reduce the risk from building and testing integrations yourself. What's more, they are maintained by SAP as part of your subscription.
Various cloud and on-premises scenarios are possible with the packaged integrations. For example, you can use one to link opportunities and quotations from Cloud for Customer to SAP ERP. Below are more of the scenarios offered in the HANA Cloud Integration packaged integrations for various SAP cloud offerings.
Interestingly, SAP Concur cloud-based travel and expense software has no packaged integration content on HCI for integrating with SAP ERP. The same goes for SAP Hybris omnichannel customer engagement and ecommerce software. However, you can use HCI to integrate Hybris with Cloud for Customer or Google AdWords Paid Search Integration.
While it is somewhat surprising that there are no packaged integrations available for Concur or Hybris to SAP ERP, integration for Concur to other systems is possible by using remote function calls and APIs. It's also worth noting that since Hybris integrates with Cloud for Customer, no direct integration is needed between Hybris and SAP ERP because the ERP data passes through Cloud for Customer.
Newer packaged integrations for SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central -- for example, Fieldglass VMS and SuccessFactors Employee Central integration -- are only available on HCI, instead of also being available on other mainstream integration middleware platforms on which SAP offers packaged integration, such as PI and Dell Boomi AtomSphere.
What other benefits does HCI bring?
Because HCI is an IPaaS system, it requires no setup, hardware, maintenance, or operations. Additionally, some customers may like that fact that HCI is licensed on a subscription basis. The procurement and fiscal management of licenses as either capital expenditure (Capex) as opposed to operational expenditure may influence the attractiveness of licensing an IPaaS. Acquiring a subscription for HCI would mean no capital outlay because an annual subscription would be paid as an operational expense. Any implementation services are likely to be classified as Capex and therefore overall classification of costs can be seen as attractive to fiscally minded IT managers and CIOs.
HCI is focused on integrating cloud systems with other cloud or on-premises systems. You can continue to use PI if you wish, but you may miss out on some of the benefits of packaged integrations and SAP's continuing, long-term investment in them. As time goes by, HCI is very much going to move to the forefront of SAP's integration strategy across its product lines.
HCI enables developers to produce their own integrations, so both SAP users and partners can produce reusable integrations. Additionally, content created in PI can be imported and used in HCI, which lets you use content created in PI as a baseline for HCI integration. It's important to note, however, that HCI integrations are not compatible with PI and only work when you're going from PI to HCI.
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