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What has replaced SAP Process Integration?

Historically, SAP Process Integration was the first choice for joining SAP and non-SAP systems. Things are changing, however, and you'll want to know how and why. Here's a look.

For a long time, SAP Process Integration -- or SAP PI -- was the de facto SAP middleware, enabling data exchange...

between SAP and non-SAP systems. However, as IT landscapes changed, PI began to fall short of meeting the growing need to connect a technical solution with a functional one and provide an end-to-end product.

Enter SAP Process Orchestration (PO). It builds on Process Integration -- which is included as part of PO -- and adds SAP Business Process Management (BPM) and SAP Business Rules Management (BRM) to automate end-to-end business processes and meet integration requirements between SAP and non-SAP applications. SAP Process Orchestration helps companies design, model, execute, monitor, manage, analyze and improve business processes and rules -- all while using a single platform.

As compared with PI, PO also simplifies the technology landscape, lowers the cost of ownership, and provides faster installation and greater monitoring of disparate systems. Process Orchestration also bridges the functional and technical gaps that often exist between the IT and business teams during process designing and modeling.

Here's a look at the three components of SAP Process Orchestration and what they do.

SAP Process Integration

SAP Process Orchestration helps companies design, model, execute, monitor, manage, analyze and improve business processes and rules -- all while using a single platform.

As mentioned, SAP Process Orchestration includes Process Integration in the functionality it offers. In today's complex and highly connected business world, it's common for a company to have a hybrid technology landscape composed of a variety of SAP and non-SAP systems that are connected internally for data exchange, and which are also connected with suppliers, document management systems, financial institutions and so on. If there were only a few disparate systems and applications to connect, then point-to-point integration -- where one system exchanges data with only one other system at a time -- could potentially work.

However, with the ever-expanding landscape of systems and applications that need to connect, the enterprise application integration software Process Integration is a far more practical and viable alternative to point-to-point integration. PI adopts the service-oriented architecture framework to expose only the required functionalities of an application and uses the enterprise service bus tool for this purpose.

Business Process Management

The SAP Business Process Management component enables the automation of business processes by ensuring adherence to all the laid out processes. Doing so ensures that a company complies with its internal processes, policies and procedures, while also ensuring it meets its legal, financial and regulatory requirements.

BPM is flexible and scalable enough to adopt and adapt to the changing business needs of a company, all the while ensuring visibility, monitoring and business process control.

Business Rules Management

The SAP Business Rules Management component enables a company and its employees to define and update business rules as and when necessary, without the need to change existing codes or reprogram applications to fit the new rules and logic. In other words, if BPM is there to manage data in business applications, BRM manages the logic behind a business process as a business rules engine.

A value-added feature of BRM is its user-friendly interface that enables the functional team and business users to create or update rules without the need for a programmer or redeployment -- all updates are real time.

SAP Process Orchestration offers the depth and breadth of scale and scope to enable companies to manage complex internal and external sets of business rules and regulations. Note that companies must have at least SAP NetWeaver 7.31 to implement PO.

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