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Integrating SAP S/4HANA– How Can Connectors Help You Integrate Faster?

| | SVP Strategic Product Management, SEEBURGER
Integrating SAP S/4HANA-Integration – how connectors can help

Introducing SAP S/4HANA into your organisation is complex. And complex things take time. Connectors are pre-programmed mappings between two or more points, and are a great way to integrate S/4HANA faster. However, it’s important to check whether your integration platform provider creates these connectors in-house. If they do, this saves dealing with several different parties and is also a certain investment guarantee. However, connectors are not the answer to every integration challenge you will have with S/4HANA. Read on to discover what connectors can do, and when it makes sense to use them.

Connectors reduce the complexity in migrating your systems to S/4HANA

The sheer number of interface types involved in integrating SAP S/4HANA with your network and beyond makes it nearly impossible to master this on your own. Just collecting the knowledge you need is likely to send your project over schedule. Without professional help, it will be difficult to migrate to S/4HANA with your schedule, budget and nerves still intact.

  • How can a good integration platform save the day?
    A good integration platform can significantly reduce your integration team’s workload. Instead of spending their time developing new solutions, they only need to configure the standard tools and adapters in the connectors. Once your systems have been connected to this integration platform, it would be easy to integrate them to further endpoints. A good integration platform also includes administration, management and monitoring tools, which help an integration team to work in a more efficient and agile way.  This may be when integrating further endpoints, or merely ensuring that data is flowing smoothly. And this support means that project costs and risk decrease, while integration tasks are completed faster.

Connecters are the best way to simplify your migration to S/4HANA

Although using an integration platform has several advantages, your integration team still has a huge task ahead of them.  To keep pace, you need something to accelerate the project. Such as connectors.

Use a connector to simplify and speed up the integration of defined endpoints

A connector is designed to take as much work as possible out of figuring out how to integrate your endpoints.

A connector can manage several different adapters and has clearly defined functions. Depending on the specific endpoint to connect, it may be pre-configured in a certain way, or include further integration assets such as configuration data, mappings, etc.

Configuring a connector is simple yet comprehensive 
Figure 1: Configuring a connector is simple yet comprehensive

Integration platform vendors often highlight their connector repository in their marketing campaigns to make their offering particularly attractive. If you look more closely, you may discover that a significant proportion of these connectors are not provided by the manufacturer themselves. This is risky for the customer. As well as it not being clear who is responsible for support issues, customers are also dependent on the strength of the relationship between their platform provider and the connector provider.

A case in point is the connector provider Cloud Elements. A number of integration platforms use this company’s products to extend their own product range. In spring 2020, Cloud elements was acquired by UiPath, a platform provider. Why would UiPath want to strengthen their competitors’ business by continuing to provide them with connectors? Why would other platform providers want to increase UiPath’s profit by continuing to buy their connectors – which would also give UiPath access to their customer base?

Therefore, when deciding on a platform provider, it’s important to check whether their connectors are being bought in, or have been created in-house.

Not every S/4 HANA integration issue needs a specialist connector

There are some integration scenarios which don’t need a specialist connector, as the endpoints can be connected with generic standard adapters. These generic technologies include (s)ftp, REST-API, KAFKA, MQTT, OPC UA, AS2, AS4, e-mail, EBICS, MLLP, SOAP, JMS, MQ, database.

You can also buy in integration recipes– step by step integration instructions. These let you successfully connect endpoints without trial and error, or spending ages researching the right way to do it.

In short, using connectors in your SAP S/4HANA project can drastically speed it up while only requiring a minimum of specialist knowledge:

  • They remove complexity
  • They only need configuring, not programming
  • They help integration teams to scale their output

Find out more about how SEEBURGER can help you integrate SAP S/4HANA,  and have a look at our blog posts covering the things you need to consider in this mammoth task. For one thing’s for sure: S/4HANA integration is best left to the experts.

Article

Read the full article from the June 2021 issue of E-3 Magazin.

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Thomas Kamper

Written by:

Thomas Kamper, SVP Strategic Product Management, is responsible for strategic product initiatives related to all SEEBURGER’s business integration technology and solutions. The focus is currently on API solutions and Big Data. In addition, he is responsible for solutions that enable organizations to master challenges of visibility and to control the proper execution of digitalized business processes. Thomas rejoined SEEBURGER December 2017. Before, he worked for many years as a hands-on interim manager and business advisor supporting C-level executives within software and cloud service providers to make their strategic product initiatives successful.