Back in the day, connecting SAP to other systems used to be complicated and expensive. But now, with so many types of software on the market that need to be connected with each other, integration services are crucial and widely sought out by all modern businesses. SAP provides us with two middleware integration options: the on-premises Process Orchestration (PO) and the cloud-based Cloud Platform Integration (CPI).
So, what exactly is middleware?
Middleware is software that enables an application to perform services outside of its default capabilities. These services can range from data management to application services, authentication systems, messaging tools and more. Now that we got the broad definition out of the way, let’s talk about what middleware means for SAP.
In the simplest sense, SAP middleware enables applications to exchange and integrate with other applications, operating systems, or networks. SAP’s first middleware product was Exchange Infrastructure (XI): an on-premises solution for integrating SAP systems to other SAP or non-SAP systems. XI then evolved into Process Integration (PI) and later Process Orchestration (PO).
With the world’s swift transition to the Cloud in the past decade—and cloud applications such as SuccessFactors, Ariba, and Salesforce gaining more momentum by the year—SAP provides us with Cloud Platform Integration (CPI), a middleware for integrating SAP systems with third-party applications. CPI shares the same principle and inherits many features from PO, except it’s cloud-based and adopts a pay-as-you-go fashion.
SAP PO and SAP CPI both have unique advantages; the “right choice” varies according to your organization’s existing system, your priorities, and your budget. Personally, we don’t have a favorite. Let’s introduce them both.
SAP PO has been around the block. From XI to PI and now to PO, this middleware has been widely adopted in the world for its seamless integration with SAP, comprehensive set of adapters, and user-friendly graphical interface. These convenient features among others allow you to do the following with minimal effort and coding:
SAP PO is a solid, reliable platform with over 15 years’ worth of updates and a large developer community that continues to add new functionalities to the software. Its customer satisfaction rate is high; it provides good point to point connection, extensive monitoring and error handling tools. For now, its road map extends to 2030. SAP PO is the go-to software for organizations that handle a large amount of internal integration traffic.
There are three types of SAP PO licensing plans: by machine processors, by number of transactions or by number of users. Your licensing cost will depend on the functionalities your business needs and you can request a quote through the SAP website.
Cloud Platform Integration (CPI) is SAP’s cloud-based middleware that allows integration between cloud and on-premise applications with third-party SAP and non-SAP products. The service enables processing messages both within your organization or with different companies in real-time without requiring additional hardware.
SAP includes a set of prebuilt adapters with its Cloud Platform Integration, which allow you to easily leverage the following integration scenarios:
Furthermore, SAP provides the SAP Data Services Adapter (SDK), where developers can create additional adapters to CPI using XML and Java technology. There’s also a variety of prepackaged integration packages available for customers. Simply download and configure the integration package that will suit your needs. This feature significantly reduces your integration time and reduces the need for in-house development. SAP delivers notifications for standard updates in the integration, allowing you to use the latest features and improvements at no additional effort.
The Cloud Platform payment plan comes in two options: consumption-based pricing and subscription-based pricing. The first model gives you access to all Cloud Platform services and tracks how many “cloud credits” you use each month. You get charged according to data volume and API calls and can monitor your usage real-time to get an overview of each project’s cost. With the second model, you choose a subscription limit and get a fixed rate every month. Adding new services or increasing usage limits requires modifying your contract through your SAP representative or by visiting the SAP Store.
If you’re in need of adapters for your organization, we provide extensive SAP CPI consultancy services, including development of custom additions to meet your company’s needs. For information on our out-of-the-box CPI adapters, feel free to see the drop-down menu under the ‘Solutions’ tab on our website.
If you haven’t yet migrated from PI to PO 7.5, it’s time to do so. Old releases are no longer supported by SAP. Most Java stacks have experienced end of life at the end of 2020, so many SAP customers should be upgrading to more recent NetWeaver versions. For those of you who are running on PO 7.5, we would advise creating any new integrations in the Cloud and –depending on your IT landscape— operating a hybrid model or making a gradual migration to a fully cloud-based system.
Whether you’re considering migration or just getting started with SAP, we’re here to help! Streamline your IT processes with MDP’s 10+ years of experience placed at your disposal. We offer consultancy services for SAP PI/PO and SAP CPI. Setup or migrate to either platform with minimal down-time and effort, benefit from our dedicated technical support staff, and let us maximize your user experience with custom-fit extensions developed for your needs.
Talk to us about your business needs to make the most out of your IT use.
SAP Integration Team Lead
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