The global and independent platform for the SAP community.

Foundation for integration scenarios

In recent issues, a great deal has been reported here about the paths to the cloud: The procedure by means of best practices was illuminated, technological alternatives for the actual operation were discussed. However, one aspect has been neglected so far.
Markus Krenn, Arvato Systems
August 27, 2020
[ 243454546, ESB Professional]
This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

The incredible potential that the cloud offers, especially in integration scenarios, is a not insignificant factor that should be discussed, as well as the best tools for a smooth cloud migration. Almost everywhere, companies have bought in applications around their SAP applications or built them themselves.

To this end, more and more companies are integrating customers and suppliers into their SAP landscapes. One of Arvato Systems' retail customers, for example, has connected more than 360 of its customers to central S/4 Hana to automate its ordering process.

SAP is still the central data hub in many companies. Yes, you read that correctly: still - the only question is how long.
In the following, we will take a closer look at which advantages the cloud offers for the integration of third-party applications as well as suppliers and partners, and why data is increasingly the deciding factor in the operation of applications.


Integration with third-party applications

With its "Keep Your Core Clean" policy, SAP is trying to draw attention to a problem that has haunted SAP users ever since SAP systems have existed: What is meant is a move away from the paradigm of solving everything in SAP's core, if possible. The goal is to keep modifications in the core application to a necessary minimum and thus reduce the susceptibility to problems during upgrades. To this end, all specific developments are outsourced to other solutions, for example to the SAP Cloud Platform or to hyperscalers. SAP is thus effectively shifting innovations and customizations to the cloud.

In the future, this will mean increased data traffic in hybrid scenarios (on-premises S/4 Hana and SAP Cloud Platform on Azure, for example) and additional latencies. For many basic administrators, latency is the latest issue to put an end to the fun. Who wants to constantly have users on the phone reporting that "the system is so slow right now"? But the new SAP design paradigm is not the only indication that SAP systems will be better off on Azure, for example, in the future.

Partner solutions and third-party applications are also increasingly moving to the cloud or are already offered exclusively in the cloud. Examples include the contract management solution Icertis, the business process mining application from Celonis or the document management system nScale from Ceyoniq.

These are all systems that are integrated into SAP and require a certain physical proximity to SAP in terms of operations. In this respect, those responsible for operations should regularly ask themselves critically whether a hybrid overall architecture is the best possible solution for operations. In the course of modernization steps for SAP systems, operation on Azure may be the better alternative.

Our world is becoming increasingly networked. This not only applies to applications within a company. Customers can now also view inventories, place orders or report consumption live via IoT applications far beyond the boundaries of the company.

Especially in the area of innovation, business models have changed rapidly - often without adapting their operating scenarios. Even if the innovation scenarios differ from industry to industry, in the end they have one thing in common: the exchange of data between the parties involved is increasing rapidly. Also, the requirements for data timeliness do not tolerate neartime scenarios. Realtime has been proclaimed as the new standard by the market leaders.

Integration of suppliers and partners

This means a lot of work for the IT department, which, in addition to the connection itself, is also spoiled for choice with regard to the technology to be used. In addition to SAP PI/PO, SAP offers the SAP Cloud Platform Integration Suite, another product for integration. As part of the Embrace initiative, Azure Logic Apps will be added as a third product unit.

Here, too, it becomes clear that all new integration products from software manufacturers are born in the cloud. All requests via these tools to SAP therefore lead to a "technical communication overhead". From an on-premises request, the data consequently travels once to the cloud to the Logic app, from there back to the SAP system on-prem - and the results of this request travel back the same way. Efficiency looks different. The same applies to requests from suppliers and partners.

Here, too, there are clear advantages in the overall architecture if not only the integration tool but also the SAP systems are in the cloud. This is precisely why we at Arvato Systems moved our SAP PI/PO solution, which we run for various customers as a managed PaaS solution, to Azure some time ago. With six million transactions per month, the bulk of our communication now runs in the cloud.

Particularly in the direct comparison of cloud vs. on-premises architectures, apples and oranges are often compared and essential aspects such as shortening of project runtimes are not or only insufficiently evaluated. The requirements for hardware elasticity are also often underestimated, which in the case of SAP is less to be seen in the course of a month, but much more in growth, carve-outs or acquisitions with the corresponding need for system harmonization.

On the way to enterprise-wide data architecture

When asked where a company's data is located, many employees will probably answer with SAP. But is that really the case? For data around orders, production and warehouse information, and all the necessary financial metrics, the point is clear. However, campaign data, purchasing interests, IoT or usage data often lie in fragmented and isolated IT systems.

This data in particular has been growing exponentially in recent years, but can often only be analyzed inadequately. Customers tell us that the data is growing so fast that even in short hardware replacement cycles of three years, they can no longer provide sufficient resources to keep up with the growth. When it comes to storage, Azure offers numerous ways to tailor both performance and cost to the individual use case. In on-premises scenarios, the storage choices are smaller.

So it is often no wonder that in many companies the costs for data storage are almost exploding. Consequently, it is also no surprise that many customers are beginning to move their existing data architectures to the cloud. In many companies, a practice has also been developed to offload data from Hana again so that the costly storage of data there can be kept to a minimum.

Here, too, the cloud can help with intelligent solutions. Cost advantages in operation of more than 50 percent are not uncommon here. Many companies are well aware that there is a clear need for action - the only thing that often causes confusion is the optimal time. In addition to the usual scenarios such as hardware replacement or upgrades and Hana migrations, the end of support for Hana 1.0 should be mentioned as an additional argument for acting soon.

The much-used front-end technologies Flash and Microsoft Silverlight are also coming off maintenance in the next twelve months. As a rule of thumb, when major components change or new hardware needs to be purchased is the ideal time to plan for migration to the cloud.
Markus Krenn, Arvato Systems

Markus Krenn is Customer Success Manager at Arvato Systems

Write a comment

Working on the SAP basis is crucial for successful S/4 conversion. 

This gives the Competence Center strategic importance for existing SAP customers. Regardless of the S/4 Hana operating model, topics such as Automation, Monitoring, Security, Application Lifecycle Management and Data Management the basis for S/4 operations.

For the second time, E3 magazine is organizing a summit for the SAP community in Salzburg to provide comprehensive information on all aspects of S/4 Hana groundwork. All information about the event can be found here:

SAP Competence Center Summit 2024


Event Room, FourSide Hotel Salzburg,
At the exhibition center 2,
A-5020 Salzburg

Event date

June 5 and 6, 2024

Regular ticket:

€ 590 excl. VAT


Event Room, Hotel Hilton Heidelberg,
Kurfürstenanlage 1,
69115 Heidelberg

Event date

28 and 29 February 2024


Regular ticket
EUR 590 excl. VAT
The organizer is the E3 magazine of the publishing house AG. The presentations will be accompanied by an exhibition of selected SAP partners. The ticket price includes the attendance of all lectures of the Steampunk and BTP Summit 2024, the visit of the exhibition area, the participation in the evening event as well as the catering during the official program. The lecture program and the list of exhibitors and sponsors (SAP partners) will be published on this website in due time.