The goal of my last post was to define the difference between “Data Integration” and “Process Integration”, and why existing ETL (iPaaS) vendors fail at the later. Today’s post discusses how to leverage true bi-directional SAP business processes in Salesforce, without requiring complex and costly data replication infrastructure.
When dealing with complex ERP Systems like SAP, before you can create any “Document” (Transaction), it wants to validate all the relevant “Master Data” and rule-sets to determine if the document can be completed successfully. Data includes Company Code, Sales Org, Distribution Channel, Division, etc. as well as Material Characteristics, such as Plant. These elements, plus many more, are used to determine if a specific person or organization can purchase the particular Product or Service, at what Price, and which pricing conditions and pricing procedure will be used.
SAP has a far more robust pricing engine, thus is far more complicated than the Salesforce Price Sheets. SAP Pricing Conditions may include various Price, Freight, Handling, Discounts, and pretty much anything you can come up with – while the procedure is the rule-set used to process the entire sequence to determine the ultimate price.
As a former CIO, the prevalent problem I have run across in integrations is that SAP-ERP requires many inputs to determine who can purchase a product with associated pricing. Several of my clients were unaware when they made their platform buying decision, that iPaaS products require you to recreate this logical infrastructure in Salesforce – to either dual maintain or “Sync” the additional information. This may sound easy, but if you have any complexity in your Sales Organization or Pricing, you will surely face long and expensive implementation initiatives, yet still have transactions failing the SAP Document Completion Checks. Most of these failures are standard SAP order messages, which, if they had been seen in real-time by the end-user, could have been simply addressed at the time of order entry.
Now, since these failures are captured by IT in a Middleware Error Log after a “Sync”, the end user is completely unaware. These failed Documents now require troubleshooting by an IT Resource, who must work backwards to determine the original problem. Due to the sheer volume of these error logs, orders and revenue are delayed – impacting customer service and operations. Besides frustration, this also results in clients having to spend even more money on monitoring resources to improve issue resolution throughput.
Systemic integration issues like these caused me to ask an obvious question “What if … we could simply grab all data from SAP in real-time, without replicating the infrastructure in Salesforce?” Clearly, nothing like this was available in the current iPaaS landscape. At enosiX, we were already innovating in the SAP integration space, leveraging web services for our enterprise mobility products. Salesforce integration to SAP was vexing many of our clients and prospects, so we as a company decided to tackle this challenge head-on.
Our objective was to offer a nimble, yet powerful approach: Real-time integration between Salesforce and SAP that required no Middleware and Zero Implementation, saving clients a bunch of time & money. We also wanted the product to be managed by your typical Salesforce Administrator.
The first product built on that premise is “enosiX Enterprise”, enabling companies to integrate their entire opportunity-to-cash process as well as any other business process between SAP and Salesforce in real-time – implemented in just a couple of months. The product has created great value for our clients, however, as a company we were still determined to meet the “Zero” implementation target.
We ultimately came up with the “SAP Real-Time Business Process Integrator” app, designed as our quick-start SAP integration solution and stepping-stone to our enterprise offering. The app is available on the Salesforce App Exchange and will forever change how businesses approach integration between SAP and Salesforce. Rather than introducing external resource requirements, new middleware or hardware into the mix, it fully leverages the existing Salesforce skill-set. It allows for drag and drop configuration using standard Salesforce processes, and, other than a standard install, no SAP knowledge is needed. All required master data is called in real-time, as are all SAP business processes, without any replication of SAP data volumes or infrastructure in Salesforce.
The first iteration of the app includes 15+ pre-built display templates and scenarios, enabling “Real-Time Pricing” of Quotes and Opportunities as well as “Real-Time” Order History. This gives frontline teams a 360-degree view of customers, effectively turning Salesforce into a single pane of glass to SAP. Quotation and Order Creation are slated to be added to the AppExchange in early February, along with the same simple configuration promise.
Seeing is believing – drop me a quick line. Happy to chat about use cases and the future of fast, yet powerful and deep SAP integration, and the impact it will have on your enterprise.