Teaching an Old ECC New Integration Tricks

Rapidly build portable and compatible integration solutions between SAP ECC and SAP S/4HANA

Businesses require new and modern approaches to their integration solutions for SAP ECC and S/4HANA. Unfortunately, many enterprises with ECC are currently stuck in limbo, halting modernization projects until they move to S/4HANA, which could be years down the road.

Integration solutions like enosix not only satisfy employees’ and customers’ needs for better user interfaces, they also leverage the business logic infrastructure of their SAP ERP systems to achieve integration today with a portable and compatible system you can take with you to S/4HANA, whenever that transition is planned.

Let’s explore the immediate need for digital transformation, some of the challenges enterprises are facing, and how enosix can help companies overcome those challenges to move into the future.

Tale as old as time

Many companies are working with ERPs up to 20 years old. They are overly complicated to the point where upgrading is so risky that it’s delayed or just not done at all. The result is a bottleneck that’s holding back the business from the digital transformation it so desperately needs.

Unfortunately, many CTOs and IT teams are forced to implement more systems of engagement that are needed to drive top- and bottom-line results. Doing so with the existing ERP requires significant time and budget. Plus, it adds to the already unreasonable maintenance workload. Reaching a point of diminishing return, many teams are pushing for digital transformation as soon as possible.

Digital transformation now

The need for digital transformation is not new, but the current economic climate caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is creating even more of a demand for it. Budget cuts and lack of resources often lead to automation initiatives as companies seek to save money and simplify processes while still maintaining the customer experience.

In addition, eCommerce and other remote operations are accelerating rapidly, increasing the need for real-time solutions that move at the speed of the customer. While COVID-19 will eventually simmer, these behaviors and demands will not. Integration and automation are no longer options.

The need for integration

The average enterprise uses between 500 and 1,000 cloud-based apps and between 50 and 700 internally built ones. Most of these could benefit from ERP data and become vastly more valuable.

As SAP says, “intelligent enterprises are integrated enterprises.” However, their blanket solution to innovation is to move to S4/HANA, which can take years to accomplish. Companies need digital transformation now and cannot wait to move their ECC workloads to the new platform.

Why is this so hard?

The challenge lies in the complexity. Each SAP system has unique business logic and customizations built up over the company’s lifetime. Traditional approaches to integration must reproduce this business logic at every data point.

Every integration is different, which makes less than 40% of the code reusable. This requires companies to copy, paste, and adjust. The result is a vast and complicated web of code with unreasonable maintenance requirements. Because each app has its own evolutions and roadmaps, the code has to be updated manually every time there is a change.

Doing this for every aspect of the business quickly creates a mess, one that could break at the slightest wrong move. As years go by and new CTOs are brought in, the system gets more complicated and understanding the full scope of it becomes less realistic.

How do we overcome these hurdles?

In an ideal world, we would build bi-directional and real-time integrations faster and cheaper than we do today. We would utilize the business logic that already exists in SAP to reduce maintenance and create portable solutions that can move between ERP versions and front-end systems without fail.

Currently, there are three ways to do this:

  1. Middleware: Middleware solutions are difficult and expensive to implement. They require developers to know SAP well and be able to re-build business logic at every integration point. This leaves a lot of opportunity for error and requires onerous testing. Middleware solutions are also based on synchronization rather than real-time integration. Plus, they are not portable, so developers will have to start from scratch when companies move to S/4HANA.
  1. Custom solution: Custom built solutions use a bi-directional object library in ABAP that combines SAP data and business logic into an API that works in both ECC and S/4. They also use their own communication framework to get around the limitations of SAP’s NetWeaver Gateway. Like middleware, however, custom solutions can be time-consuming, expensive, and require in-depth knowledge of SAP.
  1. enosix: enosix leverages what’s already in SAP and exposes it to your front-end applications. This eliminates the need to figure out SAP logic as it uses the existing business logic in place. enosix is proven to reduce implementation time and expense by 80% to 90%, and it does not require extensive SAP knowledge. The biggest benefit in relation to digital transformation is that it’s portable and scalable, so businesses can implement enosix now and take it with them to S/4HANA.

Digital transformation solutions with enosix

The goal for businesses in any industry moving forward is to build needed integrations rapidly while reducing maintenance costs. The enosix platform enables this by relying on business logic already present in your ECC system. The dynamic nature of enosix allows users to easily transition to S/4HANA or other front-end systems.

Integrations are key to providing business value and empowering employees with information they need to serve customers at a high level. To learn more about how enosix works and some of the real-world success of our clients, watch our latest webinarHow Manufacturers Can Accelerate Digital Transformations & B2B Commerce via Salesforce, enosix, and Deloitte Digital Cloud4M?

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