Salesforce Integration in SAP: Avoid Proliferation of Interfaces
Combining two market-leading applications that are Salesforce and SAP is one of the most common real-time API integration scenarios. Accordingly, there is a wealth of solutions – among others also by the providers Salesforce and SAP themselves.
However, many companies do not stick to this one integration requirement of Salesforce and SAP – it is only the first ‘urgent’ requirement for API integration. Integration approaches of the application providers are usually not usable for further scenarios.
Considering this, it is often useful to primarily consider your general strategy for real-time integration and thus your API strategy. This should be embedded in an overarching strategy for implementing a variety of integration requirements in SAP.
As a result, solutions or alternative cloud services for comprehensive API integration are becoming the focus for consideration. This is discussed in more detail below.
Salesforce Integration with SAP: Technical Challenges
The following figure shows the challenges typically encountered when integrating the Salesforce Cloud with an SAP system. Technically, the various API interfaces of Salesforce (Web service SOAP or REST services) must be coupled with an integration platform such as the SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite with SAP (technically using iDOC’s and BAPI modules).
With regard to master data management, it must be decided which system is ‘leading’ and thus gets its master data replicated into the other systems. This includes transfer of the ‘unique IDs’ in the data records. In the case of transactional data, the focus is on covering the requirements in real-time. This is essential for processes such as quotations and orders, often with integrated price and availability queries.
Salesforce Integration with SAP: Advanced Integration Requirements
Many companies are not limiting themselves to Salesforce integration with SAP. As shown above, this project is often extended by the introduction of a central system for master data management (PIM - Product Information Management system) and one’s own web shop as an additional sales channel (or the sale of own products via webshops and marketplaces of third parties). Additionally, use of logistics service providers for the delivery (‘fulfilment’) processes is also often involved.
In many cases, the interfaces to these systems and partners are a mixture of API-based real-time processes and more batch-oriented B2B/EDI processes. This in turn illustrates the need to cover a wide range of integration requirements via a single Hybrid Integration Platform (HIP).
Practical example: Salesforce integration in SAP
A medium-sized global corporation planned to introduce the cloud-based CRM solution Salesforce as a global CRM system as part of a ‘Sales Excellence’ initiative. The challenge was to efficiently connect the new cloud solution with the company's own SAP system landscape. Customer and prospect master data, quotation and order data from various SAP ERP versions, and data from the company's proprietary systems should be synchronized with Salesforce in real time – a very complex integration scenario.
The company already used the SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite - as a cloud platform - to connect customers and suppliers via EDI and WebEDI. With the help of integration templates, an API gateway for the integration of Salesforce (via Salesforce SOAP and Bulk API) and SAP systems (via SAP-tRFC with iDoc) could be created quickly and easily.
In addition to the ERP system, a business intelligence solution from SAP was also connected. This gave Salesforce users’ access to the latest KPI’s, financial reports, and custom dashboards.
The result: Sales now has daily updated customer data as well as competitor and company information for tailor-made offers and campaigns. Electronic data exchange helps to optimize sales processes, simplifies global cooperation between project teams and supports the training of new colleagues.
With today’s rapidly changing requirements flexibility is a key business requirement. Thus the API and B2B integration platform is use needs to be able to work with all APIs, EDI Message Standards, Types and output formats seamlessly.
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