First impressions of HANA Cloud Integration (HCI)

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I participated in a Swedish SAP user group meeting for Integration today in Gothenburg, where participants received hands-on experience with SAP.

The PI Roadmap was intensely discussed, so was PO and predictions about what was going to be delivered, as well as other future innovations. Contrary to my expectations, a very interesting – and I dare say mind-blowing – area was the HANA Cloud Integration (HCI). The big challenge ahead with HCI was the discussion regarding the purpose of this extra integration layer’s existence. Many questions were raised. Why do we need it? What is the purpose of acquiring it? Aren’t people already using other systems? What are its limitations, considering that you only have the iFlows to allow the occurrence of communication?

There was an introduction on the PI Roadmap – its characteristics, capabilities, and its future; the attributes of its core customers and multiple possibilities. The usage of the Cloud platform with the purpose of integration was also discussed.

We also discussed use cases, where companies expressed their intent of actually outsourcing some of their integration work, mentioning some examples of invoices to illustrate the amount of time required for the completion of the integration process. We talked about methods of sending the invoice to the customer and other involved partners – figuring out how to send this information is an enormous task. It only makes sense that some customers prefer on-premises PI/PO installation, followed by a Cloud installation.

skitchThe other area we focused on was hands-on experience with HCI, involving actual exercises. While you cannot learn everything regarding the platform in a one-hour session, you can see some of the things that lie in store for you. The platform seemed to work flawlessly with the web front end, and it had plenty of functionalities. The web front end deals with most of the development, but there are also Eclipse-based tools that can be used for more advanced purposes, like developing, adapters, more advanced mapping or user-defined functions. This could give you some extra developing power when needed.

There is also a large array of Flow options in the messaging, which allows you to put scripts and other functionalities into the system. Getting much more information is a powerful tool. Pre-populated content that you can use and share as a partner is also available. At one point, this content will be available for purchase, reasonably priced for both developers and companies. Customers can save time and effort with pre-populated content – they can copy the solutions and make the changes and corrections they see fit.

 

I am interested in the future of this platform. I am eager to see where we’re headed and what’s in store for developers who will be using the platform. Obviously, I am also interested in the reactions of the customers. Since more and more people are moving to the Cloud, it only makes sense that we’re dealing with things there.

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