Posts Tagged ‘SAP Systems Integration’

I finally finished my master thesis and wrote my final report. Originally it was 100 pages and now I am trying to cut it down to 35-40 pages. As a summary my final thought about SAP PI are that;

It is crucial to understand the companies’ application landscape and then make a final decision to go for one integration platform. Because in fact, it is really difficult to say PI is definitely better than BizTalk or vice versa. Giving an example, many large SAP customers already selected an integration platform. But, they also know that PI (XI) is required component of some SAP modules. Therefore they try to understand the product and decide how much they are going to use it. As far as seen on the market, they are introducing SAP PI along with their established integration platform, mostly to support SAP-to-SAP integration scenarios. Where this looks like an advantage, most of the other companies do not want to deal with two different integration platforms. In this case, if a company wants to adopt their integration platform strategy with SAP, gradually moving to SAP PI is the best way to go for by 2009. Because, as a result of the research, SAP NetWeaver PI will have a revolutionary change and this might cause serious problems for old PI investments. In addition to this, it is for sure that replacing all BizTalks with PI is not really a strong business case, because PI is still not a perfect product and needs a bit more real life experience.

After 4 months of research about SAP NetWeaver PI, the researcher makes two predictions about future of SAP PI;

1- PI will be 100% Java based product. It means, SAP will re-write the ABAP part or make an OEM agreement to replace ABAP with an already available solution in the market.
2- Currently, PI is based on hub and spoke, centralized architecture. First development of XI (PI) started as a part of MySAP technology but right now SAP has NetWeaver which is more distributed, SOA oriented base technology. So, XI is not a perfect match since it does not support distributed architecture. Because of SAP’s eSOA strategy they need to make integration based on more distributed architecture. By doing that they can dramatically reduce the total cost of owner ship and increase availability and performance. So, this will also cause a major change on product.

These changes can be done in two ways;
1- SAP will outsource PI to some other middleware company but will continue to development of this product. Because they already sold PI or XI to 50% of their large SAP users and they cannot suddenly stop supporting the product. Also, PI is playing a centric role for SAP’s ESOA strategy. So that, if SAP wants to be successful on this, they have to pay more attention to integration since this is one of the most crucial part of ESOA mentality.
2- SAP will buy another middleware company or make an OEM agreement to add their solution to PI in order to make it 100% Java based and distributed architecture based more open product.

So, it is important to keep all these in mind before making a buying decision. As mentioned before, a radical architectural change on PI, rather than an incremental evaluation, is expected. In order to mitigate the risks, it is recommended to be careful where companies use PI right now. For the time being, it is recommended to use PI within SAP landscape and for opportunistic applications, which means not mission critical projects. Also, make a good calculation about ROI. If it is 10 years, changing already established integration platform to PI is not recommended.

To sum up, both integration solutions have bad news – good news situation. As PI adoption grows, SAP will invest more into this technology. But if they want to penetrate into the main market, they have to enrich the functionality of their solution against competing integration platforms. Because current picture clearly shows that PI is dominantly used only by SAP customers. While this can be seen as a success, there are still lots of miles to go for SAP. Both integrated middleware approach (SAP PI) and best of breed approach (SAP PI + MS BizTalk) has pros and cons. So, it is up to company to decide which way to go. As mentioned earlier; unlike “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” there is not a “final answer” to this ongoing debate.

You can get my final master thesis report if you send me an email from: SAP Systems Integration Master Thesis Report

I will be happy to hear your comments.

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