SAP and Salesforce Integration
As one of the most widely used enterprise resource planning solutions on the market, SAP plays a central role in the most critical business processes for many companies. In order to fully automate and optimize these business processes, companies need to integrate SAP with other applications within their organization.
One of the most common SAP integration scenarios is integration between SAP and customer relationship management (CRM) applications. A pioneer of Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, Salesforce.com is the current market leader in CRM applications. As such, integration between SAP and Salesforce, in particular, has become a fairly typical challenge for organizations.
This article discusses SAP and Salesforce integration, including uses and benefits, challenges, and new approaches.
Uses and Benefits of SAP & Salesforce Integration
Integration between SAP and Salesforce is used to synchronize data between the two systems. For instance, when information for a new customer is entered into Salesforce, it is important that this data is made available in a timely manner for financials, performance management, and other business functions managed by SAP. Other SAP-Salesforce integration uses include:
- Synchronizing master product lists between SAP and Salesforce
- Sending data for won opportunities in Salesforce to SAP for invoice creation
When SAP and Salesforce are properly integrated, companies are able to streamline and fully automate their business processes. Companies further benefit from SAP and Salesforce integration in the following ways:
- Elimination of the need for dual data entry, saving time and money
- Fewer data redundancies and errors caused by manual data entry
- Enhanced agility to act on new information quickly
SAP & Salesforce Integration Challenges
Although integration has been around for well over a decade, the specific challenge of integrating SAP and Salesforce emerged much more recently. Before Salesforce became widely used, ERP and CRM integration generally meant connecting two or more on-premises applications. SAP and Salesforce integration, however, requires a new approach to account for the technological differences between SAP’s on-premises solution and Salesforce’s cloud-based delivery model.
Moreover, traditional approaches to integration have been costly and complex. Direct, point-to-point integration, for instance, has been utilized in some cases as a quick, ad hoc solution to SAP and Salesforce integration challenges. However, such an approach creates tight dependencies between the two systems, resulting in a brittle environment and a progressively more complex architecture as new integrations are added over time.
SOA stacks are another way to integrate SAP and Salesforce. While SOA stacks enable loose coupling between applications and provide organizations with greater flexibility to address changes, a full SOA stack from a large vendor typically requires prohibitively high upfront costs and several years to implement.
Mule as an ESB - The Best Way to Integrate SAP and Salesforce
An alternative approach to point-to-point quick fixes and expensive SOA stacks is integrating SAP using an (Enterprise Service Bus). ESBs provide a modern and lightweight, standalone solution for integrating SAP and other applications, including SaaS solutions like Salesforce.
Mule as an ESB is the only enterprise service bus to be certified by SAP for SAP integration. Mule’s SAP Enterprise Connector provides bidirectional communication and works with existing SAP technologies such as:
- Intermediate Documents (IDocs)
- Business Application Programming Interfaces (BAPIs)
- SAP Java Connector (JCo)
Additionally, Mule as an ESB provides industry-leading Cloud Connect technology, which can be used along with the SAP-certified connector to dramatically simplify integration with Salesforce’s many APIs. With Mule as an ESB, integration between SAP and Salesforce has never been easier.
Interested in learning more? Explore best practices for SAP application integration projects.