When SAP HCM customers move to SuccessFactors Employee Central (EC) for global HR purposes, they break their core HR process of Hire to Pay into two systems. The process now becomes “Hire in EC” and “Pay in SAP HCM”. An employee hired in EC makes her way into HCM via an integration that SAP calls the Core Hybrid integration – the core HR process of Hire to Pay is delivered with a hybrid of EC and SAP HCM.
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Now the details:
ETL & ELT
I will take a moment here to stress on the importance of the integration pattern involved. If we’re to borrow from data integration lingo, there are two broad integration patterns – ETL, Extract, Transfer and Load and ELT, Extract, Load and Transfer. In ETL, the data is pulled from the source, transformed in the middleware and loaded to the destination. In ELT, data extracted from the source is directly loaded as is into the destination and the destination transforms it to the format it understands. The core hybrid EC to SAP HCM /S4HANA integration follows the ELT pattern with SAP Cloud Platform Integration doing the Extraction and Loading, and the Business Integration Builder (BIB) doing the Transformation of EC data format into SAP HCM data format on the ABAP side. I’ve covered a lot more about this here.
Digitised enterprises run best of breed softwares.
So, it’s not very uncommon to see non SAP middlewares and IPaaSes like MuleSoft, WebMethods, Boomi etc. plying along side SAP cloud and On premise products. When we talk about EC to SAP HCM integrations with SAP CPI as a middleware, one of the first questions we’re often asked is whether the same can be done with _________ middleware (fill in the blanks with your favourite middleware). The customer IT teams champion it, business teams are mostly agnostic – pushing for a faster deliveries with or without it. The meandering discussion also often leads to one concrete questions: Can this all be done without a middleware? If Employee Central and Employee Central Payroll integration can run without a middleware, why not EC to SAP HCM?
Well, the simple answer for is you don’t use a middleware just only for EC to HCM, but also for a bunch of other integrations like IDM, Document Management, benefits, other non SAP Payroll. But, we already have that middleware at play and right now we only care about EC to HCM – comes the answer.
Well, CPI has prepackaged content that can plug and play. Well, I don’t see our Benefits vendor on the CPI catalog – we’ve to build it anyhow. My in-house developers know _____ middleware very well.
A case can be made either ways. Eventually whether they really go down the CPI way or build things on their own is a decision based on context.
How significant is the choice of middleware?
With sufficient hindsight, one can deduce that in the special context of EC to SAP HCM Integration, the choice of middleware has little significance in the grand scheme of things. It’s often what comes after the integration is setup that needs decision making, sweating and hence time. The change management, the myriad of data issues that pop up once the integration kicks in, the new configuration that’s needed to get the integration going, designing new business processes that run across systems, harmonizing communication and SOPs across in-house admins and BPO vendors – these are the real challenges of a HR digital transformation project. The goal of a HR digital Transformation should be to get customers and business teams to this phase of digital self realisation sooner than later. Hence time spent on anything else including deciding the middleware and the technical intricacies that come along is just nothing but downtime.
This background drove us to a middleware free approach.
Going back to ELT, middleware free just means adding an Extraction and Loading layer to the ABAP stack – as the Transformation is already cared for by BIB. We built an ABAP add-on, a bunch of ABAP classes in the middle, that we call the NOMW_ADAPTER. The NOMW Adapter emulates exactly what the middleware content would otherwise do – making calls to the various APIs on SuccessFactors (CE/OData), strapping on headers and passing it on to SAP HCM for BIB processing. The ABAP add on is ready; we’ve tested it thoroughly with amazing results for employee and org master data integrations. It’s ready for productive use.
What happens to SAP CPI?
SAP CPI is a great middleware with great content – if you have CPI, stick to it.
Middleware free is mainly for customers without SAP CPI. They either have to switch to CPI or build custom content on their existing middlewares to get the EC to HCM integration running. Difficult decision, the both of them.
We offer such customers a viable alternative with INTEGRTR’s middleware free approach.
Interested in Middleware Free?
Watch out this space for webinars, live demos and more tech talk. In a hurry? Just drop me a line and I will show you how it works.