This blog post is the 2nd in a series on the key implementation tasks you will be faced with when implementing SAP Cloud for Customer (C4C). It focuses specifically on SAP Cloud for Customer integration capabilities, and answers key questions frequently asked by clients.
Cloud SaaS solutions have been very popular over the last few years as they are faster and cheaper to deploy than their on-premise equivalents. One drawback of these departmental solutions (e.g. Sales, Customer service or HR) is the lack of out-of-the box integration with on-premise backends, or other Cloud applications.
Customers realising that full business value can only come from an integrated end-to-end process have been asking us various questions on the integration capabilities of SAP Cloud for Customers. This document provides answers to the most frequent questions.
- Can I integrate SAP Cloud for Customer with my SAP backend (SAP CRM or ECC)?
- Can I integrate with other (non-SAP) systems either on-premise or in the Cloud?
- Can I implement a Customer service Contact Centre with CTI integration?
- Can I integrate with Desktop groupware solutions like Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Notes?
- Can I load or extract data into/from SAP Cloud for Customer?
- Can I integrate SAP Cloud for Customer with SAP BW?
Yes. SAP provides pre-packaged integration scenarios called iFlows for integrating SAP C4C with either SAP CRM or ECC. What else would you expect from a company that has built its reputation by providing configurable end-to-end processes with ERP software?
These iFlows are represented in the - very visual - BPMN language and include configuration for both end points of the integration flow between SAP C4C and the backend, and the message flow and mapping information between the inbound and outbound messages. The screenshots below show examples of this content. This gives an idea of the sort of work being saved by leveraging this integration content.
These iFlows live on a Middleware or Enterprise Hub which can either be SAP PI or a relatively new SAP Cloud product called SAP HANA Cloud Integration (HCI). SAP HCI is a new holistic, cloud-based integration technology, with both process and data integration capabilities on a multi-tenant cloud infrastructure. This technology supports integration of SAP cloud applications to not only SAP, but other third-party applications/data sources - both on-premise and Cloud – as well. It is one of the capabilities in the broader SAP HANA Cloud platform.
iFlows can be customised by customers using the Eclipse-based Netweaver Developer Studio. One example would be for the adding of mappings for bespoke fields.
For a detailed description of this integration, please refer to this great document on SCN. It provides a list of the supported replication scenarios for both ECC and CRM. It also gives a pros and cons analysis of SAP PI vs SAP HANA Cloud Integration.
Reference to these pre-packaged integration scenarios are key to convince SAP customers to choose a SAP Cloud product versus competitor products like Salesforce. The main business benefits when implementing a departmental Cloud solution will come from ensuring it doesn’t become a siloed application by integrating it with relevant (backend or Cloud) applications to provide an end-to-end process.
For example, I would want the ability to generate a sales quote or sales order in my backend directly from a SAP C4C sales opportunity. Or I want to create a SAP C4C customer complaint with relation to a backend sales order.
SAP pre-packaged iFlows will drastically reduce the integration TCO, as the illustrative diagram below shows. Without this content, the integration cost is such that for example most Salesforce customers I have come across have not spent the money building the backend integration.
For those looking for additional information on each integration flow and its associated benefits, please check out this very handy SAP document.
SAP provides many integration options to non-SAP systems.
- Pre-packaged scenarios – A number of 3rd party providers have developed easy to integrate solutions whereby they have already developed the integration point by leveraging Cloud for Customer APIs. Examples include Twitter, Facebook, Netbase, Klout, Google and Bing maps, where activating the integration only takes a few minutes by providing API keys.
- Web service APIS - If you need an integration scenario that isn’t available in the standard delivery or through a partner solution, you can build your own scenario using the existing SAP Web services. As standard, SAP C4C provides a number of web services and Odata interfaces. The full web service API list and technical details can be found here
- SAP Cloud Application studio SDK - If the available Web services are not sufficient, you can use the SAP Cloud Applications Studio SDK to create a new Web service. Access to this SDK and a development tenant will require additional license not included in the SAP C4C license.
Yes, SAP Cloud for Service can be integrated with CTI provider solutions. The Live Activity pane allows agents to see detailed information from a telephone call, or chat session in progress.
SAP provides out of the box integration with SAP Contact Centre (formerly BCM) and open CTI APIs with other 3rd party CTI providers, such as Avaya and Cisco.
Yes. Both SAP Cloud for Sales and Cloud for Service provide integration with Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes (with a lower level of integration for Lotus Notes). Integration use cases provided cover Accounts, Contacts, Tasks, Appointments replication as well as creating links with Leads, Opportunities and Tickets.
Microsoft Outlook integration supports Microsoft Outlook 2007, 2010, and 2013. IBM Lotus Notes integration supports IBM Lotus Notes 8.5.x.
Check out this video for a nice demo of the Microsoft Outlook integration.
SAP C4C comes with Excel-based migration templates for all standard master data and transaction objects as well as an easy to use Migration workbench for staging, load simulation and validation and final loads. Complex transformation rules can also be developed using the Cloud Application Studio SDK. Check out Michael Bowell’s blog post on his first experience with C4C Data Migration.
Data can also be loaded in SAP C4C (manually or via web service consumption) for the sole purpose of reporting via the concept of Cloud Data Sources.
Finally, you can easily extract all data from SAP C4C into Excel spreadsheets.
Unlike SAP CRM on-premise and many competitor Cloud products, SAP C4C does not necessarily require an external reporting module for Analytics on processes based solely on SAP C4C data. C4C is built on top of an SAP HANA database. Many standard real time reports and dashboards are available across sales and services processes. Reporting and transactional performance won’t be much impacted by data volumes and/or concurrent usage because of the SAP HANA architecture. Custom reports and KPIs can also be built based on standard and bespoke fields.
You can see a video demo of C4C reporting functionality here.
If merging with an external data source is needed for reporting, SAP C4C provides the ability to load 3rd party data via the Cloud Data Source concept with either a manual or an automated data load via web service.
SAP also provides 3 integration use cases with SAP BW:
- Report Integration/HTML mashup: HTML view of a BI/BW dashboard or report web template embedded in C4C view (with parameter ID such as customer number being passed)
- Data transfer SAP C4C to SAP BW: data is transferred from C4C to SAP BI. The data sources in Cloud for Customer are exposed via Operational Data Provider (ODP) service that are consumed by SAP BI. For this scenario, the minimum supported BI release is BW 7.3 SP5. Only full uploads (with selection criteria) are supported
- Data transfer SAP BW to C4C: Data in BI Infoproviders can be transferred into an Open Hub Destination. Data can be pushed and stored into a custom SAP C4C business object via a C4C web service called from SAP BI (or a Hub like SAP PI).
I hope this blog post will help you in your SAP C4C endeavors. Please feel free to highlight any questions that should be added to the FAQ.