How SAP Integration Actually Works

What This Article Covers

  • The Outcome for SAP Customers
  • Integration and Indirect Access
  • The Reality of SAP Integration


SAP uses the logic that application integration is so problematic that companies should not connect to non-SAP applications to SAP applications. This allows SAP to argue that using all SAP applications makes an overall implementation work better. This allows SAP to not compete on the actual application, but to compete as part of an ecosystem.

The Outcome for SAP Customers

The paragraph above has been the long-term strategy of SAP, and most SAP customers believe it, using non-SAP systems only when they find a huge hole in SAP’s offering. This has to lead to deleterious effects for SAP customers as they have loaded up on weak applications ranging from the SAP BW to SAP APO. These applications continually consume large amounts of IT resources and deliver low levels of business value. However this point is not admitted to by IT departments, as IT departments will almost always have “SAP’s back” even when it works against the interests of the companies that employ them.

Integration and Indirect Access

SAP has added an extra incentive to not buy non-SAP applications in its special application of indirect access claims and threats against its customers. This topic is covered in this link.

The Reality of SAP Integration

The only applications that are naturally integrated, or sit on the same database, is SAP’s ERP system. All other SAP applications need to be connected to the ERP system and other SAP systems with adapters. SAP gives the impression that all their SAP applications are naturally integrated, but the customer soon learns that this is not true. The truth is that SAP is not very good at developing adapters. For example, SAP’s integration product called PI is drastically inferior to other integration applications such as those put out by Informatica (as just one example).

In addition to integration limitations with SAP developed applications, SAP has proven to be quite slow in developing adapters to its acquired applications (such as SuccessFactors or Ariba). It is quite common for applications that were acquired over five years ago to still have integration problems.


SAP provides a story that can be undermined if one has the correct facts. And these facts change greatly depending upon the application in question.

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