SAP’s Position on Non SAP Application Integration

What This Article Covers

  • SAP’s Story and Position on Integrating Non-SAP Systems to SAP
  • The Reality of Integration Versus the SAP Presentation
  • Problems with SAP’s Integration Between Its Own Applications
  • Cost Estimation for Various Solution Architectures


SAP and virtually anyone that makes money from SAP has an interesting perspective on the wisdom of using non-SAP systems along with SAP.

SAP’s Story and Position on Integrating Non-SAP Systems to SAP

I believe I can represent SAP’s position on this topic accurately. Anyone who disagrees who works for SAP is free to correct my interpretation, but SAP has told me this on some occasions.

  • SAP’s Amazing Best Practices: SAP maintains a catalog of Best Practices that it then incorporates into its software. All of SAP’s software is based upon Best Practices and because SAP is so widely deployed it contains all Best Practices. I have an article which analyzes the best practices claims at this article. That is the first part of the argument.
  • Integration to Non-SAP Systems Must be Avoided: According to SAP, or apparently, virtually anyone who makes money on SAP, integration is so difficult that you should not integrate any non-SAP system to SAP. SAP will concede that some best of breed applications may be slightly better but any business benefit received from using a non-SAP system is immaterial because you will any business benefit will be overcome by such substantial integration costs. In cases where SAP does not have a solution, it makes more sense to wait until SAP brings out one. As stated, it is simply too risky to connect a non-SAP system to SAP.
  • Connecting Non-SAP Applications to SAP Comes with Legal Liabilities Due to Indirect Access: Furthermore, (and this is a recent addition) if you don’t buy all SAP applications, you face indirect access liabilities. Therefore you should be careful not to try to purchase non-SAP applications because it is so risky.

The Reality of Integration Versus the SAP Presentation

This is sort of the problem in enterprise software where it’s all about quota attainment, you can’t get an opinion or advice without getting a biased answer. But the problem with the viewpoints of SAP, SAP consulting companies, and independent SAP consultants is that there is no evidence that application integration is a worse trade off than customization. Secondly, all of those that draw money from SAP overstate the degree of integration among SAP’s applications. In SAP APO, the integration harness called CIF has very high overhead, integration issues to not simply go away, as is implied in the SAP sales process.

Problems with SAP’s Integration Between Its Own Applications

I constantly receive complaints about the poor integration between SAP’s new acquired products like SuccessFactors, Concur, etc.. Outside of ERP, which is a multi-module system which is completely part of one database, all of SAP’s other applications required integration harnesses. Anyone can develop an integration harness, most vendors have some type of integration to ECC already.

Cost Estimation for Various Solution Architectures

My experience and time spent quantifying the costs of software as well as working on implementations is that the number one feature to look for in software is its actual inherent capabilities and how well it meets business requirements. For those that would tell me how horrible application integration is, unfortunately, I have done it myself. I have created integration harnesses from scratch as part of integration teams. And I did not even get to use really good tools like Informatica. And secondly what you get out of SAP regarding integration between its applications is not much different than what other vendors offer regarding connecting to SAP.


There has been a tremendous amount of lying and false information about what is really going on behind the scenes with respect to SAP integration. Finally, this observation has come from the detailed study that frankly virtually none of the SAP entities I presented above have done themselves. Secondly, it comes from a point with no financial bias. SAP and SAP surrogates like Deloitte, IBM, etc.. cannot make that claim. SAP and their surrogates make their claims about integration not because they are true, but because it makes them the most money to do so. 

Who is the Most Accurate Source on SAP?

Want to find out? See... A Study into The Accuracy of SAP

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