This reality applies to the Ariba ITK (Integration Toolkit), a Java-based desktop application for file transfers and other tasks. SAP, the Ariba product team, has since decided to discontinue the ITK, citing several reasons.
Unfortunately, the answer for what is replacing SAP Ariba ITK depends on the specific situation. As an SAP ERP customer, you will transition to SAP's Ariba Cloud Integration Gateway (CIG) for integrating ERP with Ariba solutions. In comparison, for users of non-SAP ERP systems or those with ad-hoc integrations with SAP Ariba or Intelligent Spend and Business Network solutions, SAP offers three options: SAP Integration Suite on BTP, Integration toolkit on BTP for SAP Ariba applications or any other third-party tool for file transfer between ERP and SAP Ariba applications. Follow along as we look at the intricacies of each.
Why the Shift from Ariba ITK?
- Cloud-based Integration Strategy: SAP has a comprehensive integration approach that is cloud-based and can be deployed across various hyperscalers. Instead of each product team having its integration tool, SAP has opted for a centralized integration tool managed by a dedicated team. This ensures consistency, scalability, and streamlined integration across multiple applications.
- Outdated Technology: Ariba ITK has not received significant updates or modifications for many years, apart from essential security fixes. Ariba recognizes the need to move away from this outdated text file exchange tool and embrace SAP's more modern and efficient integration that can deliver on the complete integration requirement customers face.
Exploring Alternative Options
- Scenario One: SAP ERP Customers with Ariba If an organization owns both SAP ERP and Ariba, the SAP ERP solution already includes a prebuilt integration utility known as the SAP BTP (Business Technology Platform) Integration Suite. This suite provides numerous data mappings and integrations between SAP ERP and SAP Ariba, making it a cost-effective option for seamless integration - simplifying your environment and reducing cost of ownership.
- Scenario Two: Multiple SAP Applications with SAP ERP Since most SAP ERP customers have multiple SAP applications, scenario two is more common. In this case, utilizing the SAP BTP Integration Suite, Standard Edition, is highly recommended. Recognized as a leader in integration by Gartner, this suite offers a comprehensive set of hybrid Cloud/on-prem integration capabilities and connectors for various SAP and non-SAP applications.
- Scenario Three: Non-SAP ERP with Ariba For organizations using a non-SAP ERP system alongside Ariba, the SAP BTP Integration Suite, Basic Edition, is a suitable choice. This edition provides basic file transfer capabilities and limited scope, catering to low-volume scenarios. It allows organizations to integrate with other SAP applications using prebuilt recipes (published up on api.sap.com), which ensures future scalability and adaptability.
- Existing Middleware Application: If an organization already has a middleware application in place, direct file transfers between the ERP system and Ariba can be established using the existing middleware. However, this option may not be as future-proof as the SAP BTP Integration Suite, as the suite receives timely updates and enhancements to align with changes in the Ariba platform.
For guidance on what solution is right for you, book a 15-minute no-obligation consultation with our VP Solution Management.
What Are Businesses Currently Struggling With
For SAP ERP customers, transitioning to the Ariba Cloud Integration Gateway (CIG) is relatively straightforward. However, for non-SAP customers, the situation becomes more complex when it comes to adopting the Business Technology Platform (BTP).
BTP is not a singular entity like CIG; it encompasses a suite of SAP solutions, products, and services that fall under the Business Technology Platform umbrella.
To navigate this transition, it is crucial for your organization to conduct a thorough assessment of your current system. This evaluation will help determine if migrating to BTP is the right choice and what specific requirements your organization has as a non-SAP customer within the Business Technology Platform framework.
Decision Tree for Choosing the Right Option
To facilitate the decision-making process, SAP has created a decision tree to navigate the available options:
Do You Own or Run SAP ERP Integration?
- Yes: Choose SAP BTP Integration Suite, Standard Edition, along with the old CIG (Cloud Integration Gateway), now known as SAP BTP Integration Suite Managed Gateway for Spend Management (aka 'Ariba Cloud Integration Gateway/CIG') and SAP Business Network. The cloud software license from SAP would start from $10k, which would be a set of SAP BTP credits to handle the integration capabilities.
- No: Proceed to the next question.
Do You Want to Use Your Existing Middleware For File Transfers?
- Yes: Consider using your existing third-party middleware.
- No: Proceed to the next question.
Is Your Integration Limited In Scope?
- Yes: Opt for the SAP BTP Integration Suite, Basic Edition, which offers basic file transfer capabilities and predefined recipes for integrating with SAP applications.
- No: Choose the SAP BTP Integration Suite, Standard Edition, to leverage open connectors, API management, and comprehensive integration capabilities.
What is the SAP BTP's "Integration Suite?'
In addition to the above options, SAP Integration Suite provides a wide range of benefits for businesses like yours. It enables you to integrate multiple systems and data across different applications, devices, and data sources, expanding beyond the application layer and incorporating an added data layer.
The Integration Suite, particularly the Standard Edition, offers sophisticated value-add various additional services, such as API management, open connectors, and capabilities to monitor & notify, transform, and map data in multiple fashions. With over 2000 integration maps and APIs, it accelerates integration between SAP and non-SAP solutions. Currently, more than 15,000 customers utilize the Integration Suite, and SAP has been recognized as a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for cloud integration platform as a service. SAP's strategy is to connect all applications within the ecosystem.
What Is Business Technology Platform?
Moving on to SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) serves as the foundation for developing SAP, non-SAP and custom applications that cover your business processes. BTP focuses on four crucial areas: accelerating the move to the cloud, facilitating integrations while keeping the core clean of any SAP applications, integrating business processes, and establishing a unified data management strategy. The platform offers around 100 cloud services for extensibility, application development, integrated workflows, data management, data analytics, RPA, and integration.
The Challenge with legacy Integration Methods: Traditionally, organizations relied on the SAP Ariba Integration Toolkit (ITK) to transfer CSV-based files containing master and transactional data from their ERP systems to the SAP Ariba Cloud solution. The ITK had two main components: the DB connector for extracting ERP data into CSV files and the Data Transfer Tool for converting and uploading the CSV files to the SAP Ariba Cloud.
However, the ITK presented certain challenges. First, it required periodic reinstallation to incorporate updates and new fields, making it time-consuming and cumbersome. Second, the ITK operated in an on-premise environment, limiting scalability & flexibility and increased TCO. To address these limitations, SAP Ariba introduced the Cloud Integration Gateway and later the Integration Suite Managed Edition (aka 'Cloud Integration Gateway/CIG') for integration between Ariba and other SAP systems.
The Power of SAP Integration Suite
The SAP Integration Suite offers significant advantages over the ITK by moving integration to the cloud and providing seamless updates and scalability. With Integration Suite, organizations no longer need to worry about manually updating their integration tools or managing on-premise deployments. Instead, they can focus on leveraging the benefits of cloud-based integration for their ERP(s) and SAP Ariba Cloud solutions.
Benefits of SAP Integration Suite for ERP Data Integration
- Automation and Real-Time Integration: Integration Suite supports both batch and real-time integration, providing organizations with greater flexibility and agility in synchronizing ERP data with the SAP Ariba Cloud solution. This real-time capability allows for faster decision-making and more efficient procurement processes.
- Secure Data Transfer: The Integration Suite ensures secure data transmission through shared secrets, certificates, and secure socket layer (SSL) encryption. This robust security framework protects sensitive information during transport, giving organizations peace of mind when transferring data between systems.
- Streamlined Integration Landscape: Integration Suite simplifies the integration landscape by consolidating and centralizing integration processes. Organizations can implement Integration Suite once and reuse it for multiple integrations with SAP and non-SAP applications, reducing complexity and improving efficiency.
- Expanded Functionality and Innovation: By adopting Integration Suite, organizations gain access to a wide range of additional services provided by the SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP). These services include low-code API development, analytics, data management, and more. Integration Suite becomes a gateway to leveraging the full potential of BTP innovations for enhanced procurement processes.
Real Life Example
By adopting the Integration Suite, they witnessed a remarkable reduction in total cost of ownership (TCO) due to several key factors.
Firstly, the use of a unified integration environment enabled other companies to streamline its integration processes. The Integration Suite's low-code capabilities provided a visual and intuitive development environment, allowing them to complete integration tasks in a fraction of the time with fewer resources. This efficiency gain translated into faster data availability for analysis, often in real-time, as compared to the previous time-consuming batch routines with significant latency. Many of these same companies experienced reduced license costs by utilizing a single integrated environment for both SAP and non-SAP integrations. This simplified architecture not only optimized their operations but also eliminated the need for additional middleware. Leveraging the Integration Suite allowed them to harness the full potential of their existing systems while benefiting from enhanced performance and improved cost-effectiveness.
The Bottom Line
The successful adoption of the BTP Integration Suite demonstrates how organizations can achieve significant TCO reduction, improved integration performance, and simplified architecture. By leveraging the power of this comprehensive integration solution, businesses can unlock new levels of efficiency, agility, and cost savings while seamlessly integrating their SAP and non-SAP environments.
For additional support, more information about the ConvergentIS Add-on for ITK Replacement on SAP Integration Suite is available here.