Categories: Founder's Blog


Sam Bayer


Cloning SAP, but not eCommerce…

In the world of SAP integrations to Magento, pitfalls abound. We’re dealing with serious complexity here, and it’s easy for companies to lose their heads trying to figure it out. Today’s story is all about how one company encountered that problem–and overcame it with Corevist’s help.

But first, the problem.

Once upon a time, there was a huge and aging international company struggling to keep up with the times.  We’ll call them BridgeCo in order to preserve their identity and to honor their struggle with bridging the past with modernity.  In 2013, even though they were a stalwart Fortune 100 company, and a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average for almost 90 years, their activist shareholders were concerned about their future.  The answer, of course, was to divest themselves of their slow moving businesses.  Divest those businesses that made them who they are, so they can focus on their emerging businesses, those that held out promise to make them who they wanted to become.

So, not unlike Greenland’s glaciers calving global warming induced icebergs,  BridgeCo calved a private equity funded business unit.  This calved business unit, which we’ll call BridgeKid, was large enough to remain on the Fortune 500 list all by itself.

And so begins today’s tale.

With one portion of BridgeKid focused on Europe and the other on the USA, BridgeKid’s management team began the process of establishing their independence from their parent.  They cloned BridgeCo’s SAP system and used it as the starting point for BridgeKid’s operating systems.  That was deemed the fastest and most risk averse way to establish their freedom.  Unfortunately, BridgeCo’s highly customized B2B eCommerce solution wasn’t going to make the transition.  BridgeKid needed to come up with a web channel solution…and fast!  Going live on the “new” SAP system without an SAP Integrated B2B eCommere solution was not an option since that channel was going to be an integral part of BridgeKid’s success.

This is where our tale gets interesting.

While both Europe and the US quickly came to the conclusion that the fastest and most affordable way to spin up a B2B eCommerce solution would be to utilize the Magento platform, that’s about all they could agree on.  To borrow from the 8th most successful advertising campaign in history, one wanted “more taste” and the other wanted it to be “less filling”.

Europe decided that they would take advantage of Magento’s content management system (CMS) capabilities and build out a website that had great taste and supported their many and varied branding needs across the continent.  The US decided they were more about substance than style, their priority was to accurately process and support orders, but they needed to do it with a limited staff…less filling.

Europe’s Magento implementation was driven by their Marketing organization and was gorgeous, but it added little value to the daily Order to Cash processes of the business.  The US’s website was IT driven and replicated all of the business rules and data from SAP so it was providing great value to the day to day operations of the business.  However, there was no time or money left over to make it pretty and it was next to impossible keeping up with the synchronization between SAP and Magento, not to mention all that time spent tracking down issues caused by the fragility of the integration.  In the reverberating words of BridgeKid’s US IT Manager:

“We constantly have a bunch of people troubleshooting middle-ware problems”

More taste.  Less filling.

Pretty website.  Functional website.

Two different strategies, none quite solving the problem.

Fast forward a couple of years and the two divisions of BridgeKid got together and said “there has to be a better way”.  “Enough is enough.  Can’t we have our cake and eat it too?  Can’t we leverage the power of Magento to present a compelling user experience for our multiple brands AND take advantage of our investments in SAP to run our business efficiently without all that middle-ware?”.

Driven by that powerful notion of wanting both “More taste and Less filling”, our BridgeKid IT team went to their friend Google.

BridgeKid: “Google, google on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”

Google: “Well of course YOU are, my dearest friends”

BridgeKid: “Thanks Google.  But how about our dilemma?  Can we have more taste AND  less filling?  Is there a solution for our SAP Magento B2B Integration woes?”

Google: “I have all answers my friends, that’s why you’re here.  Follow this link to find your treasure.  But I must warn you my dear friends, follow those paid ads at your own risk.  The organic search results are where you’ll find the real truth.  You can’t buy truth.  It has to be earned over time”.

BridgeKid: “Thanks Google! You’re amazing.  Where were you two years ago when we first started to look into this Magento SAP integration?”

Google:  “I’ve always been here my friend.  But I can’t answer questions until you ask them.  At least for now :-).  By the way, I look forward to indexing the case study you’re going to write about how you found More taste AND Less filling in the SAP Magento B2B eCommerce world!”

And that ends the first chapter of “A Tale of Two SAP Magento B2B Integration Woes”.

In our next chapter, learn about how BridgeKid takes the Corevist solution for a test ride and see what they learn.