Last updated August 5, 2019.
Magento or SAP: Which platform is the system of record?
This isn’t just a matter of semantics. In fact, getting the answer right could spell the difference between success and failure for your SAP-Integrated Magento B2B project. At the very least, your answer to the question will define the level of effort, complexity, and cost (not to mention cost overrun) of your SAP Magento B2B eCommerce initiative.
It will also define the level of stress and contention that your Marketing, IT departments, and Service Providers will have to endure while they try and pull this project off.
The shores are littered with the remains of project teams who have attempted Magento-SAP integrations for the purposes of B2B eCommerce.
Here at Corevist, we’ve built 125+ managed Magento storefronts integrated to SAP.
So what’s the difference between a failed SAP/Magento project and our 125+ successful projects?
It’s actually pretty simple.
SAP & Magento: Understanding the differences between these platforms
As a full-fledged Magento shop with an out-of-the-box integration to SAP, we’ve learned the rules of integrating these two platforms into a single, cohesive web channel.
Here’s the first thing to know: SAP and Magento are two distinctly different platforms created to serve two different business problems.
- SAP is the defacto standard in Enterprise Resource Planning which manages the operations of 87% of the Forbes 2000 companies. They know everything about everything required to manage the workings of enterprises, large and small. If you need further proof of the supremacy of SAP in the ERP space, consider the fact that 76% of the entire world’s transaction revenue touches an SAP system. That’s amazing.
- Magento is the industry leader in e-commerce platforms with close to 30% of the Alexa 1Million running on their platform. They know how to merchandise and sell products on the web. Even the Gartner Group will tell you that. If you need further proof of Magento’s dominance among e-commerce platforms, consider the fact that Adobe bought Magento in 2018—and, in March 2019, the company launched Adobe Commerce Cloud, a fully-managed cloud-based version of Magento integrated with its Analytics Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Advertising Cloud offerings.
Where Magento & SAP meet
Here’s where these 2 platforms come head-to-head: when enterprises running SAP ERP want to launch world-class ecommerce on Magento.
Suddenly, these 2 platforms need to talk—with minimal IT investment and minimal errors and maintenance in the final architecture.
To get a handle on what the meeting of Magento & SAP means, it’s helpful to examine what each platform lacks:
- SAP lacks a way to liberate all of that wonderful commerce data that it manages and make it accessible to web users in a friendly, cost effective, eCommercy way. But that is what Magento and Corevist were created to do.
- Magento lacks a way to manage all of that wonderful and complex commerce data that runs serious B2B enterprises. Magento gets severe migraines when it comes to managing complex B2B pricing rules and has no clue what to do about telling the real time truth about product availability. But that’s what SAP does in its sleep.
Okay, sounds like these 2 platforms could get along, right? All it should require is the ideal integration architecture, right?
That’s exactly what we think at Corevist. 🙂
Now, there are only two main, high-level “buckets” into which an SAP-Magento integration can fall. Here are those 2 options.
Integrating SAP –> Magento
Almost 100% of the Magento projects and inquiries we see insist on stuffing all of those diverse and complicated SAP things (which every SAP customer has spent millions to get right) into the Magento platform.
That’s what I mean by integrating SAP to Magento. Every business object and rule required to run a B2B eCommerce business has to be remapped onto the Magento platform. Everything that SAP already knows about Customers, Products, Pricing, Inventory, Orders, Deliveries and Payments has to be rebuilt in the Magento platform in order to take a single order.
All of those errors and warnings that CSRs get when they take phone orders have to be transported to the Magento platform.
Oh, and if you want to let your customers take a peak at orders that were not placed on the web, in true Omnichannel fashion, all that history needs to be transferred to Magento as well.
The keywords here are mapping and batch synchronization of an awful lot of business information across the two platforms. To be sure, a vibrant industry has developed around automating some of these activities and their sales pitches all sound like it all should happen auto-magically (if I may).
The reality is, I’ve fielded many a phone call over the years from disillusioned clients who were told it was going to be simple. Most of these people still didn’t have a Magento-SAP integration in production after 12-18 frustrating and expensive months.
Needless to say, integrating SAP to Magento in the B2B world is not as simple as the sales pitches would have you believe. (That’s especially true if you choose a Magento shop that doesn’t offer an out-of-the-box SAP integration.)
See our page 2 of our Magento Integration Points PDF for a visual of what’s required to integrate SAP to Magento from a business object perspective.
Every time you see a mark in both the SAP column and the Magento column you can translate that into time, cost and complexity and risk on your project. Based on our experience over the last 6 years in the SAP Magento market, even if project teams overcome their hubris of being able to tackle this integration challenge during the first golive, they are still faced with managing the SAP to Magento integration in perpetuity as businesses evolve.
One more thing about integrating SAP to Magento, this approach takes a huge toll on your IT department to explain to the Agency implementing Magento what’s going on in SAP…if they even know. It also requires quite a bit of secure infrastructure to be set up to manage the ongoing synchronization of the two platforms.
Integrating Magento –> SAP
If, however, you look at the world differently, the way Corevist does, you challenge yourself to find a better way. And that way is to take the best of both worlds and to intelligently stitch them together in order to accentuate each of their respective strengths. Oh, and because we’re not an Agency that wants to sell you billable hours and we didn’t invent either Magento or SAP, we have no ulterior motivation other than to get your Magento-SAP integrated website live as quickly as possible and give you the tools to manage your business without becoming dependent on our people.
How do we do it?
We just ask Magento to play a different role on these SAP B2B eCommerce projects. The only thing we ask of Magento is to manage the user’s shopping experience:
- Help the user find and learn about products that will be of value to them.
- Help them browse, search, filter and drill down and view as much rich content as is required to help them place that product in the cart.
The caveat is that that “cart” is the Corevist cart. Because Corevist is a real time window into SAP, the entire checkout process now inherits ALL of that wonderfully complex, and critically important information required to place 100% accurate orders from Magento into SAP in real time. We do that without having to move any SAP business object or rule off of the SAP platform to either Magento or to Corevist. Each platform does what it does best. They all work together with minimum stitching.
Look again at our Magento Integration Points PDF, and notice the distribution of marks in the Magento to SAP integration scenario. In this scenario there is very little overlap with SAP and Magento. Magento has to do a lot less work in the Magento to SAP integration scenario, which means less cost, complexity and risk during the implementation. SAP continues to play to its strengths without having to do anything different because a new B2B web channel exists. And of course, Corevist provides a little bit of intelligent glue that binds the two platforms together in blissful harmony. 🙂
In summary, Corevist integrates Magento to SAP. If you’re interested in integrating SAP to Magento, we’re not your partner. But if you’re interested in combining the world’s leading ERP Platform with the world’s leading eCommerce platform on behalf of your B2B customers, and want to do it quickly, relatively inexpensively and without causing a war between your marketing, IT and Customer Services departments, you’ve come to the right place!
Moving forward: FREE case study
Ready to learn more about Magento-SAP integrated ecommerce? Download this case study on Mannington Mills. You’ll learn how this leading manufacturer of flooring launched Corevist Commerce as a B2B portal only (SKU order entry, no catalog), then added a Magento catalog (fully integrated to SAP out of the box) and saw 150% sales growth in the digital channle.
Download the case study
FREE Case study: 150% Sales Growth with Rich Content
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