6 Things to Consider When Choosing Between SAP PO and CPI

Allowing your SAP ERP to communicate with your third-party applications is a must. But which middleware should you choose? Picking the right integration platform is crucial. It reflects on your business processes, your IT landscape, and your return of investment.

SAP PO is the older, on-premises middleware option. PO (or its former version, PI) has many loyal customers. SAP CPI is a newer addition for cloud integrations. In this post we’ll go over some scenarios and see which option might be best for your business.

6 Questions for Deciding Between SAP PO and CPI

There’s a myriad of factors to consider when choosing between SAP PO and CPI: licensing, functionalities, integration possibilities, ROI. The following are the first questions we ask customers who need help deciding.  

1. Do you have an existing SAP PI system?

If you’re running on older versions of SAP PI, 7.1 to 7.4, you can either migrate to SAP PO 7.5 or to SAP CPI. The former option would cost less, but if you feel there’s a chance you’ll eventually migrate to CPI, upgrading twice doesn’t make sense.

Keep in mind that SAP’s roadmap is pushing customers to move to the cloud. So if the following points don’t provide a good reason otherwise, CPI might be a better choice in the long run.

2. How large is your internal integration traffic?

In other words, how heavy is your on-premise communication? If it’s a lot, transferring it to the cloud and back to on-premises may seem unnecessary.

However, SAP provides its BTP customers with the Cloud Connector, which connects on-premise systems to cloud applications. This way, you can run communication in your own network’s mail server while running on the cloud.

3. Where do you stand in the old vs. new debate?

On one hand you’ve got SAP PO. 15+ years’ worth of updates, a devoted developer community, reliable monitoring and error handling tools, great for point to point connections. SAP PO is like a trusted uncle you’ve known your whole life.

On the other hand, you have SAP CPI. CPI is the talk of the town. SAP makes it really simple to get into CPI. Services like CPI Suite, BTP, and RISE with SAP are all encompassing, with predetermined business processes and packaged integration solutions. Flashy features like analytics and AI make promises of higher efficiency. Subscription pricing models are easy on the wallet. CPI is the hip new neighbor who just moved in.

4. How much are you willing to invest upfront?

SAP PO has varying licensing costs. You can choose to pay per number of machine processors, number of transactions, or number of users. You can request a quote from SAP by filling out a form.

CPI licensing is a lot simpler. SAP Cloud Platform, SAP Business Technology Platform, or RISE with SAP all have monthly subscription fees. Configuration can be completed in one day (for most cases) and doesn’t require a basis team. This means faster time to value and fewer resources to allocate.

5. How much of your landscape is on the cloud?

How many third-party applications are there in your ecosystem? Do you use a cloud-based CRM application like Salesforce? Do you store your data in cloud storage services like Amazon S3, Dropbox, or Google Drive? If so, SAP CPI is a much better fit compared to SAP PO.

Simplifying cloud integration is what CPI was invented for. And out-of-the-box adapters make it nearly effortless. Our packaged CPI integration solutions connect your applications to your Cloud Platform in a handful of steps. No coding or development required!

We have adapters for Amazon S3, AMQP, Azure, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, MongoDB, Salesforce, and WebDAV. Request a free 15-minute demo with our integration specialists and witness the adapters in action. If you like what you see, begin your 45-day free trial immediately.

6. What does SAP’s future roadmap look like?

SAP is accelerating efforts to move customers to the cloud. CEO Christian Klein promises higher long-term value and improved productivity for cloud users. SAP began a mega-project to encourage this transformation. All of SAP’s main solutions have adopted the cloud and will soon provide services via a single data model: Business Technology Platform, powered by SAP HANA.

Keep in mind that support for SAP PO will end in 2027; extended support will end in 2030. SAP is focusing most of its efforts and investments on the cloud.

Summing Up

If you have no history with SAP PI, we strongly recommend creating your integrations in SAP CPI. It’s current, it’s promising, and it’s sustainable. You’ll have various subscription models to choose from. Set up will be quick and you’ll get faster time to value.

If you’re running on previous SAP PI versions but have fewer than 50 interfaces, again, we recommend migrating to SAP CPI. If you have more than 50 interfaces and feel that migration is too daunting, you could upgrade to SAP PO 7.5 for now. SAP PO will be supported for another six years. We’ll be talking about PO to CPI migration soon, so stay tuned.