Integration Solutions for SAP Business One (That Don't Require a Computer Science Degree to Use) - Part 1: Zapier

Richard Duffy
Richard Duffy in SAP Business One, Integration December 28, 2017

When it comes to ERP projects, one of the biggest areas of complexity and cost often relates to the processes around integrating the disparate systems deployed inside an organisation.

Fortunately, as the world moves to a more democratised approach to IT -- where more users have access to the power of IT solutions (and in many small businesses, the flexibility to use them) -- there are a new generation of integration platforms. Many of these new generation platforms allow the average user to build more useful solutions without relying on external consultants or even internal IT resources.

To my mind, this is a great outcome as it puts even more power back in the hands of users. Of course, you need to decide if that's what you want, or if you want to leave all that "stuff" up to others in your organisation.

Assuming that you want to do it yourself, or at least become more knowledgeable about the options, it is worthwhile spending some time looking at the choices. Through ONE.Source, we will explore the various options so that you can make informed choices that are right for your business. 

Zapier - Simple Point and Click Integration

In this first post on integration solutions, we will kick off with one that I pay for and use myself. The tool is called Zapier, and it has been around for a number of years now.

I find Zapier to be a really nice tool that helps me with a number of different scenarios. When it comes to plugging into SAP Business One, you can use any one of the available tools from SAP: the Data Transfer Workbench (DTW), the SAP Business One Integration Framework (B1i), the HANA Service Layer, or direct to database. (Remember the direct to database method should only be used in read-only mode or for writing to your own tables -- never to SAP tables.)
 

One aspect I really like about Zapier is that it is designed for non-programmers to use, and it already has 100s of endpoints available out of the box. An end point is the destination or source application that you are using in the integration scenario.

Assuming you are familiar with what the endpoint application does, it is relatively easy to build the integration using a point-and-click process. With end points for Google Docs, Excel and CSV text files, writing data in to SAP Business One is relatively simple if you know how to use the DTW as a minimum point.

They provide a quick guide on how it works, and I have embedded below their video explaining how to build your first Zap (that's what Zapier integrations are called).

 

Triggering your Zaps from SAP Business One

Of course, if you are familiar with SAP Business One at a technical level, you'll know that there is a way to capture events in SAP Business One using the Transaction Notification Stored Procedure. What is great is that you can use that to trigger your Zaps from SAP Business One!

If you have been following our ONE.Source community and my blogs, you know that we also have many tutorial videos available on demand. I will build an example video in the coming weeks to show you how you can build a Zap linking SAP Business One and another application. So stay tuned.

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