An integration process is an executable cross-system process for processing messages. In an integration process you define all the process steps to be executed and the parameters relevant for controlling the process.
You apply integration processes when you want to define, control, and monitor complex business processes that extend across enterprise and application boundaries. The design and processing of integration processes is also known as cross-component Business Process Management (cross-component BPM, ccBPM), or service orchestration.
Using the checklist below, you can check whether integration processes are an appropriate solution to your particular use case and whether you have defined your integration processes appropriately.
Integration processes enhances message-based process integration with the stateful processing of messages; that is, the status of an integration process is persisted on the Integration Server. This means that you can specify how long an integration process must wait for further messages to arrive, for example. Furthermore, this enables you to process messages within an integration process further still; for example, you can group certain messages together and then send them in a particular order.
Integration processes are objects in the Enterprise Services Repository and are integrated with other objects, for example service interfaces:
● Design Time
To define an integration process at design time you use the graphical process editor in the Enterprises Services Builder.
● Configuration Time
At configuration time, you configure the receiver determination for the integration process in the Integration Directory.
At runtime, the Business Process Engine (BPE) executes the integration processes. The Business Process Engine is part of the Integration Server. You monitor the execution of business processes by using the monitoring functions of the Integration Engine.
Cross-Component Business Process Management is integrated in SAP Business Workflow: an integration process can be sent messages to a workflow, and messages from a workflow can be processed in an integration process.
More information: SAP Business Workflow
When defining integration processes, you can use correlations to establish semantic relationships between messages. For example, you could correlate a purchase order and the corresponding invoice by means of the purchase order number. The Business Process Engine takes any semantic relationships into account when controlling an integration process.
You can transform messages on the basis of semantic relationships between the messages. You can also collect messages that belong together and bundle them into one message. For example, you could put all purchase order items into one purchase order. Inversely, you can also divide up a message into multiple messages, for example, you could divide a purchase order into the various purchase order items. You can then send the messages that you have created to different receivers.
In addition to the send, receive, and transformation steps, you also have numerous ways of influencing the control flow of a process. For example, you can define loops, forks, deadlines, and exception handlers. You can also create complex processes. You can define an integration process as a sender or receiver of a message, just like a business system. By using a corresponding message, an integration process can trigger another integration process. In this way, you can link integration processes to form a process chain.
The Business Process Engine only communicates with applications that are located on back-end systems by means of messages. The Business Process Engine cannot access processes within applications, nor can it access user or organizational management functions on back-end systems. Then the following applies:
● The Business Process Engine does not control any processes within applications. However, you can integrate applications into cross-component processes by using messages.
● The Business Process Engine does not control any form of user interaction. You can only control user interaction in the relevant back-end systems, for example by starting a workflow using the Business Workflow. You can only provide users with decision options for certain situations.
● Business Process Management does not provide cross-component monitoring for any business documents that are processed as part of an integration process. However, you can display the log of an integration process and the corresponding messages in technical monitoring.
For an example of an integration process, in the Enterprise Services Repository, choose SAP BASIS → SAP BASIS <release_number> in the namespace http://sap.com/xi/XI/Demo/Agency under MultipleFlightBookingCoordination.
More information: Example: Integration Process for Connecting Flight Bookings