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SAP PI/PO Complete Overview: What is Process Integration & Orchestration

Last Updated : 20 Dec, 2023
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SAP Process Integration (PI) and SAP Process Orchestration (PO) collectively form a robust middleware solution designed to seamlessly integrate and streamline communication between diverse applications within an enterprise. Serving as the backbone of SAP’s application integration strategy, SAP PI/PO facilitates the smooth exchange of information between different systems, both within and outside the organizational boundaries.



What is SAP PI?

SAP PI, or SAP Process Integration, is an enterprise application integration platform that provides seamless integration between SAP and non-SAP applications. It allows organizations to exchange information between internal software within the company and external systems. SAP PI is built upon the SAP Web Application Server and is compatible with software products of other companies. It reduces the total cost of ownership by providing a common repository for interfaces and facilitates interaction between diverse operating systems and applications across internal and external systems.

What is SAP PO?

SAP PO, which stands for SAP Process Orchestration, is an integration solution from SAP that combines several components to streamline and automate business processes. It is an evolution of SAP PI (Process Integration) and includes additional features to support process orchestration and business process management (BPM). SAP PO is part of the SAP NetWeaver platform.

Understanding SAP PI/PO with an Example:

Consider a hypothetical scenario where a company uses separate systems for its customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) processes. The CRM system contains customer order information, while the ERP system manages inventory and order fulfillment. For efficient business operations, it’s crucial that these systems seamlessly exchange data.

Scenario without SAP PI/PO:

  • Without an integration platform like SAP PI/PO, the CRM system might generate an order in its own format, and the ERP system may expect a different format.
  • The CRM system might use its communication protocols, while the ERP system uses a different set of protocols.
  • Integrating these systems directly would require custom point-to-point connections, making the overall landscape complex and difficult to maintain.

Scenario with SAP PI/PO:

  • SAP PI/PO acts as a centralized middleware solution. The CRM system can send an order to SAP PI/PO in its native format.
  • SAP PI/PO can then transform the order into a format that is compatible with the ERP system’s requirements.
  • SAP PI/PO handles the conversion of communication protocols between the systems, ensuring seamless data exchange.
  • Any future changes to the communication or data formats can be managed within SAP PI/PO, reducing the impact on the connected systems.

Why SAP PI/PO is important?

SAP Process Integration (PI) and SAP Process Orchestration (PO) are important in the enterprise IT landscape for several reasons:

  • System Integration: SAP PI/PO facilitates seamless integration between different systems, applications, and technologies within an organization. It enables the exchange of data, messages, and processes, allowing disparate systems to work together cohesively.
  • End-to-End Process Visibility: By providing tools for designing and orchestrating business processes, SAP PI/PO offers end-to-end visibility into how data flows through various systems. This visibility is crucial for monitoring and optimizing business processes.
  • Standardization: SAP PI/PO promotes standardization by providing a common platform and set of tools for integration. This standardization ensures that data formats, communication protocols, and business processes are consistent across different systems, reducing complexity and enhancing interoperability.
  • Data Transformation and Mapping: The ability to transform and map data between different formats and structures is a key feature of SAP PI/PO. This is essential when integrating systems that use different data models, ensuring that information is correctly interpreted by the receiving system.
  • Business Process Orchestration: SAP PO, in particular, extends beyond traditional integration to include Business Process Management (BPM) capabilities. It allows organizations to model, automate, and optimize end-to-end business processes, contributing to increased efficiency and agility.
  • Security and Compliance: Security features within SAP PI/PO ensure the secure exchange of sensitive business data. It supports authentication, authorization, and encryption, helping organizations comply with regulatory and compliance standards.

How SAP PI/PO works?

SAP Process Integration (PI) and SAP Process Orchestration (PO) work by providing a centralized platform for designing, configuring, and managing the integration of different systems within an organization. The process involves various components and stages:

1. Design Integration Scenario:

  • Integration specialists use the Enterprise Services Repository (ESR) to design integration scenarios. This involves defining the structure of the data that will be exchanged between systems, creating mappings for data transformation, and designing interfaces for communication.

2. Configure Integration Scenario:

  • In the Integration Directory (ID), configurations are set up based on the designed integration scenario. Configuration includes:
  • Defining communication channels: specifying how SAP PI/PO will connect to the source and target systems (e.g., using HTTP, FTP, or other protocols).
  • Specifying routing rules: determining how messages will be directed to the correct destination based on defined conditions.

3. Adapter Framework (AEX):

  • The Advanced Adapter Engine Extended (AEX) is responsible for connecting to different systems and technologies. It uses adapters, which act as interfaces between SAP PI/PO and external systems. Adapters support various communication protocols and data formats.

4. Data Transformation and Mapping:

  • When data is exchanged between systems with different data structures, SAP PI/PO handles data transformation and mapping. This ensures that data is correctly interpreted by the receiving system. The Enterprise Services Repository (ESR) is used to define mappings and transformations.

5. Message Processing:

  • SAP PI/PO’s message processing engine handles the flow of messages between systems. Messages may undergo various actions, such as validation, enrichment, and acknowledgment handling. The engine ensures that messages are processed according to the configured integration scenario.

6. Communication with External Systems:

  • Using the Adapter Framework, SAP PI/PO communicates with the external systems involved in the integration. The adapters handle the specifics of communication, translating data formats and protocols as needed. Messages are transmitted securely and reliably between systems.

SAP PI/PO Architecture

The architecture of SAP Process Integration (PI) and SAP Process Orchestration (PO) is designed to provide a flexible and scalable integration platform for connecting different systems within an organization. The architecture includes several components that work together to facilitate communication, data transformation, and process orchestration. Below is an overview of the key components in the SAP PI/PO architecture:

  1. Integration Engine: The Integration Engine is the core component responsible for processing messages and orchestrating the flow of data between systems. It performs tasks such as routing, mapping, and transformation based on the configurations defined in the Integration Directory.
  2. Advanced Adapter Engine Extended (AEX): The AEX is the runtime environment for adapters. Adapters are used to connect SAP PI/PO to different systems and technologies. The AEX supports various communication protocols and data formats, allowing for seamless integration with diverse systems.
  3. Enterprise Services Repository (ESR): The ESR is a design-time repository where integration specialists define and manage objects related to integration scenarios. This includes data types, message types, service interfaces, and mappings. The ESR is used to design the structure of data exchanged between systems.
  4. Integration Directory (ID): The ID is another design-time repository that holds configuration objects for integration scenarios. Configuration in the ID includes defining communication channels, routing rules, and other parameters necessary for the Integration Engine to process messages.
  5. Adapter Framework: The Adapter Framework is part of the AEX and provides a standardized way to connect to different systems. Adapters within the framework handle system-specific details, such as communication protocols, data formats, and security mechanisms.
  6. Messaging System: The messaging system is responsible for transporting messages between systems. It ensures reliable and asynchronous communication, allowing systems to exchange messages without being directly connected. This system supports message queuing and persistence.

Advantages of SAP PI/PO

SAP Process Integration (PI) and SAP Process Orchestration (PO) offer several advantages for organizations seeking a comprehensive and efficient integration solution. Some of the key advantages include:

  1. Seamless Integration: SAP PI/PO provides a centralized platform for integrating various systems, applications, and technologies within an organization. It ensures seamless communication and data exchange, streamlining business processes.
  2. Standardization: The platform promotes standardization by providing a common set of tools and frameworks for integration. This standardization simplifies the development and maintenance of integration scenarios, ensuring consistency across different systems.
  3. End-to-End Visibility: SAP PI/PO offers end-to-end visibility into the flow of data and processes. Monitoring tools provide insights into the status of messages, helping organizations track and analyze the performance of integration scenarios.
  4. Flexibility and Adaptability: SAP PI/PO supports a wide range of communication protocols, data formats, and adapters, making it flexible and adaptable to diverse integration scenarios. It can easily accommodate changes in business requirements and evolving IT landscapes.
  5. Data Transformation and Mapping: The platform facilitates data transformation and mapping between different systems with varying data structures. This ensures that information is correctly interpreted and processed by the receiving systems.
  6. Error Handling and Monitoring: SAP PI/PO includes robust monitoring tools that allow administrators to track the flow of messages and detect errors. Error handling mechanisms help identify and resolve issues promptly, minimizing downtime and ensuring the reliability of integration scenarios.
  7. Scalability: SAP PI/PO is designed to scale horizontally and vertically, accommodating growing volumes of data and transactions. Load balancing mechanisms distribute processing loads across multiple nodes, ensuring optimal performance as the organization’s needs expand.
  8. Security Features:The platform includes security features such as user authentication, authorization, and data encryption to ensure the secure exchange of sensitive business information. This is essential for maintaining the confidentiality and integrity of data.


In conclusion, SAP PI/PO plays a crucial role in enabling seamless communication and data exchange between disparate systems within an organization. It streamlines business processes, enhances efficiency, and helps organizations adapt to the challenges of integrating diverse IT landscapes.

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