In the ever-evolving landscape of technology and business operations, integration solutions play a pivotal role in streamlining enterprise processes and enhancing productivity. This essay explores two distinct integration projects, from real clients, both involving SAP Concur, a widely used expense management system, and Certinia, the best Professional Services Automation solution. These projects demonstrate how technological changes and evolving business needs led to unique integration challenges and solutions. The stories and lessons learned are shared below.
Precise Data Mapping Key to Concur and Certinia Integration
One client embarked on an integration journey with Concur, aiming to seamlessly incorporate expense data into their Certinia Professional Services Automation (PSA) system. Their primary objectives were to import Concur’s expense data into PSA and enable users to select PSA projects for expense assignment. To achieve this, they integrated Concur’s Web Services API and utilized Concur’s Salesforce Connector package.
One key requirement of this integration was the use of private sharing for the list of Assignments by Resource, necessitated by the Concur Salesforce Connector package’s OAuth security model. Apex triggers were employed to populate a custom Concur Assignment object, serving as the source of PSA Assignments within Concur for each user.
The integration faced challenges due to the misalignment of Concur and PSA expense data models. While PSA had two objects (Expense Reports and Expenses), Concur had three (Expense Reports, Expense Entries, and Expense Itemizations). The client expertly collapsed Concur’s Expense Entries and Expense Itemizations into the PSA Expenses object.
To facilitate a smooth data flow, the client had to create a mapping between Concur’s Expense Types and PSA’s Expense Types, as the two lists didn’t perfectly align. This meticulous mapping ensured that expenses were accurately classified in the integrated system.
Reviving a Concur and Certinia Integration
This integration story with Concur is one of resurrection and adaptation. The client had initially worked with CLD to build a custom Concur integration in 2017/2018, but due to changes in their IT department and Concur’s authentication methods, the integration fell into disrepair and had been failing for nine months before they sought help from CLD.
The root cause of the failure was a shift in how Concur authenticated API access. The original implementation used a username/password model (the only option supported at the time). However, Concur switched to a refresh token model, and the client’s integration couldn’t adapt. CLD took on the challenge of refactoring the authentication code to use the new model and upgrading API versions for Concur methods. The integration relaunched successfully in October 2022, breathing new life into the client’s Concur integration.
CLD explored the possibility of utilizing Certinia’s “OOTB” Concur integration but determined that it wouldn’t meet their requirements, especially regarding data integrity and the user experience.
A Silent Yet Pivotal Change
In September 2023, Concur made another significant change, silently updating the API endpoint URL. This change, unnoticed by IT (and fairly so), resulted in random failures in the integration. Fortunately, the endpoint information was stored in a custom setting, making it an easy fix for the latest challenge.
Essentially, these Certinia PSA integration projects with Concur highlight the dynamic nature of the technology landscape. The first client’s integration journey showcased the complexity of aligning different data models and the importance of meticulous mapping. Meanwhile, the second client’s integration revival demonstrates the necessity of adapting to evolving authentication methods and maintaining vigilance over the integration’s performance. In both cases, the success of these integration projects depended on a thorough understanding of the systems involved and the ability to adapt to unexpected changes in technology and business needs.
CLD has wide and proven experience with Certinia and integrating it with many enterprise apps. We stay current with industry best practices and adapt to unexpected situations. So we can provide concrete solutions as any integration process inevitably comes with speedbumps in the integration journey.