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Automate Tasks in Microsoft Flow Using the CData API Server and SAP SuccessFactors ADO.NET Provider

Automate actions like sending emails to a contact list, posting to social media, or syncing CRM and ERP.

Microsoft Flow makes it easy to automate tasks that involve data from multiple systems, on premises or in the cloud. With the CData API Server and SAP SuccessFactors ADO.NET Provider (or any of 200+ other ADO.NET Providers), line-of-business users have a native way to create actions based on SAP SuccessFactors triggers in Microsoft Flow; the API Server makes it possible for SaaS applications like Microsoft Flow to integrate seamlessly with SAP SuccessFactors data through data access standards like Swagger and OData. This article shows how to use wizards in Microsoft Flow and the API Server for SAP SuccessFactors to create a trigger -- entities that match search criteria -- and send an email based on the results.

Set Up the API Server

Follow the steps below to begin producing secure and Swagger-enabled SAP SuccessFactors APIs:

Deploy

The API Server runs on your own server. On Windows, you can deploy using the stand-alone server or IIS. On a Java servlet container, drop in the API Server WAR file. See the help documentation for more information and how-tos.

The API Server is also easy to deploy on Microsoft Azure, Amazon EC2, and Heroku.

Connect to SAP SuccessFactors

After you deploy, provide authentication values and other connection properties by clicking Settings -> Connections in the API Server administration console. You can then choose the entities you want to allow the API Server access to by clicking Settings -> Resources.

You can authenticate to SAP Success Factors using Basic authentication or OAuth with SAML assertion.

Basic Authentication

You must provide values for the following properties to successfully authenticate to SAP Success Factors. Note that the provider will reuse the session opened by SAP Success Factors using cookies. Which means that your credentials will be used only on the first request to open the session. After that, cookies returned from SAP Success Factors will be used for authentication.

  • Url: set this to the URL of the server hosting Success Factors. Some of the servers are listed in the SAP support documentation (external link).
  • User: set this to the username of your account.
  • Password: set this to the password of your account.
  • CompanyId: set this to the unique identifier of your company.

OAuth Authentication

You must provide values for the following properties, which will be used to get the access token.

  • Url: set this to the URL of the server hosting Success Factors. Some of the servers are listed in the SAP support documentation (external link).
  • User: set this to the username of your account.
  • CompanyId: set this to the unique identifier of your company.
  • OAuthClientId: set this to the API Key that was generated in API Center.
  • OAuthClientSecret: the X.509 private key used to sign SAML assertion. The private key can be found in the certificate you downloaded in Registering your OAuth Client Application.
  • InitiateOAuth: set this to GETANDREFRESH.

You will also need to enable CORS and define the following sections on the Settings -> Server page. As an alternative, you can select the option to allow all domains without '*'.

  1. Access-Control-Allow-Origin: Set this to a value of '*' or specify the domains that are allowed to connect.
  2. Access-Control-Allow-Methods: Set this to a value of "GET,PUT,POST,OPTIONS".
  3. Access-Control-Allow-Headers: Set this to "x-ms-client-request-id, authorization, content-type".

Authorize API Server Users

After determining the OData services you want to produce, authorize users by clicking Settings -> Users. The API Server uses authtoken-based authentication and supports the major authentication schemes. You can authenticate as well as encrypt connections with SSL. Access can also be restricted by IP address; access is restricted to only the local machine by default.

For simplicity, we will allow the authtoken for API users to be passed in the URL. You will need to add a setting in the Application section of the settings.cfg file, located in the data directory. On Windows, this is the app_data subfolder in the application root. In the Java edition, the location of the data directory depends on your operation system:

  1. Windows: C:\ProgramData\CData
  2. Unix or Mac OS X: ~/cdata
[Application] AllowAuthtokenInURL = true

Add SAP SuccessFactors Data to a Flow

You can use the built-in HTTP + Swagger connector to use a wizard to design a SAP SuccessFactors process flow:

  1. In Microsoft Flow, click My Flows -> Create from Blank.
  2. Select the Recurrence action and select a time interval for sending emails. This article uses 1 day.
  3. Add an HTTP + Swagger action by searching for Swagger.
  4. Enter the URL to the Swagger metadata document: https://MySite:MyPort/api.rsc/@MyAuthtoken/$oas
  5. Select the "Return ExtAddressInfo" operation.
  6. Build the OData query to retrieve SAP SuccessFactors data. This article defines the following OData filter expression in the $filter box:

    city eq 'Springfield'

    See the API Server help documentation for more on filtering and examples of the supported OData.

Trigger an Action

You can now work with ExtAddressInfo entities in your process flow. Follow the steps to send an automated email:

  1. Add an SMTP - Send Email action.
  2. Enter the address and credentials for the SMTP server and name the connection. Be sure to enable encryption if supported by your server.
  3. Enter the message headers and body. You can add SAP SuccessFactors columns in these boxes.