The SAP PI B2B add-on EDI capabilities unveiled
Why this blog?
After working with the Seeburger Generic EDI adapter for years, I was really keen on exploring the EDI capabilities of SAP’s new B2B add-on. I wrote this blog to share my thoughts and experiences with the community.
Scope and context
The content of this document is based on experience with several scenarios I created on a SAP PO 7.31 (AEX) system using both UTILMD and UTILTS message structures.
I started using the B2B add-on beginning of February 2013 and had these scenarios in mind:
- Processing incoming EDI messages
- Create EDI messages, based on data coming from an SAP ECC backend system
- Generate CONTRL messages
- Use the Number Range Object to meet message requirements
It all began with downloading and installing the PI B2B ADDON 1.0…
The journey to success
Before going into details, let me first highlight a brand new tool: the B2B Integration Cockpit.
It has been introduced as a new central console that contains relevant links to all B2B components and it is a central application that allows you to monitor and access the B2B add-on from a SAP NetWeaver Process Integration or Process Orchestration platform.
With the installation files, SAP ships content, which must be loaded into the edifact tables within the EDI content manager. There my first problem popped up…
The shipped content is not 100% compliant with the message structures we use in Belgium. Therefore I needed to modify them.
Doing this was really not easy and made me longing for the Seeburger Workbench, where editing message structures is a piece of cake.
Once the message structures were ready, I loaded them into the ESR, using the B2B integration cockpit for generating the XSD files.
After a lot of try-outs and encountering many problems, I had to upgrade to support pack 1, due to several bugs in the EDI part. You can find release notes in OSS note 1785396.
After experimenting with splitting EDI messages and trying to process them, I again had to apply 2 OSS notes (1833693 and 1848340) to solve problems with the EDISeparator adapter.
This brand new adapter is used to split, convert and process EDI messages, together with the new adapter module EdifactConverterModule.
Please be careful with the module name. It’s case sensitive and in some SAP reference materials, the Edifact part is stated in capitals.
In the beginning, I encountered a lot of problems and bugs and was not able to generate CONTRL messages.
Now, SAP fixed a lot of bugs and the B2B Integration Cockpit is very nice to use, except for editing message structures.
The EDISeparator adapter integrates smoothly and is very straight-forward.
My guess is that, in the longer term, SAP’s B2B add-on could be dreaded competition for the Seeburger Generic EDI adapter.
In the near future, I will explore the functional monitoring as stated in OSS note 1815991 and will try to improve my scenarios and the system (via for example OSS note 1832269).
Questions or remarks?
If you have a (technical) question concerning the installation, configuration or usage of the B2B add-on, feel free to send me an e-mail or post your thought or question.