Integration Framework for SAP Business One (B1if) – Central Blog (Updated Jan. 2019)
In my role in the Global Roll-out team, it is my passion to provide you with well-prepared information. The purpose of this blog is to serve as a central point of entry through which we would like to provide you with information and various aspects of the integration framework for SAP Business One.
I would like to start with the topic about integration in general:
The meaning and importance of integration or the question, why integration is needed?
In a daily business life, the subject of integration plays an increasingly important role. Integration affects many areas of a company, such as business cooperation, integration of employees from other countries, connecting business units, and a very important aspect is the integration of different software systems and components that best enhance your company processes.
In this blog, we will specifically look at the topic of integrating software systems and components to show how they can be connected for data exchange. Especially in times of digitalization, companies are increasingly facing the challenge of how to connect different software components, such as different systems, mobile applications, integration of sensors, and other technologies to become a more automated, intelligent and connected company.
Which kind of interfaces are available in SAP Business One for data exchange?
SAP Business One is a very open and flexible ERP system that offers various possibilities of data exchange across system boundaries.
For data exchange in SAP Business One, these two interfaces, so called Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), are present in the system:
- SAP HANA Service Layer API Technology
The next generation API for the digial business allowing you to create lightweight mobile apps consuming SAP Business One data and services using open core protocols such as HTTP and ODATA.
This technology is only available for SAP Business One, version for SAP HANA.
- SAP Business One DI API
The DI API contains objects and methods that enable developers to read, write, update, and remove data objects on database level.
This DI API is available for SAP Business One on MS SQL, too.
Both APIs, the SAP HANA Service Layer and the DI API can be used for data exchange in both versions of the integration framework, version 1 and version 2.
Get more general information about SAP Business One via this link.
Data Exchange and Connection of External System in General
The integration framework for SAP Business One is a Web browser-based solution to design integration flows for exchanging data between different systems.
In contrast to the classic integration of software components through in-house development and direct use of the existing API’s, various components / services already exist in the integration framework that simplify integration tasks, such as integration services, different adapters, load balancing, security functions, message flow control and monitoring, error handling, easy adjustment when APIs change, a light-weight business process management and more.
The integration framework for SAP Business One is an integral part of SAP Business One and can be used in every customer installation whatever the installation is, on premise or in the cloud.
What is the integration framework in general and why to use it?
The integration framework provides an infrastructure that allows for the communication and interaction between software applications such as SAP Business One, other SAP solutions as well as non-SAP systems; whether they are cloud applications or on-premise applications. In contrast to developing against the classical application programming interfaces (APIs) for data exchange, development within the integration framework only takes place in dedicated spaces, called atoms. There are various types of atoms to support the integration design which will be described in another blog.
The purpose of the integration framework is to provide data mapping and transformed information to the software applications involved. This means that definitions are provided for sender- and receiver systems, the mapping of data and their values, which data is to be transformed and exchanged, the specified time intervals or prompts for when the data exchange should take place, and much more.
All definitions for the data exchange is saved in the integration framework in an object or form known as a scenario.
The integration framework provides the possibility to create custom-specific scenarios. However, standard ready-to-run scenarios are already available, which can be changed or adapted to suit the specific customer needs. Some of these standard scenarios extend the various standard processes in SAP Business One, such as Request for Quotation, connection to SAP Hybris or SAP Ariba. Other scenarios cover legal requirements like electronic invoices for different localizations, and so on.
Please consider the licensing model according to the SAP Business One licensing terms.
What is the benefit of the integration framework?
The usage of the integration framework has several advantages. I would like to explain some of them by using examples:
- Fast adaptation in case of changes
Let’s assume that a scenario is created for data exchange and synchronization with other systems. It could be possible that changes will happen, e.g. new fields are available and should be considered. These new fields could be incorporated into the mapping, or deleted if required.In addition, SAP Business One release changes generally do not have an impact on the already created integration scenarios.
- Release independent usage
A single scenario can be created to exchange and synchronize data across several SAP Business One company databases. This single scenario can be used for the different SAP Business One release versions.
Let’s assume in a new release new fields are available. The existing scenario can be updated using these new fields. The same scenario can still be used for the older release versions despite not having the fields available.Furthermore, the different release versions of SAP Business One are available for selection and usage in the integration framework.
- Reuse of scenarios
Another benefit of the integration framework is the reuse of existing components.
Let’s assume a scenario to exchange and synchronize data between two databases is created. It is not necessary to create a new scenario when adding a new database with similar integration requirements. The existing scenario can be enhanced or used as a template scenario.
Which versions / programming models are available for the integration framework?
Integration Framework Version 1
The current standard version of the integration framework for SAP Business One is version 1.x, also called programming model 1. This is the standard version for SAP Business One installations, that typically runs on-premise at the customer side.
Information about the functionality of this model and its components, such as System Landscape Directory (SLD), Inbound, Processing, Outbound, Monitoring, and so on, you will find in this Blog about the
Integration Framework Version 1 – Concept of Scenario Development
Integration Framework Version 2
A new, alternative approach for the creation of integration scenarios has been added with SAP Business One 9.3 PL04. It’s called the integration framework 2.0 for SAP Business One and provides possibilities to run integration content for multiple customers in the cloud.
The model resides on top of the integration platform, offers an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for scenario development, and uses the platform capabilities with a lower-level approach than the integration framework 1.x model. The integration framework 2.0 runs directly on the integration platform. To access to the integration framework 2.0 calling a different URL is required.
Both integration framework versions 1.x and 2.0 are independent and integration packages can run simultaneously without runtime conflicts. Both integration framework versions share the same SLD.
See a highlevel example on the Integration Framework for SAP Business One 2.0 in the
Factory Automation Demo clip.
Get more information on version 2 in this Blog
Integration Framework Version 2 – Essentials
Solutions Based on the Integration Framework for SAP Business One
Besides the above mentioned standard scenarios there are additional solutions based on the integration framework, which are enhancing the scope of SAP Business One:
Intercompany Integration Solution for SAP Business One
The integration between associated companies running SAP Business One enables businesses to manage transactions across multiple SAP Business One systems by automatic replication of master data, business transactions, journal entries among companies within the group and by providing intercompany reports as well as collaboration features.
Get more information in this Central Blog
SAP Customer Checkout can be used as a stand-alone solution for point of sales requirements in a fan shop or retail store. In combination with SAP Business One, the sales relevant information such as prices, item stock levels, currencies and more is managed in SAP Business One. That information can be sent via the integration package to the SAP Customer Checkout solution and displayed there to handle POS related processes and fulfill payment means like cash, standard EC and credit cards and vouchers. The relevant invoice data is sent to SAP Business One for further processing in the ERP system.
Get more information about the POS System
SAP Business One Integration for SAP NetWeaver
Subsidiary integration with headquarters is the solution used to integrate SAP Business One running in subsidiaries with the SAP Business Suite and SAP Business Warehouse in the headquarters, or into SAP Business One used as a central system in the headquarters.
Business Process Management
The Business Process Management (BPM) is part of the integration framework and the purpose is to design, model, and automatize business processes.
Business Process Management orchestrates different integration scenarios by adding automated tasks or human actions. For example, a process needs to wait until certain information is provided or after a defined timeframe ends.
The Business Process Management is available for both integration models, version 1.x and 2.0.
See an example on the Business Process Management usage in the Cold Storage Demo clip.
(Special thanks to Krisztian Papai, Annemarie Kiefer, and Justin McGuire for their valuable input and documents.)
openSAP course: In Action – Integration Framework for SAP Business One
SAP Help Portal: Integration Framework for SAP Business One
YouTube Playlist: SAP Business One Integration
Document: Calling B1 (SAP Business One) Object (new in Jan. 2019)
Document: Calling the Service Layer Object
Document: Configure Connectivity to SAP Business One Service Layer
Document: Company SLD Configuration
Document: DIProxy Configuration
Clip: Define Multiple Proxy Groups
Document: Event Sender Setup
Document: Log Maintenance in Integration Framework (new in Jan. 2019)
Document: Setup Secured Connectivity to SAP Business One Mobile App
Document: Timer-Based Inbound Adapter (new in Jan. 2019)
Document: Web Service Call Inbound Adapter (new in Jan. 2019)