SAP Business Connector Migration 1: ELSTER/ERiC Scenarios
Objective of this blog post is to give an outlook for customers running ELSTER/ERiC scenarios on SAP Business Connector and guidance for replacing it with a more contemporary platform.
What are ELSTER/ERiC scenarios?
ELSTER (“Elektronische Steuererklärung”) is a joint project of the German Federal Tax Administration and the tax administrations of the German Federal States that has made the electronic transmission of tax data possible. The data is transferred to a middleware where it gets encrypted, signed and then transferred to the financial authorities. ELSTER integration solution for SAP have been available for more than 15 years.
ERiC (ELSTER Rich Client) is a bunch of C libraries provided by the tax authorities that is used for encrypting and signing the data in the middleware. It is the current technical basis for the ELSTER scenarios.
SAP supports ELSTER on various integration platforms: SAP Integration Suite, SAP Process Orchestration and SAP Business Connector. The functional scope is the same on all supported products. The reason why SAP supports the different platforms is the intention to offer a solution to any customer in the first place.
When ELSTER started, IT landscapes often were less closely integrated and there was a certain number of customers who did not have a central integration platform in place or used a third-party product. For those customers the SAP Business Connector was a good choice, because it was free of charge, available for most common operating systems and easy to install.
Due to the increase of integration requirements over the years most customers have introduced platforms such as SAP Integration Suite or SAP Process Orchestration meanwhile. Some of them are still running ELSTER on SAP Business Connector for historical reason. Which does not make sense when a more modern integration solution is in place, as it causes unnecessary variety in their landscape. SAP Process Orchestration is still supported but the end of maintenance is announced already. Therefore, it is highly recommended to switch to SAP Integration Suite which is the future-prove solution.
Replacing SAP Business Connector in ELSTER scenarios
Strictly speaking switching ELSTER scenarios from SAP Business Connector to SAP Integration Suite is not even a “migration”, as no content or logic needs to be moved from SAP Business Connector to the new platform. It is rather a re-configuration. And as ELSTER is a widely used standard-scenario it is one that is well proven and documented.
What you need for setting up ELSTER scenarios in SAP Integration Suite is
- The ELSTER Adapter for SAP Integration Suite that comes as an integration package and that allows you to connect as a client to the ELSTER server.
- The integration package(s) for the scenario(s) you intend to use, that is
- SAP HR Integration with ELSTER ERiC for Germany, for LStA, LStB, and ELStAM or
- SAP Finance Applications Integration with ELSTER, for UStVA
You can easily identify these packages with search term “ELSTER” in the Discover – Integrations feature in SAP Integration Suite.
The integration packages contain the technical artifacts required (e.g. the ERiC libraries) as well as implementation guides that describe how to set up the scenarios in detail. As this information is publicly available already it is not subject of this blog.
SAP Integration Suite uses the same certificates in the communication with the authorities SAP Business Connector is using. When setting up the scenarios make sure you have your certificates at hand and know your passwords.
So basically, the steps that need to be performed are:
- Identify the required Integration Packages as shown above.
- Copy them to your environment.
- Read the ELSTER Adapter documentation and the Implementation Guides for your scenarios thoroughly.
- Make sure you meet all prerequisites described in there.
- Make sure you have your certificates and passwords available.
- Configure the scenarios as described in the Implementation Guides.
Each of the ELSTER scenarios provides a test report/transaction so that you can validate your setup.
Once you are done, you don’t need to worry about approaching end-of-support dates and outdated technologies anymore.
Relevant Links, Notes and Blogs