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BizTalk EDI compared to other EDI Toolsets available RRS feed

  • Question

  • I recently started working for a small to medium sized manufacturing company and will be migrating their EDI platform to SAP as well as setting up a web site for customers for order/inventory inquiry.  I have about 9 years experience with EDI and about 5 years experience with B2B integrations.  I have used a number of EDI tools some that I dreaded that were more scripting based and others that were more graphical in nature that I enjoyed working with.  The one I enjoyed most was webMethods. 

    I will be working with XML, Flat Files, and EDI transaction sets.  Mostly via FTP at this time but I would like to grow the use of AS2 in the future.  Integration with SAP is important as well.  Transactions will include 850, 855, 856, 810, 832 and 997’s. 

    I’m interested in hearing from others who have worked with other ‘good’ EDI tools, not the ‘bad’ ones.  Anything is better than the last EDI tool I worked with.  I’m interested in getting your opinion regarding BizTalk from an EDI perspective.  How easy is it to work with and how flexible is it in being able to map complex scenarios. How long will it take to create a map from start to finish, including testing given that you have all the test data to work with and the data mapping defined?  

    I’m also interested in knowing more about the SAP adapter.  When you pass an order to SAP, does BizTalk get immediate response as to if the order was successfully created or not.  If it went to SAP workflow with an error, can I determine that from BizTalk as apposed to creating a sales order?  

    Another reason I’m interested in BizTalk is its ability to interface with SharePoint.  I’ve been reading much about SharePoint and its ability to work with BizTalk in interfacing with SAP to create a customer portal for order and inventory inquiry.  Have you worked with SharePoint as well in this regards?

    If you live in the Cleveland area or are willing to give me you phone number, I would be interested in talking further beyond this forum.

    Regards,

    Ray


    Ray
    Monday, December 6, 2010 8:13 PM

Answers

  • Hi Ray

    Yes. All you understood were certainly correct.

    Covast is replaced now.No longer needed.

    Creating flat file schema in BizTalk will not be a big issue (u have few options here like flat file schema wizard).BizTalk has default pipeline components to process flat files into XML .

    On High availability,yes offcourse , EDI could take advantage as well,whether it is receive/send or processing in BizTalk.

     

    HTH.

    Sullu.


    Please mark as answer if this solved the issue.Thanks
    • Marked as answer by B2B Ray J Tuesday, December 7, 2010 2:48 PM
    Tuesday, December 7, 2010 2:21 PM

All replies

  • Hi

    I have worked in 2 different EDI projects (in 2006 & in 2010) using COVAST EDI  & also using BizTalk 2010.

    I must say that BizTalk 2010 has made it very simple & lot easier for the developers /administrators.

    BizTalk has provided schemas for almost all the EDI standards .

    BizTalk 2010 has very good UI & API for Trading Partner Management (Party,Profile,Agreement).

    The configuration required for AS2 over EDI is made very simple .

    The configuration required for wrapping the message with signatures (encryption,signing) also made simpler.

    If you have your non-EDI schema well defined , then mapping to the EDI schema will become lot easier(EDI schemas has various N1 Looping records ).

    For an experienced BizTalk developer , It shouldnt take more than a day time to complete the mapping (provided mapping rules are defined).

    With EDI,u can have MDN to acknowledge & 997's could be used for functional ack.

    Not sure about SAP Adapter ,but using WCF-SAP adapter, u can achieve request-response communication between BizTalk & SAP.

    Which means, u biztalk can send a sales order to SAP & BizTalk can receive a response back from SAP as well, synchronously.

    HTH.

     

    Sullu


    Please mark as answer if this solved the issue.Thanks
    Tuesday, December 7, 2010 10:26 AM
  • Thanks for the detailed response.  I take it that COVAST EDI is no longer needed for BizTalk 2010 as after a little bit of googling it seems Covast had a nitch in previous versions of BizTalk but may not any longer due to increased functionality.  Not sure if that is accurate or not.  I take it that BizTalk can also handle XML and Flat Files as well, provided that you have or create the XML schema or Flat File schema.  Have you worked with building a flat file schema in BizTalk?  We'll be going from Flat File, mapping to the SAP IDOc and then posting the IDOC to SAP. 

    I worked with webMethods for about 7 years and BizTalk seems to be very similar to webMethods functionality.  I like the idea that it can be built with high availability in mind allowing for two servers to support the environment.  I'm not sure if the EDI processes can take advantage of the High availability as it may be difficult to have the communications run on only one server.

    Regards


    Ray
    Tuesday, December 7, 2010 1:47 PM
  • Hi Ray

    Yes. All you understood were certainly correct.

    Covast is replaced now.No longer needed.

    Creating flat file schema in BizTalk will not be a big issue (u have few options here like flat file schema wizard).BizTalk has default pipeline components to process flat files into XML .

    On High availability,yes offcourse , EDI could take advantage as well,whether it is receive/send or processing in BizTalk.

     

    HTH.

    Sullu.


    Please mark as answer if this solved the issue.Thanks
    • Marked as answer by B2B Ray J Tuesday, December 7, 2010 2:48 PM
    Tuesday, December 7, 2010 2:21 PM