IRT 2.0 released you can now test SAP PI/PO for free

Ever since I started with developing SAP PI/PO testing was a big thing. There has not been any tool provided by SAP for it.

Over the last two years, we at Figaf has been working on creating a testing tool for testing SAP PI/PO. We got some customers using it, and it is improving their operations. Both when applying support packs or when checking that their new transports work as expected.

I thrilled to announce that we now support a free version of our testing tool. I guess it is also kind of scary to give away something that has cost this much to develop for free. There is some limitation on this free version but you will be able to test some of your interfaces and ensure they work. You can only test 10 ICO(Integration Objects) and save 100 test cases.

IRT is a tool that allows you to collect messages from your productive SAP PI/PO system and then process them on your development system. This is the fastest way to create a validation that your scenarios work.

See a short demo of IRT below.

It is fairly simple to install and run IRT. Install an SCA file on the SAP PI/PO system, create a user and you are ready to run it.  You can get it working in 1 hour if you got the access required.

Download IRT today and start testing your SAP PI/PO systems.

 

How to start from scratch for using SAP PI/PO

If you just purchased SAP PI/PO there is a lot of things to consider. This post will help you in the process of figuring out what is interesting.

The thing is you don’t know too much but it will have the greatest impact on what is set up. So it would be a good idea to have an architecture workshop where you will get all the insight into how you can create a solution that matches what you want to achieve. So it is an ideal time to get help.

I have created a mindmap video where I cover some of the most important things about the process. Watch the video below.

Architeture

A big thing is to get the architecture to match what you want in your organization. There a lot of things to consider like naming conventions and how to create interfaces. This should you would hopefully get a few sample interfaces that show how the things would look and how to monitor them. You should also consider how to make documents required for it both mapping documents if required and documentation.

It may be a good idea to have a secondary consultant to help you in the process that is on your side because you don’t know as much about what you can expect.

 

Testing

Testing is one of the important things in the process. If you “just” replace middle where you have the ability to get input and output document. If you use the Figaf IRT for SAP PI/PO testing then you will be able to perform the tests to verify that messages look identical. This way you can save some time for testing the application together with business experts.

If are doing a greenfield implementation of SAP S/4 ERP then you will have to change the interfaces on both sides. You will still have to setup testing so you can ensure that the process works correctly even when you have to apply support packs.

Migration

A good place to start is also my migration guide. It is much the same things, except that you have more free hands with what you want to do and the changes that you must make.

There are some of the things here that can be applied to the list of attributes to collect from each interface. You can find it in the slides. If you can get the information it may be a lot easier for a partner to do a good estimation of the project. You may add data like a number of fields in each interface to give better information about required mapping size maybe group it in to bucket like 1-20 , 20-100, 100+ fields that need to be mapped.

Cloud world

In this blog, we have not been covering any of the SAP platforms that may be interesting and save some time on integration. There is the SAP Cloud Platform Integration (CPI aka HCI) which is a solution that is quite simply to PI but cloud-based and more flexible. It contains a lot of prebuild content that will speed up and integration, so it may be used in some scenarios. You may also be able to run this type of interfaces on your new SAP PO system. For some integrations, it may be beneficial to use because of the flexibility and the availability of adapters.

Other advice:

I ask the question what people would like to have known before they started on the SAP PI/PO project a long time ago and I did get some interesting answers that may be quite in line with what you are looking for. There was a lot of ideas about making better guides for what should be implemented. You can read all suggestion here.

 

Good luck on your new platform. I promise it will be an adventure. 

7 steps to a SAP PI to PO migration

Some time ago I created a webinar about SAP PI to PO migrations. I wanted to use the content and share it because it is quite useful for everybody working on a migration. I can see that it is some of the questions that I got on my latest webinar was also about the process. I do hope that this gives a better understanding of what is happening.

As with all things, there are 7 steps to make a good SAP Migration. So if you are in the process this is the steps that I would recommend that you take. It is assumed that you will migrate to a new system because it will make it easier to migrate a single interface at the time. If things does not work you will always have a backup plan.

The 7 steps are the following:

  1. Goals
  2. Current integrations
  3. Pattern mappings
  4. Resource consumption
  5. Migration phases
  6. Development
  7. Testing

The process should be very iterative because you learn a lot in the process that you can use to migrate other interfaces. I the current integration you are going to map out all your existing interfaces together with what types of pattern they are using. This information will then be used in the migration phase and how it is going you may get input on how the next interfaces can be migrated.

You can view this in two different ways. Either you can watch my Screen recording video of it.

Or view the slides here and download them if you want to be using them.

I have also created a longer article about some of the SAPs you need to consider more in details in the blog SAP XI/PI to PO migration.  It is not the same and the two have a lot in common.

SAP XI/PI dualstack to SAP PO/PI single stack migration


Migration from a dual stack SAP PI to a single stack SAP PI/PO system is a big task.

Many organization is at the moment is in the process of migrating It is away to stay agile and be able to use the newest releases and solve the issues the business requires.

There is also some performance reasons to move to a new SAP PO system because it optimized for faster processing of messages and easier maintenance. PO will also allow your users to interact with processes across the platform.

There are two approaches to it.

1) Upgrade the dual stack system to 7.5.
2) Fresh installation of 7.5 single stack

1) Upgrade to 7.5

With 7.5 the ABAP stack is separated out to a new system id. This feature enables you to delete the ABAP stack and giving you a regular 7.5 system.

There is also the option to upgrade and keep the system as a dual stack system. I don’t think it is a good idea because you are stuck with the same infrastructure and have to get away from the dual stack at some point.

The benefits are:

  • That you don’t have to configure a lot of things again.

The challenges are:

  • It will be a big bang implementation, and everything is moved at once. You better hope it will work after you have tested
  • There is a requirement that you only have configured everything with ICO so it is a java only installation.
  • You don’t have any ccBPM or that you can easily convert the processes in the upgrade.
  • It is not a supported upgrade from SAP, but some partners can do with success.
  • Long downtime while the update takes place
  • You have to be migrating from a 7.31 or 7.4 system for this to be an option.
  • It is difficult to perform any support while the operation takes place.

2) Fresh installation of PO

It gives you a fresh start on your development so you can configure the interfaces with the newest approach.
There is migration tool on SAP PO, which will allow you to migrate dual stack flow to ICOs. The tool has some limitations and will not be able to migrate everything.

The benefits are:

  • You can migrate one interface at the time or in batches. So you will not have any downtime and can verify that the new system works.
  • You can check the new adapters work if you are moving from a Seeburger AS2 to SAPs AS2 adapter.
  • You can use the BPMN modeling tool from the beginning of the project.
  • New platform running on newer hardware and operating system.

The downsides are:

  • It takes a lot of time to move everything gradually.
  • There needs to be coordination with partners to make sure that the messages work correctly.
  • You will have two landscapes for a period that you will have to maintain.

Steps in the migration

A migration should consist of the following moving of objects.

1) Perform a proof of concept test to determine if the new system is working as expected. My experience has shown that there are non-critical messages with low volume that can be switched over to see if those work correctly, without risking the test on critical messages. If something is wrong with the process it is possible to do later.
2) Migrate the high-volume elements and continue to monitor how the migration is working. You want to be sure that your new system can handle the workload; although hopefully, it should be easier to get the same number of messages processed.
3) Move on to the critical interfaces. Now you have a proven system and you can move critical interfaces and make them run better on the new system.
4) Migrate the remaining interfaces. This is the part that can take a long time, especially if you have interfaces that run once a month or less.
5) If the business has requested any change to their existing interface, now is a good time to migrate those interfaces as well, since it will need to be done at some point anyhow. This also makes for a cleaner migration because you will have only one place where development needs to be done. If it involves three parties that will need to make changes, then it is best to migrate it all at the same time.

 

Testing

For both points, there are some challenges with the testing. You don’t want to test too much with the business. Business people often don’t care about such migration because it will not give them new ways to reach out to their customers.

There have been reported some changes in how adapters or message mappings work. They are not a big difference but if your application is using some of the features affect it can have a serious impact on your business.

You will need to ensure that messages processed will not be any different once they are processed on the new system. It can take some time but if you can perform it automatically, then you are far ahead.
There is the Integration Regression Tool from Figaf that allows you to easily test SAP PI/PO integrations. It does take some effort in getting up an run, but it will enable you to test better and with a lot more documents. It will also allow you to install patches more often and ensure your system is on the latest release.

Seeburger to B2B add-on

I wanted to have a full section on seeburger. Because it is one of the technologies that are going away. If you are using it it does have an enormous impact on your business.

If you are using Seeburger EDI converter or tools there may be quite a bit of extra work you will need to migrate.
Last time I checked Seeburger does not support on 7.5, so you will have to migrate all your Seeburger tools to SAP B2B add-on in the process. Even if Seeburger supported 7.5 it would still make sense to migrate because B2B Add-on has more features and can simplify your landscape.

The adapters are configured differently, so you will have to learn how to use the B2B Add-on adapters instead of the Seeburger version. There are some differences, so it is not possible to do an automated conversion of them. For instance is AS2 Partner number on the B2B Add-on adapter where seeburger is using the attribute from the parties selected.

For EDI handling there is also some differences.
For the EDIFACT, X12 messages the XSD structures is a little different, because some elements have been renamed and changed position. Users will, therefore, have to remap the two structures. This change can be done in different ways:

  • Create a XSL(T)/Message mapping that can convert between the seeburger and b2b addon message. That way you can continue using your existing mappings. It will cost some runtime performance to do the conversion between the formats.
  • Remap the message mapping to follow the new format. Repository helps with this. It will experience say it takes around 1 hour pr message.
  • Remap using a tool like SMT from figaf. This does the smae as you would do in the repository but just automated. For more information see https://figaf.com/tools/seeburger-migration-tool/

The inbound processing of the EDI document is also different. You can use one connection for all inbound document because you can use the Trading Partner Management (TPM) to customize each partner.

The TPM many also enable you to restart all mapping all your messages so they follow the newest conversion. It is a big task but may simplify maintenance of your documents.

See also
https://blogs.sap.com/2016/04/06/b2b-addon-compared-with-seeburger/

Happy migration

 

Tool to get BPM context data from a SAP PO BPM

One of the benefits to having a team of developers at your disposal like I do to create my SAP PI/PO test tool is, the ability to create cool applications to solve problems. So I’m really happy that I can give a free tool away to the people that have the same challenge as I ran into.

I have a client where we were using BPM to have some user actions in. Sometimes they wanted to restart the BPM process with the same data or minor changes. I could see the payload in the BPM monitor as on below.

This did not give any information about how I could download the message. I know if the process is failed I’m able to edit the payload of a message, but this is obvious, not true if the process is completed.

There was no API for getting the data from my research at the point.

So we had to create our own tool to handle the queries.

We found the table in the database that housed the Context Data and then started understanding how it worked. The context data was encoded in an XML structure with base64. Then it was just to build a simple user interface on top of it.

It should be easy to find the correct document and so we added a function to make xpath in the data to get the correct data. So we ended up with the following UI.

 

If you want to get it. You can get it for free at http://figaf.com/tools/figaf-bpm-extractor/.

The build includes sources so you can optimize it your self.