SAP PI/PO B2B Add-on alternative

We will in the next period of time see a large number of users that will be performing migrations of their SAP PI/PO platfrom to 7.5. I have created a number of resources on SAP PI/PO Migration. One of the big thing in this migration is the migration from Seeburger to B2B Add-on. We do have a tool that allow you to automate the migration from Seeburger to B2B Add-on message mappings.

B2B Add-on from SAP does work and can give you a way to manage your EDI messages. There are still some gaps in the B2B Add-on solution that could be greatly improved and where i see that an alterntaive solution could be better. It is in the area of:

  • Logging and archiving of messages sent.
  • Partner management and settings usability
  • Configuration of partner connections via AS2, VANS or SFTP.

I had a webinar with Paw Pedersen from BizBrains that created a product called Link. Link is a tool build to manage your EDI solution. It is currently being used to manage B2B for Biztalk, but the same system can be used also for SAP PI/PO. They have been running it for a number of customers from small companies wanting to run EDI to big banks. You will learn about what the solution can help with. You can see the replay here.

They have a number of different configuration options and security settings that are required for banks. They also have large customers with many partners, so they know how to make the application scale.

One of the reasons I think it could be useful for you is that you can switch to their platform and then there is no need to upgrade to the PO license and can stay on the PI License. It can save you a great deal of money and speed up your migration process.

There is a number of different ways the Link solution can tie into your SAP PI/PO solution from

  • Just as an Archive of messages
  • Partner configuration
  • Partner configuration that updates your mappings
  • Using it also for SAP CPI.

If you find the product interesting write to psp@bizbrains.com, and get a trial of what the solution can do.

I will be a part of designing a good solution that will make your migration as simple as possible.

The testing solution from SAP to test PI/PO called PIT

Friday the 8 of March was the day that SAP finally released SP 14 of SAP PI/PO 7.5. The big promise was the new testing solution that allowed users to test SAP PI message process. It is called PIT.

“TL;DR the testing solution from SAP has some good features for testing. If you are serious with your testing and want full coverage then try out the Figaf IRT tool. “

As a vendor with a similar product, I have been interested in knowing what was going on with it and how it was working. I had seen some initial working of it but did not know where it would end. If it was going to be a killer product then it would remove part of my market. No customers can see the solution and judge if it will be useful for their use cases.

The key takes away is that testing is an important part of your it process where it is upgrading/patching, development or change of your interfaces. It is something that customer have expected and would like to see improved.

It is also good to know that SAP is taking the same approach as we have for fetching and running test cases.

Let’s start with the good part.

The Good part of PIT

  • It is a part of your license so you do not have to pay separately for it.
  • It removes the excuse that you cannot run any tests because you can always set it up
  • It supports fetching test data from dual-stack systems so you can test when you are performing upgrades for the systems. You will need to apply some ABAP notes to allow the recording.
  • You don’t need to install extra systems to run it the testing application.
  • It has a shared repository of data that all developers with the right role can access.
  • You can configure comparison of attachments
  • There are batch jobs running message processing and validation.
  • It is standard software following SAP delivery and support method.
  • Messages can be stopped before reaching the adapter and thereby not send it to the receiver.
  • That no changes need to be made to your landscape except you need to switch logging on for a period of time for the interfaces you want to collect data from.
  • It gives a good overview over how many messages that are affected by a change in one element
One overview i like. In just one screen you can see where the differences are structure across the testing result

I have not seen any roadmaps of the tool and how much resources and new features will be delivered but it looks like there will be more effort in it. So this is all based on the initial release.

Check out the video that I recorded that show my first look at what the tool can do.

My first experience with the tool and what is possible.

I believe that PIT will probably run more tests that my tool because the availability of the tool and customers it is simple to install the system.

What are the requirements

The test system must be installed on a 7.5 sp 14 or above. It can only run a test on the system with that SP level.

PIT  is able to collect test data from AEX system 7.31+ that have been updated within the last 2 years (It requires this note 2650265, which seems to have been backported to all service packs on 7.31+).

PIT can also collect messages from ABAP based systems here you need to apply some more support packages to allow the system to read data.

Read more on

I still see some areas where we have advantages over the SAP tool. (Okay, I may be a little biased, but if you try it out you will hopefully too.)

Why you still need to buy my tool

  • It enables you to test your modules that way you are ensuring that it is also covered as a part of the test.
  • We have a number of options for testing including using the SAP logging, but unlike SAP we du support all 7.31+ releases because we have web scraping to get messages. It is not an ideal solution but allows you to create test data on your old system without having to patch them. Because then you will have to do testing.
  • The speed of recording multiple test cases is a lot faster with the IRT tool because it can handle a lot of configuration needed. You can select multiple iflows and record them at the same time.
  • We do have a graphical overview to view differences and add ignoring of certain elements like time stamps that you do not want to cover.
  • Figaf support patterns not covered by PIT like Async-sync, Sync-async, EDISeperator and pattern is determinated automatically
  • Comparison not only in XML but also JSON, X12, EDIFACT, Text, and Binary
  • Simple data anonymization. You can select your input payload and then with a few clicks analyze everything and insert random names or number on different locations. This allows you to test with sensitive data and comply with GDPR.
  • Allow you to run multiple jobs and test cases when you want or scheduled
  • Excel report of all results so you can show how it worked
  • Connection with our DevOps solution so you can ensure that you are testing all interfaces that are affected by your change. It also allows you to document what was changed.
  • For customers the ability to get new features or functions delivered in days.
  • And so on… I could probably find a few more areas that we cover better.

Will we integrate the Figaf IRT tool with PIT

Since SAP will have a lot of test cases running in the tool we may be able to add some additional benefits of running tests with it. There may be something that can be implemented. We can leverage the way SAP is processing messages if you don’t want to get the test messages into the adapter. We could also use the ability to send a message directly to the message processing without creating an XI30 message.

We cloud probably also leverage the SAP part about downloading messages from dual-stack systems, and use them in our landscape.

IT will probably depend on when customers are adopting 7.5 sp14.

Your take away

If you have a plan to apply 7.5 sp 14 in the near future to your landscape do evaluate it. And see how it fits your plan and idea for working with the tools.

If you want to tool that can help you set up test cases faster, give you full tracking of what is being developed then try out the Figaf IRT tool? And we do support CPI also in the same approach.

You can check out the tool and see if it will suit your testing capabilities better. Check it out at Figaf.com/IRT


Casestory: Using Figaf IRT before testing SAP PI/PO upgrade

Almost a year ago I had the great pleasure of having Mark Oshifeso on the sixth episode of the Integration Podcast. Mark was one of the first users of the  Integration Regression Tool for SAP PI/PO. Mark works for a mid-size oil and gas producer based in Texas, and he and his team found out, that using Figaf IRT made it a lot easier to do upgrades of the SAP PI/PO system. I haven´t had the resources to go deeper into the interview before now, but I do think it is interesting because Mark Oshifeso has some great insights from a customer point of view.

The episode was called How to automate SAP PI/PO testing with Mark Oshifeso from Anadarko Petroleum.

Stock image

You don´t need to be a scientist

By using Figafs IRT-tool Mark Oshifeso was able to test much faster.

The tool is crazy easy to use. It is another generation from the usually SAP-tools, you list your Iflows, you mark those ones, you press record, and it is basically listening to messages in for example production. Once you have done that, you can run your test cases” Mark says and continue:

The IRT tool helped us run a test circle with almost no human interaction, and we are now in the situation that we upgraded our production based on the automated testing, and we are hoping now to move from a 2-3 years cycle to a 6-month circle.

Our ambition at Figaf is to create and keep on developing on the tool, so it is easy to use even in companies with many interfaces. Mark Oshifeso agrees that the tool gives a great overview in the process of the testing:

It is easy to use, you don´t need to be a scientist, and this is really why we were able to introduce the tooling into our landscape of 300 interfaces. Some companies have more than 20.000 interfaces,
and if you have a large number of interfaces you need to have an easy tool. The tool helped us automate the test. The tool is really intuitive.”

“With IRT tool there is a very fast learning curve, and if another person takes over, you have people quickly getting familiar with this tool. There is no science, which is also why we choose it.

There is no waiting anymore

What we want at Figaf is to give people a chance to optimize their workflow by using automated testing. And fortunately Mark Oshifeso thinks, that we have achieved this:

The tool it selves is very speedy to use. There is no waiting anymore. The tool is really great to help facilitate, save money and especially save so many hours. The figaf tool is the most holistic approach, and easy to get everything set up, I don´t see anyone else so far on the market”, he says and finishes:

I can really recommend this tool, if you want to go to automated testing, this is one of the tools
I would really look into.

Here you can find the podcast: How to automate SAP PI/PO testing with Mark Oshifeso from Anadarko Petroleum.

As you can see Mark Oshifeso had great success using the tool. Since the interview we have made many improvements to the Integration Regression Tool, so I should be even more easy to use today.

 

 

SAP PI Migration webinar

So, on January 15. 2018 I held a webinar I webinar about SAP PI Migration. In the webinar, I talked about my 7 step plan for migration of SAP PI to a single stack. The 7 steps look as following:

  • Goals
  • Current integrations
  • Pattern mappings
  • Resource consumption
  • Migration phases
  • Development
  • Testing

The plan covers an initial assessment on your landscape and an idea of where you want to move your landscape.

Here you can watch the replay on the webinar:

If you want to know more you can also take a look at the blog post 7 steps PI PO migration, which was published on September 25., 2017.

You can also take a look at the slideshow: SAP PI/PO migrations – How to save time and lower risk on your projects:


Lastly, when you are interested in migration, you might want to take a look at this:

  • Seeburger Migration Tool The Figaf Seeburger Migration Tool (SMT) allows you to migrate your existing Seeburger BIC solution to a native B2B Add-on solution.
    It helps update your message mappings to use the new schemas created with the B2B Add-on. It makes your migration process a lot
    faster and have a reduced risk

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.