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The future of SAP Integration PI, CPI and how to prepare your self

So yesterday, Tuesday, November 13. 2018, I just hosted a webinar about the key takeaways from SAP Teched and how to implement things based on it. It thinks it was one of my own webinars with most viewers (40). So it is an important topic. I think I missed the Gartner quote that 50% of the development budget will be about integration or something in that line.

When we were starting to see some cloud applications I did not see so many integrations. Lately, I have seen quite a number of a project involving some cloud application. I had seen that SAP would be able to provide some of the content as pre-delivered, but there are going to be so much more than you will need to develop. I just got an email from an SAP customer that they got a tsunami of cloud integration, so it is other areas as well.

Understand where you are going

On the webinar, I do cover how you can understand your own integrations and try to plan what integration you should be doing. I recommend that you take a look at the Integration Solution Advisor – Methodology. It has been updated and I have talked with quite a few architects using it and it gave them a good understanding of what they should be doing.

Roadmap

Then I cover the current state of the SAP PI roadmap, which will affect your existing integration. I do see the CPI on your SAP PI system as a good option to run some of your content. You probably want to start a migration if you are on a dual stack system, I have some resources on how you can do an SAP PI migration project. If you have Seeburger and want to migrate to B2B Add-on I created a webinar on how you can automate the migration. I also recorded a podcast on how a customer did a migration of Seeburger to B2B Add-on.

After you have been going thru your ISA-M you will have some integration patterns that you need new tools for. I’m covering SAP Cloud offerings for integration and their full iPaaS product. I think it would be wise to use the SAP tools first to see if they suit your needs and if not then you can find a better vendor for the solution. SAP will be adding new functions to the Cloud Offering to address the customers needs.

Operations

There is a need to make more integration at a faster pace. And you are probably not able to get more people on your team. So it is about making them as effective as possible. At Figaf we have created solutions to enable the development process to be a little easier from development, documentation, testing and supporting. You can check our tool Figaf IRT that can support the full lifecycle. I think it will help you improve your development of new features, so you will be more flexible and develop things faster.

Next week I’m hosting a webinar where I’ll cover how you can use the Figaf IRT tool to optimize your SAP PI and CPI development process.

 

View the presentation

You can watch the full video here.

 

 

Migrating Seeburger to SAP B2B Add-on the fast way

We have lately seen a large interest in the Seeburger to B2B Migration because SAP PI/PO customers are seeing as a way to bring down cost and optimize. There is a number of factors that allow users to achieve this

  • The new solution from SAP has a lot of advantages making it a lot more flexible and supports the newest schemas. It includes all EDIFACT, X12, Tradacom and EANCOM messages that you want to be using, so you don’t need to pay for each message.
  • It is also simpler to transport since they don’t require the use of the BIC to make the one to one mappings
  • It contains all the same adapters with some new features
  • The price of the solution is also included in your standard SAP PI price so you don’t need extra licenses to make sure you can communicate with EDI for your partners. So you can save money on the maintenance of the Seeburger solution.
  • You have the option to use the Trading Partner Management solution making it a lot easier to maintain many partners and the information from them.

When facing the migration there are some challenges that you must figure out how to solve.

  1. Schemas are different so everything needs to be remapped
  2. Test nothing happens with the output messages.
  3. Budget and planing

1) Schema changes update from Seeburger

One of the issues is the schema structure between the Seeburger and the SAP PI B2B Add-on is different on some different levels. The root element is different but there is also some different naming of groups and fields. In the Swing tool you have the option to remap some fields, but then you need to take manually account of all the fields in all mappings. And if it is not done consistently then you can end up with problems.

I always want to optimize as much manual labor as possible as that is what we are doing with our Seebuger Migration Tool. Simply select the message mapping and the new target XSD and it will convert it for you.

We currently have the free introduction package that contains 10 mappings for free. It is normally 100 USD pr mapping. So it is a really good way of getting started with the migration. That way you can prepare your self for the migration project and understand the complexity and what you otherwise need to move.

In the video below you can see how to get started, requesting licenses that you get to select 10 off for free. Then run the migration. Running the migration for a message mapping takes a few seconds.

 

2) Testing the migration

For any migration, it makes sense to test that nothing vital has changed. It is really crucial for EDI because the importance for the business, you cannot afford to be down for a period of time.

Even if the mappings are validated there is still a lot of components that you need to ensure is not messing up the flow. We recommend using the Figaf IRT SAP PI/PO test tool. You can use it for free for up to 10 Interfaces, so you can use it to validate the migration tool work. The Figaf Testing tool is build to make it really easy to fetch test messages from your production system, and then be able to use them on your development system for testing with. If there is any difference you know there could be something wrong. IRT has support comparing XML, EDIFACT, X12 and other formats.

If you purchase the migration tool for your full conversion we can find a good offer on the test tool.

 

3) Budget and planning

It is pretty difficult to get any budget for a migration project. In most cases, you will halt development for a period of time to perform the migration. It is more fun to spend the money o new development that helps the business. The biggest reasons for a Seeburger to B2B add-on from a financial perspective is that you can avoid the maintenance of the Seeburger application and use the license you already have. The support and maintenance of the new system may also be faster but it will not likely be something that will make it selling criteria.

I have created some blog post that covers more details on how to perform migrations in and make it easiest. They are focused on general migration but it will be the same concepts that are required for the other migration.

 

Migrate from Seeburger to SAP PI B2B Addon webinar

Yesterday I hosted a webinar where we covered how to migrate from Seeburger on SAP PI to B2B Addon on SAP PO.

In the webinar, I covered some of the biggest challenges with migration.

  • How to create a business case for it. This is one of the challenges that I cannot help that much with, the main reason would be to the Seeburger Licensing. I’m unclear what it would mean.
  • How to convert the mappings. The message structures have changed, so you will need to update the schemas. It is not much but you need to do it correctly to ensure nothing is changed.
  • How to get rid of the seeburger User-Defined functions. The B2B Add-on have some different approaches to variables and counters, you probably need to upgrade the mappings to ensure that it works smoothly.
  • How to ensure everything is tested correctly. You don’t want to coordinate a migration with your partners more than necessary. So you just want to move the mappings and then ensure you have tested enough in the process.

I have two products that work to improve such a migration

Seeburger Migration Tool to migrate your mappings from the old format to the new. https://figaf.com/SMT

Figaf SAP PI testing tool IRT  https://figaf.com/IRT

To learn more have a look at the webinar replay.

Or have a look at the slides from the presentation

 

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.

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

 

How the Seeburger Migration Tool Works

 

I can understand that there is a bit of confusion about how our Seeburger Migration Tool works for converting from Seebuger BIC to the B2B Add-on.

I hope this post will make things clearer.

The big problem is that Seeburger’s XML representation of the EDIFACT/XML formats is different from the ones that form the SAP B2B Add-on. The root node is different, and there is a difference in how Groups and some fields names are made. It is therefore a bit of a challenge to move from one format to the other. Below you can see what the SOT tool does.

I have tried to illustrate the process in the following diagram:
How SOT functions

SOT is a small, self-contained web application that runs locally on your own PC. Once installed, you are able to configure which PI system it should use.

The process is the following:

  1. The user selects a Message Mapping from a drop-down list and which External Definition to use for the mapping.
  2. User Presses Fetch and Update.
    1. This will download the Metadata from the mapping.
    2. Find the Seeburger XSD contained in the mapping.
    3. Compare the existing Seeburger format with the B2B Add-on format. It will then know that it needs to convert from /LIST/S_UNB/S_UNH/G_SSG25/S_LIN/D_1082 to /INVOIC96A/M_INVOIC/G_SG25/S_LIN/D_1082. It is using an algorithm for the comparison, so nothing special is required for the different message types and versions.
    4. Go through the mapping metadata and convert all occurrences of the first Xpath to the second.
    5. Alert if there is a difference in the structure that is not accounted for, or if there are other errors.
  3. The user can then select Update. This will upload the new message data to the server, and the mapping will use the new definition.
  4. You will have to open the mapping and save it to make sure it compiles the mapping files.

You will still be able to use the same original mapping; it will just work on the B2B format.

The functions that you use will still be in the mapping, since we are only changing the use of XSD.

If you want to see more, I suggest that you check out the tool page for SOT.