What Does a Successful SAP IIOD Implementation Entail?

In my last post, I discussed how SAP’s planned incorporation of recent acquisitions (Crossgate and Ariba) into the SAP Business Network offers a logical advancement in B2B communications. The SAP Information Interchange OnDemand (IIOD) integration model improves on the familiar point-to-point topology by pushing customer-specific logic to inside the business network (aka the “cloud”). Doing this simplifies the integration that any one company using the SAP Business Network needs to maintain.

Chances are, however, that your organization already has a significant investment in your existing B2B communication strategy. Even if you are new to B2B communication, an SAP IIOD implementation is still an implementation project, including all the normal responsibilities, risks, and (hopefully) rewards. SAP Business Network’s value lies in its ability to simplify the on-boarding of new business partners while streamlining the maintenance of your existing B2B network, but that doesn’t mean it is easy (or free) to implement.

While most I’ve encountered understand that there is no such thing as a free lunch, I’ve found there to be much misunderstanding as to what is even on the menu. I will attempt to explain an SAP IIOD project, its deliverables, and provide roles and responsibilities for the parties involved.


SAP Information Interchange OnDemand (IIOD) in a Nut Shell

You’ve seen how we can rapidly integrate and deploy SAP IIOD across your entire business network, but you still may have questions how IIOD can streamline communication between you and your trading partners. Let our friends at SAP fill in the blanks.

SAP Tip Quick Hit: Location of saplogon.ini in Windows 7

Ugh.  I spent the last 10 minutes searching for saplogon.ini!!

I need to copy it to a Virtual Machine so I don’t have to type in all of the SAP system information.  As many of you know, SAP saves SAP Logon Pad entries in a file called saplogon.ini.  For many releases, this file resided in the C:\Windows directory.  Since Microsoft has began enforcing their improved security model, SAP has adapted and, therefore, moved the location of saplogon.ini to a directory that I can never seem to remember.  I have SAPGUI 7.20 running on Windows 7 (x64) and I find myself scouring my hard drive in search of saplogon.ini!  I have 38 versions of the file, but which is the right version? Don’t worry, I finally found the right one. But I have performed this search at least three times in the past year! I seem to never make a point to note the location of saplogon.ini.  I can’t be alone in this search.

So for future me and you, dear internet community, here is the location of saplogon.ini file in Windows 7 for SAPGUI 720:

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SAP IDOCs for Customer Number with different Sales Organizations to different External Partnerships

Have you ever implemented an outbound  EDI process from SAP for a single customer number where the customer has multiple EDI trading by Sales Organization or Division?  It can be done.  In order to accomplish this you will need to create separate output types for each Sales Organization/Division and then set up the Access Sequence/Output Determination in order to create the IDOC for each partnership.  You can then use the Message Variant and/or Message Function fields of the Partner Profile to differentiate between the two Sales Organizations/Divisions.  Finally, you would set up your EDI Mapping to look at the Partner Profile fields in order to route it to the correct partnership.  Let’s take a closer look at this process.

Let’s say that Customer 15 in your SAP system buys products from your company.  It sends inbound EDI Orders to you using three different partner IDs because they have 3 internal divisions and they want all transactions to be separate.  You want to keep all sales data for this customer under one customer number in your SAP system and just separate them by a different division.  You are required to send out EDI invoices to this customer, but they must go to the correct EDI Partner ID.  Let’s say you would normally use the Standard SAP Output Type RD00 and  Access Sequence 0003 (Sales Org, Distribution Channel, Division, Customer Number) for producing your INVOIC IDOCs. [Read more...]

SAP EDI EDPAR Table Walkthrough – How to Cross Reference External Customer Number to SAP Customer Number (Part 2)

Let’s say you are receiving EDI ANSI X12 850 Sales Orders from you customers that need to be uploaded into your SAP System using the ORDERS05 IDOC.  Most customers will have their own internal customer numbers that they send in their EDI transmissions to represent the Sold-To and Ship-To partners.

How do you convert these external customer numbers into your internal SAP customer numbers?

Some may hard code these conversions into their EDI maps.  This approach can be very high maintenance as customers can add new ship-to locations or reorganize their internal numbers which would require changes to your maps.

Others may set up a cross reference table within their EDI translation table to perform the conversion.  This works well at times, but then you are at the mercy of your EDI group to update the table with any new additions or changes to existing entries. [Read more...]

SAP EDI EDPAR Table Walkthrough – How to Cross Reference SAP Customer Number to External Customer Number (Part 1)

When creating IDOCs in SAP to send Invoices to customers via EDI you will likely have to send the customers their internal partner numbers on the EDI ANSI X12 810 Invoice Document.  In almost all cases this will not be the same as the SAP partner numbers.  So how can we set up a cross reference of SAP and external partner numbers?  Well, the answer is simple because SAP has set up a utility to handle this for you.  All you need to do is populate the EDPAR table in SAP using the VOE4 transaction.  Once this is completed the IDOC_OUTPUT_INVOIC function module will read the EDPAR table when the Invoice document output is processed and populate the LIFNR element of the E1EDKA1 or E1EDPA1 segments of the INVOIC IDOC with the external partner number.  Entries in EDPAR can be set up for multiple partners including the Sold-to, Ship-to, and Bill-To numbers so that external customer number cross-references can be passed on the IDOC if needed.

Let’s look at how this process works.  Let’s say we have created an invoice document in SAP.  In this case, the Sold-to, Ship-to, and Bill-to partners are all SAP customer number 15.  If we want to create an INVOIC02 IDOC on which the external customer numbers are populated for all three of these partners we would have to set up three EDPAR entries as displayed on the below screen shot.  The Customer field will contain the SAP partner number (Sold-to, Ship-to, Bill-to).  The Ext. Function field will contain the Partner Function (SP = Sold-to, SH = Ship-to, BP = Bill-to).  The External Partner field will contain the external partner number that the customer is expecting on the EDI file.  And the Int. no. field will contain the SAP partner number (Same as the Customer field).

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SAP Standard Sale Area Cross Reference For Inbound IDOC Processing

Cross Reference To SAP Sales Area From External Customer Number – SAP EDSDC Table

If you have ever converted an external file into a SAP Sales Document IDOC (ex: ORDERS05) you may have hard coded the E1EDK14 segments of the IDOC which specify Sales Area and order type for the SAP Sales Document.  However, these segments are not required if you populate the E1EDKA1-LIFNR segment of the IDOC with the External Customer Number and populate the EDSDC table with the Sales Area and Order Type for the customer.  Your SAP system contains a standard utility that converts the External Customer Number to the Sales Area values and Order Type value contained in this table.

Sales Area Cross Reference From IDOCs ORDERS05 and DELFOR02

This utility is available in the standard SAP package to convert External Customer Number to SAP Sales Area when processing inbound IDOCs (ex: ORDERS05, DELFOR02) from non-SAP systems.  It eliminates the need to add E1EDK14 segments to the IDOC as it populates the Sales Organization, Distribution Channel, Division, and Sales Document Type using the entries in the EDSDC table which is populated using transaction VOE2.  In order for this process to work, you must have the Customers External number populated in the E1EDKA1-LIFNR field of the IDOC where E1EDKA1-PARVW is ‘AG’ and the EDPAR Customer Conversion table set up to convert the Customer External number to the SAP Customer number.  See my blog ‘SAP EDPAR Table – External Customer Number cross reference to SAP Customer Number’ for instructions on the External Customer Conversion.  By properly doing this, the standard SAP function module will use the EDSDC table to convert the External Customer Number to the SAP Sales Area and Document Type.  The following instructions will explain how to populate the inbound IDOC and the EDSDC table.

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SAP TechEd 09 Demo Jam Liveblog Recap

This blog is a recap of the liveblog of the  SAP TechEd 09 conference Demo Jam. To read in chronological order, start from the bottom and work your way up.

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SAP TechEd 09 Keynote Address Liveblog

Liveblogging SAP TechEd 09

Are you stuck in your cube while Bob from BASIS is heading to SAP TechEd 09 in sunny Phoenix?  Are you afraid that you’ll miss out on all the sun and fun?  While we can’t send the sun, we’ll try to bring you the fun.  DataXstream will be liveblogging at SAP TechEd 09.

Head over to live.dataxstream.com on Tuesday, October 13, 2009 to get up to second updates from the show.  We will be getting our liveblog on starting at 8am PDT (that’s 11am for you right-coasters) for the general keynote session.  We’ll also be liveblogging from SAP TechEd 09 Demo Jam at 8pm PDT on Tuesday.  The Demo Jam promises to be a great time, so plan to join us online after you put the kiddies to bed!

This is our first foray into liveblogging.  Hopefully it will go off without too many technical glitches.  We hope you’ll enjoy following the events with us!