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Former Member

Your Comments Please: Business Case for XI

We are a small site commencing a major project that will involve integrating SAP R/3, BW, CRM, and various non-SAP applications (web and client/server). The applications have a number of external interfaces, receiving data from or sending data to external agencies.

I'm trying to understand the costs and benefits of including XI in the solution and would welcome comments from people already using the tool. I've read a lot of the SAP documentation so understand that it is the best thing since sliced bread, but I'd also be interested to hear your general comments and also your thoughts on the following specific points:

(1) Maintenance effort: since we are a small site we don't have teams of people to work on each piece of technology, what is likely to be the time and effort of the training, initial configuration and on-going support?

(2) Data transformation capabilities: are there extensive functions to manipulate the data without writing code? If you are familiar with ETL tools such as DataStage, Informatica, etc. how does it compare?

(3) Performance with large data sets: one of our external data sources will include about two million rows of data per day, how would XI cope?

(4) What is it like to work with? Do you spend half your time searching for, and trying to decipher notes, and applying patches, or is it generally an enjoyable experience? (for someone who doesn't enjoy the above) -- and if so why is this forum so popular?

Many thanks

Rob

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  • author's profile photo Former Member
    Former Member
    Posted on Nov 19, 2004 at 09:09 AM

    Hi Robert,

    I have just starting using XI 3.0 and am finding it a good experience on the whole. In answer to your points :

    1. Maintenance effort is low. Once you have grasped the concepts and steps for development it is relatively easy with no coding (although you should really have a basic understanding of Java). I would recommend attending the SAP XI 3.0 Fundamentals course for training purposes. The initial configuration has been minimal so far as it is Basis who should perform the basic configuration steps during the installation

    2. The mapping tool is a GUI driven tool and has a lot of basic functions for transforming data. It also allows the use of any specific Java functions you may already use to transform data

    3. Performance would be driven by the volume of data and the number of integration servers you have. I would personally recommend having an Integration Server solely for use for the very high volume data set you mention.

    4. From what I have seen so far, it is an enjoyable experience. Patches should be applied regularly by your Basis team so you shouldn't need to worry too much about that side of things.You are bound to get teething difficulties with such a vast product but once you get to grips with it, it is very good indeed.

    Finally, I would definitely recommend attending the XI course I mentioned. It concretes the basic understanding you would get from the SAP documentation.

    Hope this helps.

    Kind regards

    Colin 😊

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    • Former Member

      Hey,

      Two big advantages are as follows, as well as the excellent response above.

      1) No more point to point interfaces that is done is mltiple languages depending on the two systems. This is a huge advantage, although you may find that some people are very resistant to change. By passing all data through XI, you have a centralized repository to configure and transform data in one tool. The adapter handle the underlying technical connections.

      2) You can quickly add an additional receiver to an existing scenario without affecting the sending system. The data is still sent once by the sender and is split in XI. This greatly reducing the complexity of integration testing because you are only having to test one side of things really. This is why you should try to push all interfacing through the tool. You may only have one receiver now, but you never know what the future will bring!!!

      Kind Regards,

      Chris Curtis

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