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Oct 23, 2012 at 09:07 AM

EDI integrated in B1 v9, a good thing or useless ?


Hello everyone,

I was just reading this idea about integrating EDI into B1 on the Idea Place. Someone wanted it in B1, and SAP confirms that this feature will be integrated in the upcoming version 9.

This whole thing struck me as strange because of the following (just my thoughts):

  • EDI is a system that is mainly used by medium to large businesses. B1 is targeted at SMB companies.
  • EDI is an old technology, that only is used anymore because older larger companies have established data interchange systems based on this tech.
  • In practice EDI is a system, that although there are defaults and standards, is nonetheless almost always implemented with tailor made configurations.
  • Most if not all companies that use it, employ an operator to perform the actual file transfers and necessary transformations.
  • These operators usually charge pretty stiff prices for their services, at least compared to the budget of the average SMB company.
  • XML is much more flexible and easy to use and develop with, and it is no surprise that it is rapidly replacing EDI based systems, and also the first choice of newcomers to data interchange.
  • The average operator can just as easily transform an XML file to the necessary EDI form as another EDI file.
  • The average operator will charge more for sending and receiving EDI files than they will for XML files.
  • B1 has been able to create XML files for a while already, and if not, they can be created with the simplest bit of .NET code.
  • In short, I would think that only very few B1 companies will actually have use for this functionality.

Am I wrong about any of these assumptions ?

Was SAP smart to invest time, money and resources to integrate, what I would consider a "dead" technology into B1 ?

And the provocative thought: is SAP realizing that B1 has become a worthy alternative to their All-In-One product, and are they now more and more targeting the larger-medium sized company market ?

Anyone please share your thoughts about this subject, I would be very interested to hear them.