Tag Archives: EBI

The End of Mapping is Here… Almost

A recent blog post by Steve Keifer, titled “The End of Mapping (in B2B Integration)”, asks why B2B translators can’t automatically identify and map source-to-target fields. Well, the answer is they can – at least EXTOL’s translators can. Our customers have been saving countless hours on mapping activities using EXTOL’s design-time automation technology for more than a decade!

With the Advanced Automapper feature in our EXTOL EDI Integrator for IBM i (EEI), our customers simply select a reference map, and the Advanced AutoMapper will compare it with other maps using the same files, generating a new map with the appropriate data fields. It is a very effective tool for the majority of customers, who have multiple trading partners, but trade the same or similar documents. Each new trading partner can be on-boarded much more quickly, eliminating most of the manual and repetitive mapping tasks. Continue reading

What is a Map?

What is a map?  Most would answer that it is a collection of relationships between a source document and a target document.  This implies that the relationships are at the data-item level.  But, isn’t it true that a map, at its essence, is a repository of business knowledge showing the relationship between business elements?

Let’s consider a small company in the United States supporting the Order-To-Cash process.  As the company grows, it realizes that it will greatly benefit from the efficiencies of exchanging EDI (ANSI X12) with its trading partners to process orders, send out shipment notices and submit invoices. So, it implements EDI using X12 documents.

Then, the disruptive business event happens.  The company expands their market penetration into Europe and begins trading with European partners.  But, there is an immediate challenge.  European companies typically do not trade using X12.  The European standard is EDIFACT.  The company now has to accommodate this new standard.  To further complicate matters, customers in the United Kingdom want to exchange EDI using TRADACOMS and EANCOM.  Finally, pushing the EDI team to the brink of desperation are the customers from Asia-Pacific (APAC) that do not use any EDI.  They want to exchange flat-files, XML or even more daunting…spreadsheets.

This scenario would cause great stress in any IT group.  But, let’s think about the challenge from a different perspective.  Going back to the idea that our X12 maps are repositories of business knowledge, can we leverage that knowledge to help us accommodate the business needs of the company’s growth?

The answer is yes.  If we could create relationships between our X12 document structures (schemas) and the new document formats, it is possible to “transform” the actual maps into new maps.  This is exactly what the Migration Assistant in the EXTOL Business Integrator does.  It is far easier to create relationships between two similar documents (X12 850 Purchase Order and EDIFACT ORDERS) than to create actual data maps to move data between two dissimilar data formats.  If a migration tool that could accomplish schema-to-schema migration were available, the challenge shifts to become a mechanical issue and may just require minor adjustments to bring the support for new formats online.  Reducing the complexity of the migration process also speeds time to market and greatly reduces risk because the company is re-using their proven business knowledge.

EXTOL Insider’s Tips from the Technical Support Center – March 2012

EXTOL Business Integrator (EBI)

Question: How can I combine multiple EDI Messages into the same Interchange?

Answer: EBI has this capability through the use of the Enveloping Limits found under the “Target” tab of the EDI Endpoints. The Enveloping Limits are a place for the user to define how many Messages they want to be placed inside of each Interchange. Different Limits could be defined inside of the EBI Workbench under the “Enveloping Limits” option. By default, EBI provides the “Default – No Max – Limits” Enveloping Limit that allows for any number of Messages inside of an Interchange. This particular Limit will be the one to use in this scenario.

In order to apply this setting to your outbound process, you must click the “Browse” button next to the “Enveloping Limits” option inside of the EDI Endpoint you wish to use. Select “EXTOL – Default – No Max Limits” from the list. After saving the Endpoint and running your Outbound EDI Process, all messages that are going through this same EDI Endpoint to be enveloped will now be combined into a single Interchange and passed to the Connection Business Process. What you do with it from there is up to you!

EXTOL EDI Integrator for i (EEI)

Question: How can I automatically print a document after it is unwrapped?

Answer: You can setup a Trading partner message class exit point to print a document after it has unwrapped.  Mapping, Trading partner, Message class exits. Do a create, enter a Sequence number, Trading partner, Group code, Message ID, Message class and Msg event of CU (Crt msg log – unwrap). After you hit enter, you will then be on the “Change TPMC exit point” screen. Enter the following:

Status: E    Operation: P    On return:

Return     Function      In process
value        status            status

Pass –

Fail –

Error – Action: E

Program –   Parm type: 1   Program: PRINTSED     Library: *LIBL

Note: This exit point will execute for every message (ST- SE)

Achieving Business Invisibility

Business visibility has become one of the pillars of modern business management.  After all, in order to manage something, you first need to measure it.  An entire industry has emerged around business intelligence and analytics solutions that aim to make business information more accessible and “actionable”.

Business visibility is important at many organization and decision levels, and can take multiple forms.  Most companies are awash in data that can be used for management and decision-making.  Business integration middleware like the EXTOL Business Integrator makes it easier than ever to consolidate internal and external data (from databases, files, spreadsheets, EDI transactions, web services, and other sources) and automate data extraction, transformation,  enrichment, validation, synchronization, and syndication to internal and external destinations, in forms appropriate for either human or automated consumption.  Scheduling or triggering such data integration activities based on events can help make business decisions more timely and accurate. Continue reading

EXTOL INSIDER’s Tips from the Technical Support Center – February 2012

EXTOL Business Integrator (EBI):

Question: Is there a way I can search for a specific Business Process inside of the Auditor instead of scrolling through every process listed?

Answer: Yes there is by using the Auditor’s Quick Search. The following are the steps required to use this feature inside of the Auditor:

  • Select the Quick Search icon (Binoculars with a blue arrow) at the top of the window.  A new window will pop up.
  • Select the Log of Process from the Log Types in the left pane.
  • Beneath the Log of Process tab inside of the right pane, click on the Business Process Script Id Value.
  • In the pane that appears below, select the ellipsis (…) button and choose from the Business Processes which you would like to search on and hit OK.
  • Ensure that the drop down menu to the right of the ellipsis button (…) says ‘Equal to’ and hit OK in the bottom right corner of the window.

Inside of the Auditor a new Quick Search tab will open up listing every instance of your specific process that have run (that has not been purged).

These searches could also be made more specific to suite your needs (i.e. If you only want to display a specific Business Process with a ‘Failed’ status, view Business Processes from a specific time, etc.).

EXTOL EDI Integrator for i (EEI)

Question:  Is there a way to subtract 10 days from transmitted date and enter the new value into application file field?

Answer: Yes, map the date field to the element and attach code table ADDDAYS.   In the Code translation direction enter ” I ” for inbound, in the Code table reference enter ADDDAYS and in the Qual type/data enter C / ZMDZMD10-. This will take the date coming in, subtract 10 days from it and convert it back to the same date format minus the 10 days and populate the field with the value.