Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Why Does SAP have an EDI Hub Now in 2010?

SAP recently announced the availability of their new managed EDI service called SAP Information Interchange (SII), which is an EDI/B2B hub.  This was not totally unexpected as SAP was already a significant owner in Crossgate, but it does invite the question of why now in 2010?

I believe the answer lies in these numbers, "SAP currently serves the largest network of businesses in the world. Over 89,000 organizations utilize SAP technology to run their businesses.  Upwards of 70% of the world’s economy is executed by organizations running SAP Applications."

I believe the key statistic above is - 70% of the world's economy.  That is a massive number.  That means 70% of the economy is in known systems. That means systems where the source and destination of the data is a known variable - SAP.  The ability and strategy for integrating with this system is known (IDocs, tRFC, web services, NetWeaver-to-NetWeaver, etc.).

SAP, with their efforts around MDM (master data management) and GDT (global data types), also have a relatively good idea of what the data means when it comes from an SAP system and goes into an SAP system.

When so many of these EDI/B2B and data semantic variables are known, the opportunities for standardizing and reusing processes increases.

SII is an EDI/B2B hub for SAP customers.  It is designed to be a centralized B2B exchange where all SAP users can register their EDI and B2B formats and then simply connect with all other SAP and non-SAP users in a subscription model.  Under this model SII is a simple utility service run in a cloud computing environment, in the same manner as your electrical or water utility.  When you need it you simply subscribe and connect.

Author: Kevin Benedict
Principal Consultant/Founder
SAP EDI Consultant, Mobile Industry Analyst and Web 2.0 Marketing Consultant
Netcentric Strategies LLC

***Full Disclosure: I am an independent consultant that has worked with and for many of the companies mentioned.

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