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Introduction Procedure

Exercises HelpMe

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Pre-requisites:AB0001 - ABAP overview, R / 3 OVERVIEW & ARCHITECTURE. Course Objectives To get an overview of ALE, IDOC & EDI. After this Course, you will be able to : Get familiarized with the jargons used in ALE, IDOC & EDI. Know the concept of ALE and Idocs. Know more about IDoc structure and its role in Data communication Learn basic Outbound Processing of IDoc. Learn basic Inbound Processing of IDoc. Have a Quick Introduction to EDI. Get your hands dirty on Demo Scenario

Q & A section

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Introduction Procedure

Exercises HelpMe

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Procedure - contents

Business Utilization


Inbound / Outbound Processing

Quick Introduction to EDI Industry Examples

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Business Utilization
A normal business structure comprises of an organization with multiple offices spread across different countries. They do business with customers and vendors spread across different locations. The organization sends business data to its different offices as well as to its customers and vendors.

Business data

Head Quarters Suppliers

Business data Business data

Sales Office

Business data


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Business Utilization -ALE

SAP Business units (Sales Unit & production Unit) can use ALE for internal data exchange. ALE is SAP Technology to send and receive business data in SAP Systems. Container for the data is Idoc. When communicating with Business Partners (customers/suppliers on non-SAP platforms) SAP business units can exchange data through EDI using idocs.

Idoc Supplier Idoc

Production (SAP)


Head Quarters (SAP)



Sales Office (SAP)

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IDoc Intermediate Document

IDoc is an Intermediate document that holds application data. A container used to exchange data It is independent of the complex SAP structure to store data. It serves as the vehicle for data transfer.

IDoc Type defines the structure and format in which the data is exchanged. It is similar to a structure in SAP IDoc data is an instance of IDoc Type
IDoc acts as a standard SAP interface to exchange business data through ALE. From an SAP system, an IDoc can be sent to and received from An SAP R/3 system An SAP R/2 system An EDI subsystem Any third-party application software

Segments . Idoc data is arranged in Rows, The rows make up segments of an idoc. Each segment consists of fields/segments. Fields can contain data.

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Message type is a name given , that tells us what type of business data is being exchanged. Eg: MATMAS (material master data) , DESADV (delivery Data) Message type is always linked to an IDoc type . Where the IDoc Type represents the data format. While the message tells us the purpose of data being sent Ex: In an organization. Employee details are needed for different purposes. Like Payroll as well as Security department may need different details about the same employee. A standard format for employee details is created (Idoc type :EMPINFO01). Different messages , 1 for payroll (EMPSAL) and 1 for security (EMPSEC) so that same employee details can be sent for different purposes.

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IDoc Type & Segments

An idoc Type defines the syntax of the data permitted segments and their arrangements mandatory/optional segments.

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IDoc Intermediate Document

IDoc is an instance of idoc type. It contains actual data .

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IDoc Components
Control Record
IDoc# Sending business system Receiving business system IDoc type and logical message Creation date and time IDoc# Sequence/Hierarchy Segment Format definition for header data item data IDoc# .Status information like success/failure

Data Record

Status Record

**IDoc # the unique identifier for each idoc.

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Data Records constitute of segments with a sequential segment number, a segment type description and field containing the actual data of the segment (to a max of 1000 bytes)

**Control and Status records are filled by the ALE services and is discussed later in the presentation

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ALE Application Link Enabling

Application link enabling is SAPs terminology, used to integrate business processes between R/3 Systems and non-R/3 systems. ALE is the technology used to transfer business data between different systems using IDocs / BAPIs. *IDoc is the container for the business data and ALE is the technology which builds the road for data transfer. For example to send Employee Data to Payroll department from HO, HO will populate Employee detail into the EMPINFO01 format(IDoc). ALE settings will determine who is the receiver, how to connect to the receiver and transmits the data.

OutboundDetermine IDoc

Receiving system Inbound IDoc

Head Quarters

Payroll Department

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SAP Business Processes

Customer RFQ Quotation Purchase Order - ORDERS Order Acknowledgement - ORDRSP Purchase Order Change - ORDCHG Shipping Notice Vendor





Invoice Accounts Payment Customer Details Bank Vendor Bank Accounts

The business process shown above depicts an SAP cycle that involves ALE model to exchange business data like

Purchase Order / Order

Order Confirmation Order change

- Message Type ORDERS

- Message Type ORDRSP - Message type ORDCHG

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Advantages of ALE
ALE business process is used for following distribution of tasks: 1. Synchronizing customizing data between systems. 2. Master data distribution 3. R/2 Connection 4. External system connection ALE Model is independent of the participating application systems. Technology supports guaranteed delivery. Ensures backward compatibility of messages exchanged between systems. E.g. Version Compatibility. Reduced Processing Cycle time Reduced Paperwork Reduced Cost Standard means of communication

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Basic components Involved in ALE Model Setup

The below are the basic configuration steps involved in exchanging the business data between two systems in distribution service layer.

Logical Systems
R/3 Clients involved in data exchange RFC Connections Distribution Model IDoc + Message Type Partner Type / Partner Profiles Ports

( TCode SALE )
( TCode SALE ) ( TCode SM59 ) ( TCode BD64 ) ( TCode WE82 ) ( TCode WE20 ) ( TCode WE21 )

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Logical Systems Partner Types

Logical System is a name given to uniquely identify, the systems invloved in data exchange. Logical Systems (LS) represent R/3 or external systems in the SAP R/3 environment for the distribution of data. A client of an SAP instance is represented by a logical system in the ALE context. This logical system will act as sender or receiver of Idocs.

Partner Type - Partner type are used to classify the business system. Ex: Logical System (LS) for other SAP clients, Customer (KU), Vendor (LI) etc..

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Ports are a logical representation of the communication channels in SAP R/3 defines four types of ports viz. tRFC (transactional Remote Function Calls), File, R/2, and Internet. tRFC ports once created are assigned to RFC destination. ALE can use all port types to distribute IDocs.

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Distribution Model
Distribution Model A model that describes the ALE message flow between logical systems. Applications and the ALE distribution service layer use the model to determine receivers and to control the data distribution. The relationships between logical systems, message types, BAPIs and filters are defined in the distribution model. Ex: The screen shot depicts customer distribution mode ALE_TRNG_Mar07.

Sender Logical System EC1CLNT800 Receiver Logical System SALES Message Type CREMAS No filter conditions defined.

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Process Codes
Process Codes are used to identify the function module or API (Application Programming Interface) to be invoked for subsequent processing (Outbound or Inbound) of the business application. Outbound process code - Outbound process code under Message Control, generated the IDoc in the IDoc Interface. The process code determines the relevant function module. (TCode WE41) Inbound process Code - names the function module or workflow which reads the IDoc data and transfers the data to the application document. (TCode WE42) Outbound process codes are stored in table TEDE1, while inbound process codes are stored in TEDE2.

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Services Involved in Decentralized Data Exchange

Applications services: This layer provides ALE with an interface (for instance: IDocs/BAPI) to facilitate data exchange to or from external R/3 systems. Ex: A program that collects Master / Transactional data to send to its partner system. Distribution services: This service is the core in ALE model. Distribution model is used to identify the receivers (partners) to which the data is to be exchanged. It acts as a sandwich layer between application and communication layer. * The onus of filtering and converting messages exchanged between SAP and non-SAP systems is on the distribution layer of ALE. Communications services: ALE supports synchronous as well asynchronous communication. Asynchronous messaging is used for transmitting or receiving application data through IDocs. The communication layer performs a remote function call using the port definition and RFC destination specified by the customer model.
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IDoc Processing
The IDoc Interface supports three types of data flow with the external system. Outbound processing - IDocs are transferred to a receiving system from the SAP System. Inbound processing - IDocs are transferred to the SAP System from a sender system. Status processing - The follow-on system confirms the processing status of outbound IDocs to the SAP System.

Outbound Processing

Inbound Processing

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Outbound Process Flow

Each layer in ALE model has its own functionality starting from application layer -> distribution layer -> communication layer in processing outbound IDocs when message types are used to transfer data asynchronously. Application Layer - An application FM creates a master IDoc in outbound processing. This layer fills the data record of IDOC. ALE service Layer The Master-IDoc will travel through ALE layer for Receiver Determination Data Selection, Segment Filtering, Data Conversion, Version Control and dispatch control. This layer fills the control record of the IDoc and generates a communication IDoc.

Communication Layer - The formatted IDoc is passed to the communication layer from where it is sent to the system (server) that was called via a tRFC (for SAP systems) or file interfaces (for example, EDI).
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IDoc - Control Record

The format of the control record is similar for all IDoc types.

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IDoc Status Records

The status record shows the information regarding the processed stages and processing stages of the IDoc. It attains appropriate statuses during its journey from one system to another and it has identical format for each IDoc type.

Distribution service layer and Communication service layer add these statuses on the status record, describing various phases of processing.
Status record in screen shot shows the status of IDoc through its journey from IDoc generation (status -42) -> IDoc Passing through ALE layer (status - 30) -> IDoc Sent out of R/3 system (Status - 03).

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Outbound ALE Process

Prerequisites for outbound interface: Distribution model (BD64) Only for ALE Between sending and receiving LS Trigger Message Control & Process code Extraction program / Change Pointers Application Port (WE21) RFC port for ALE File port for EDI Others

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Partner Profile - Outbound

Partner Profile - Defines the partner type with whom you communicate asynchronously via IDocs. This has to be maintained in the partner profiles configuration TCode WE20.

To configure the partner profiles Master data must be available in the system for partners. A port is created to assign in the outbound partner profiles. This port must be configured already.

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Inbound processing
List of process are carried on inbound IDocs in the ALE layer. Segment filtering Field conversion Transfer control Serialization Inbound Process uses: IDoc Structure Service Programs Partner Profile (derives from control record) Posting Programs Configuration Tables Process Flow Function Module Workflow (used mainly in EDI)

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Inbound Process Flow

Each layer in ALE model has its own functionality starting from application layer -> distribution layer -> communication layer in processing inbound IDocs to post the application data.

Communication Layer This layer receives the communication IDoc structure from the remote system to post the application data.
ALE service Layer This layer can perform Segment Filtering, Field Conversion, Serialization and Transfer Control on the communication IDoc structure. Application Layer The posting program or process code calls the FM to finally post the document to the database.

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Partner Profile - Inbound

The below screen shot depicts the message type, inbound process code and posting function module for vendor master data.

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Typical EDI Scenario

What does EDI mean ? EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) means exchange of business documents among companies using electronic communication systems. Trading partners - The parties who exchange EDI transmissions.

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EDI (Electronic Data Interchange)


File (Vendor Format)

EDI Subsystem
Translate IDoc to EDI Standard. Translated EDI standard to vendor format

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EDI (Electronic Data Interchange)

EDI is a standard format for exchanging business data between any 2 systems on different networks . Any two systems that use different data formats , and need to communicate with each other can use EDI. In case of EDI , EDI being a standard format .Any data format can be converted to universal EDI format. In case of SAP , Idocs from SAP can be converted to EDI format. This is useful and is widely used for communication with customers and vendors (non-SAP ) who do not understand Idoc format . EDI subsystem is needed for communication between 2 systems. This translates the data into standard EDI format that is understood by receiver / sender system. EDI uses either ANSI X12 or EDIFACT as standard formats in the data exchange.

In SAP communicating partners are not defined as logical systems for EDI. They have partner types like KU-Customer, LI-Vendor etc...which uses a file port.
To use EDI -IDoc (intermediate document) a standard data structure is generated by an application program / transaction in SAP system, it uses file port (to hold application data in file format) as a technical channel for communication and sends the data to EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) subsystem.
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Scenario: Message flow in Manufacturing Industry




The diagram depicts the business process flow between a customer and a vendor in common manufacturing industries.



To automate the process in exchanging the business data between these partners we can configure the ALE model with standard messages defined by SAP as shown like
Ex: QUOTES Quotation ORDERS Purchase Order ORDRSP Order Confirmation



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Scenario: Message flow in Automotive Industry

Manufacturer OEM


The diagram depicts the business process flow between a manufacturer and a supplier in an automotive industry. To automate the process in exchanging the business data between the manufacturer and supplier standard message type provided by SAP can be used in message exchange such as: Ex: DELINS Delivery / JIT schedule DELORD Delivery request ORDRSP Order Confirmation


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Scenario: Message flow in Retail & Consumer Products

Distribution Center PRICAT Retailer The diagram depicts the business process flow between a Retailer and a consumer in a Retail Industry. To automate the process in exchanging the business data between the manufacturer and distribution center standard messages types provided by SAP can be used in message exchange such as: Ex: PRICAT Price List / Catalogue PROACT Stock & Sales Data ORDRSP Order Confirmation

CP Manufacturer




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Introduction Procedure

Exercises HelpMe

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Demo Scenario
Demo showing distribution of master data. E.g. Synchronization of master data like customer / vendor / material between 2 SAP systems. Configuration Steps: 1. Creation of logical systems 2. Assign client to logical systems 3. Creating RFC destinations 4. Creating Distribution model & distributing the view. 5. Generating partner profiles. 6. Check partner profiles & ports generated. 7. Trigger master data and check the status of Idoc in sender and receiver systems.

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Introduction Procedure

Exercises HelpMe

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Trigger distribution of master data. E.g. Synchronization of master data like customer / vendor / material between 2 SAP systems (Tcode BD10/ BD12/ BD14) Assumptions: All ALE configurations are already in place. (ALE course 2 covers configurations in greater details)

Trigger master data and check the status of IDoc in sender and receiver systems.

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Introduction Procedure

Exercises HelpMe

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Jargons used in ALE Model

SALE (Building Road) Logical Systems ( TCode SALE) Clients (Appln.Systems) involved in data exchange ( TCode SALE) RFC Connections ( TCode SM59) Distribution Model ( TCode BD64) Message Type (TCode WE81) Partners & Partner Profiles (TCode WE20) Ports (TCode WE21) IDOC Type (TCode WE30) IDOC Segment (TCode WE30) Messages / Message Type (TCode WE81) IDOC + Message Type (TCode WE82) IDOC Monitoring (TCode WE02) ALE Monitoring (TCode BD87)

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