SAP EDI Training
ALE, EDI & IDOCS in SAP
What is ALE? ALE stands for Application Link Enabling. Application Link Enabling is a very common technology used in SAP to transfer master and transactional data between different Logical Systems. ALE is proprietary SAP technology.
What is EDI? EDI stands for Electronic Data Interchange. EDI is a much older term and has been used in existence much before SAP. EDI is a generic technology that has been standardized using ANSI and EDIFACT standards. EDI is a very standard Industry standard used for business communication across partners. With SAP Business One EDI Integration Solution now in place, ALE can be easily linked with EDI interface.
What is IDOC? IDOC stands for Intermediary DOCument. IDOC is an SAP proprietary format for storing business data that needs to be communicated across systems. When we mean systems, this could be between multiple systems ( Both SAP as well as non-SAP systems).
What is the Difference between EDI & ALE? ALE is used for distributing large volumes of similar data between different Logical systems. For example, distributing customer master data between two SAP systems is easily done using ALE. Similarly, when invoices from the core SAP system needs to be transferred to a different non-SAP invoice processing system, ALE is used.
EDI is also used to communicate data between different logical systems. For ex., sending out invoices, or order acknowledgements to customers is a perfect example to use EDI. Similarly, we could use EDI to receive inbound orders from customers.
There is a general confusion that ALE is a technology to be used between different SAP systems and EDI is the technology to be used between SAP and non-SAP systems. While this is true statistically, in principle the difference is much more subtle.
EDI is used to communicate with Partner Systems, while ALE is used to communicate between Logical Systems. Please do however observe that a Partner System could also be a logical system.
Customization of ALE & EDI is pretty similar technically. Let’s concentrate on ALE first.
[SALE] -> This is the transaction code used for ALE configuration
[WEDI] -> This is the transaction code used for ALE Development.
We will be doing all the customization in an ECC 6.0 IDES system. So, please get access to one before following along.
In SAP, a logical system means a client in an SAP instance. A logical system is just a label that needs to be assigned to a client in SAP. Goto [SALE]->Basic Setting->Logical Systems. Here is where you define logical systems and assign them to a client. A shortcut to view the list of clients is [SCC4]. Let’s pick client 800 (double click ) and as you can see, the name of the logical system is T90CLNT090. You can change it if you want to. Similarly, there is another client 810. Now, lets try to establish master data communication between client 800 and client 810. (ie) between the two logical systems. If a new logical system needs to be defined, it can be defined here. Each logical system needs to be assigned to a client.