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Integration between ERP packages and other apps

I am doing some research into integration between ERP packages and other applications. I understand that SAP have developed a number of intermediate formats for this. Two questions:

1. Do they merely enable data transfers or can they be used for feeding through business rules?

2. How do they cope with changes in data structures or application modules on either side? This is a real-world issue!

1. You can use the intermediate documents (Idoc's) however you want. They leave the SAP system and become flat files at least temporarily.

2. There is no good answer to this question. The Idocs remain the same. If you want new functionality that changes the format of an Idoc you have to change the Idoc you used to export the data. The format will not change. If you need the new functionality or the other side changes a programmer will need to intervene.

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