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Is XI replacing IDocs as the messaging exchange solution for the future?

Learn Axel Angeli's take on the future for IDocs and how XI is acting as a new messaging exchange solution for SAP

We are currently running Biztalk 2002 and IWAY's Actional Control Broker to format EDI data. We're also taking flat file data from a distribution system to create and process IDocs (inbound and outbound). As we move towards ECC50, XI appears to be the messaging exchange solution for the future, even to point of replacing IDocs.

My questions are:

* We plan to use XI internally within SAP to interface with portals and BW. I am also aware there are software companies like IWAY who have developed adapters to interface with XI. In order to import/export orders to/from our EDI and distribution systems in a flat file format, do we need to develop adapters for XI, or are they already present within the XI infrastructure?

* Will we need to invest in an outside adapter for messaging connectivity with SAP, or does SAP already provide the technology for connectivity and data formatting in the XI product -- thus allowing us to drop our Biztalk middleware? I have been getting mixed messages and currently think we would have to develop and/or buy adapters to take and format data to store into SAP.

Communication between R/3 and XI takes place using IDocs. There is an IDoc adapter in XI, so this will work out of the box. What you need is EDI converters that create the proper EDI formats for ANSI X.12, EDIFACT, ODETTE etc. Currently SAP partners with Seeburger to provide for EDI adapters for XI.
(Note: XI won't replace IDocs -- it does exactly the job that your Biztalk does right now).

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