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ERP-eCommerce Integration via Oracle SOA/B2B Q and A Transcript

ERP-eCommerce Integration via Oracle SOA/B2B Q and A Transcript
IT Convergence’s recent webcast “Oracle SOA/B2B Architecture: Your Key to a Robust eCommerce Platform-ERP Integration” was an absolute success, and we would like to thank everyone who joined us.

As usual, we are happy to share the full transcript of the Q and A session with you.

Q: Is the SOA Technology used for the FAH (Financial Accounting Hub)?

The short answer is yes. As Oracle is moving towards the Fusion Applications product, most of the technology that it is based on is the Fusion Middleware technology between SOA Suite, Weblogic suite, and the BI platform for reporting. When we work with our customers and look at their technology transformation, we always recommend looking at these services and architecture products, because it not only integrates with your current application needs, but also with future ones. For example, with the Fusion Financial Accounting Hub and Fusion HCM , if you wish to integrate that with products from other service providers, SOA technology is the way to go.

FAH also uses Open Interfaces and APIs for integration just like other modules and these are exposed to the SOA/B2B applications via the Integration Repository. Therefore, they can definitely be integrated together.

Q: If we have eCommerce Gateway, do we need to invest in the SOA/B2B solution? 

The eCommerce Gateway comes now as part of the Oracle E-Business Suite and it will let you, to a limited extent, do some EDI transactions with customers or suppliers. However, if you are dealing with let’s say 50 customers, and each of them have unique data format and requirements for purchase orders, invoices, etc., it’s harder to deal with it in an eCommerce Gateway. You will need a more robust platform to gain the flexibility to cater to your customer’s needs in terms of document format, transmission mechanisms and overall end-to-end monitoring. B2B provides you all that.  eCommerce Gateway can do the job if you are dealing with few customers and few documents.

Q: If I just need to integrate with one Supplier to send them the POs, and receive invoices, what approach do you suggest? 

I would suggest that the eCommerce Gateway would work for you. In your case you would not need to invest in Oracle B2B, because you are only dealing with a single supplier and its EDI format. If the failure rates are not going to be very high, eCommerce Gateway could do the job.

Q: Is the Oracle B2B portion on the slide only used for transmission?

B2B is generally used for document exchanges with your Trading Partners. Transmission is a small part of the overall exchange process. You can transmit the data using different protocols and transfer different kinds of data; in that sense B2B is used for document exchange.

Q: Can we configure the SOA/B2B Http listener to accept different versions of XML (cXML, xCBL, GS1)?

I know that xCBL and cXML are supported. Oracle B2B also lets you configure custom document types; it does not prevent you from setting up your own version of documents. Even to the extent of using CSV formats, it lets you do it. There shouldn’t be a problem with doing it with any of the types you mentioned.

Q: Where can I read more about the BAM Dashboard?

There are online manuals available, but generally speaking, it is a very intuitive product. There’s no coding involved, there is a very low learning curve, so you should be able to pick it up very fast, especially if you are a developer. BAM is used mostly from a functional or business perspective, to have an end-to-end visibility of the process. This is more of a Business Analyst tool to build and use.

Q: Is SOA technology applicable for files that contain large volume of data that are in flat file?

Starting with SOA 11g, it is able to support large payload, even payload going into Gigabytes. It supports all types of file formats, web services, any different version of how you can consume and publish data, which is open standard, SOA supports that.

Q: Does Oracle SOA provide any solution options if the Oracle-delivered bank payment formats do not match specifications from the bank?

In case the payment formats don’t match the bank specifications, SOA can deal with it. When you receive the specifications from the bank, you will start constructing the document format to meet the specifications and upload it to the B2B server. By doing that, you would automatically get the specified format. You can customize and generate any format that your bank requires using the SOA B2B product. There are some desktop tools available that help you set up your document definitions that later can be uploaded to the server.

If you don’t want to alter the seeded Oracle E-Business templates, it won’t be a problem since Whatever Oracle EBS delivers, SOA and B2B can alter into a format that your bank wants, as SOA, which is your Middleware, does your data transformations.

Q: What value can SOA/B2B provide if we are already using ECG and have a 3rd party VAN that does our mapping and connectivity to trading partners for us?

Some customers are using the VAN, which does the translation services for you and sends one standard format which you can usually customize and adapt to. Other customers might not be on the VAN, so for conducting business, how are you going to deal with them? Then you have your suppliers and banks. If you have to integrate with all of these other Trading Partners you would need a platform to do so. In addition, not all of them could be on the same VAN. Oracle B2B lets you bring all of them together into a common platform for integration.

Q: Do you have acost benefit analysis chart for different type of implementations (eCommerce Gateway/B2B/XML Gateway)?

It depends upon the specific plan requirements, but we do have an estimation of dollars, skills and resources necessary. The best approach would be to contact us so we can define more specifics: volumes, transactions, etc. (If you want a cost-benefit analysis to determine which eCommerce-SOA solution is right for you click here  to fill out our contact us form.)

Q: Does Oracle B2B or/and BPEL have the capability of reading the data files in different formats (Excel single/multiple sheets, PDF) and write to Oracle database table?

Oracle B2B can read data in any template standard with a consistent format that can easily be used to generate a B2B document definition. Binary files can be handled in B2B as attachments, so you can transmit and receive Binary files as attachments of the main message. Most commonly used data formats and standards (PDF, Word and Excel) fall under this category. So, B2B will not be able to read the contents of a Binary file and write to a table.

You will need to have a third party tool read the binary file and return the content as text. SOA can integrate with this tool and extract the content, and it would then be able to write to the database.

Join Our Next Webcast on China Golden Tax System

If you missed our May webcast, better act fast! You are still on time to register for our next webcast on China: “Solutions for Integrating Oracle EBS with China’s Golden Tax System ” to be held on Wednesday July 10th, 2013. Click here  to register and reserve your spot today and learn how to overcome the limitations of Oracle’s out-of-the-box solution for China.

If Google, Yahoo, Bing or some other search engine brought you here after June 12th, 2013 but you’ve still got a need for more on SOA/B2B, simply click here to learn about IT Convergence’s Oracle Fusion Middleware services , or go through our past SOA Solutions  blog entries to gain further info.

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