Let’s us made an analogy between post office, forwarder service and SAP PI.

Imagine a world that is without post office, postman, and post vehicles. No forwarder like FedEx, UPS, DHL. All yours mails and packages have to deliver to the receiver by yourselves. You have to remember and study how to reach each receiver’s destination. You have to go different routes by different vehicles for different receiver. You have to speak their local language at foreign receiver’s country. How painful would that be?

What is the convenience that post office and forwarder service provided to us? Here listed few points:

1) You as sender connect to local post office with goods and destination address. Your local post office will connect to forwarder and connect to destination post office, by using different possible way (flight, road, sea). Finally the destination post office will connect and delivered to destination address of receiver. This is “Connectivity”.

2) You as sender need send 10 different packages to 10 different destination addresses of 10 different receivers. You only connect to local post office one time with all 10 packages. All 10 packages will be route to different connecting path and delivered based on different destination addresses. This is “Routing”.

3) Let’s say Google translate not existed, and post office provides additional optional service to translate sender’s mail in local language to receiver’s foreign language. Example John sending English mail, get translated to Japanese mail and received by Yumiko-san. Despite the language different, the meaning and interpretation still the same. Yumiko-san will be able to understand the Japanese mail as it was English mail. This is “Transformation”.

 

Analogy Comparison

Real World SAP PI
Post Office & Forwarder Services Integration of Business Process via SAP PI
You, Me, John, Yumiko-san Sender, Receiver, Business System
Mails, Goods, Packages PI Messages
Flight, Road, Sea Connectivity : PI Adapter of type File, JDBC, HTTP, IDOC, RFC, EDIFACT, RosettaNet
From John's home to post office using car on road Connectivity : PI Sender Communication Channel
John carry English mail, from John's home to post office using car on road Connectivity : PI Sender Agreement
Different package send to different receiver Routing : PI Receiver Determination
English mail from John should send to Yumiko-san Routing : PI Receiver Determination
English mail from John to Yumiko-san should translated to Japanese language Routing : PI Interface Determination
Language translation service Transformation : PI Message Mapping
From post office to Yumiko-san's home by walking Connectivity : PI Receiver Communication Channel
Yumiko-san received translated Japanese mail, from post office to Yumiko-san's home by walking Connectivity : PI Receiver Agreement

Now let’s look at SAP PI. SAP PI have similar 3 key capabilities:
1) Connectivity : Ability to connect to various different technical system/software using different protocols. The concept of adapter is like our normal adapter plug, using different adapter plug for different country adapter standard.

connectivity_adapter

2) Routing : Ability to route to different receiver or route to different transformation based on sender and message content. Below is Tokyo subway map, the centralized green circle loop that can change route to different lines. Million of people change route daily to live their life purpose!

tokyo-subway-map

3) Transformation : Ability to transform source message(s) to desired target message(s), either partial or aggregated content. The concept is to transform from one format to another format, to serve the purpose required by receiver.

english_to_japanese

Will look into more detail for each capabilities in future posts. Cheers!

Key Capabilities of SAP PI
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