Another BizTalk/PeopleSoft Integration Option

As I am wrapping up my BizTalk EDI project I also wanted to mention that this project has incorporated a nontraditional integration option between BizTalk and PeopleSoft. Microsoft provides the BizTalk Enterprise Adapter Pack which includes the PeopleSoft adapter. This provides a way to integrate between BizTalk and PeopleSoft and provides a handy way for extracting the message schemas of the different services exposed by PeopleSoft via the Compontent Interfaces. These days PeopleSoft itself has its own EDI integration platform as well as the ability to interact with the Filesystem and so there are various layers of infrastructure within PeopleSoft that you can choose to integrate over.
On my project it was possible to map PeopleSoft flat-file formats to EDI message types and exchange the files over the network and then out to the VAN. So rather than work directly with PeopleSoft, the solution was to work across a file system, receiving PeopleSoft flat files and transforming them to EDI and then on receipt of EDI messages, transforming them into PeopleSoft flat file acknowledgements. In my opinion this was a less difficult implementation option than the use of the PeopleSoft adapter because you did not need to configure a Java environment or install a PeopleSoft component interface. Next I will give some details of the PeopleSoft flat-file format to give you a little more information about how involved the mapping was in this solution.
The PeopleSoft flat file format was based on 3 groups of positional lines, the first group always has one line for each transaction (multiple in a batch), then the second group has n lines below the first group and the third group has m lines below the second group. The first group is tagged with 000A, the second group with 100A and the third with 200A. So for basic EDI messages this nesting of groups corresponded pretty well with the traditional PO1, N1, and SCH loops. Unfortunately the message format in PeopleSoft is configurable in the PeopleSoft administrator website and it is possible to add or remove columns very easily so it is possible that a message format could be changed and result in a disruption of the BizTalk application that uses the messages. 
The benefit of using the PeopleSoft adapter is that you have a sure reference for the generation of the message types. This was by far the largest challenge of the project; knowing the format details for the PeopleSoft adapter is not documented that well and is variable based on the message type configuration. But if you do not have the security option to install a custom component interface for the PeopleSoft adapter or have other difficulties getting the PeopleSoft adapter to work, this post has provided you with yet another option for integration.

PeopleSoft EDI Resources

I am currently working at a client who is integrating PeopleSoft EDI files over BizTalk to the GXS Trading Grid. From an investigation of the number of people who have integrated PeopleSoft with BizTalk, this appears to be a pretty big frontier. I wanted to post a few helpful resource links for working with PeopleSoft and EDI. Fortunately, there is some really good documentation produced by PeopleSoft about the EDI capabilities of PeopleSoft and the EDI formats that their products support. The most important resource I have found to date is the PeopleSoft Enterprise EDI 9 Peoplebook –, which includes descriptions on how to setup EDI inbound and outbounds transactions. This PDF book also gives a list of the individual X12 EDI format messages that individual products within the PeopleSoft Financials & Supply Chain suite can export. Its particularly interesting to see that different products within the suite can export different versions of EDI schemas. For example, an 850 message can be generated from the Purchasing application as well as the Sales application.
The PeopleSoft adapter as part of the Enterprise Applications adapter pack is another way to integrate between PeopleSoft and BizTalk. I will be posting more details on how integration with PeopleSoft goes and whether there are any gotchas to watch out for. Here is a tutorial for setting up the PeopleSoft adapter:

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