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Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and Application Link Enabling (ALE) are used to exchange business data between systems.

For more information on both these forms of data transfer, see Structure linkThe IDoc Interface. The IDoc interface consists of the definition of a data structure, along with processing logic for this data structure.

The data structure is the IDoc. The IDoc is the exchange format common to all the communicating systems.


By definition, EDI application scenarios are processes that involve two partners: The sender and recipient of an EDI message.

The integration service Application Link Enabling (ALE) enables the integration of business processes that have been developed across multiple SAP systems or external systems.


Implementation Considerations

SAP supports a range of ALE and EDI business processes, which are published in this documentation.

These predefined processes cover the most important application scenarios for exchanging business data. They are supplied with the standard system.


EDI business processes are usually modeled according to the following procedure:


To make the required presettings for the IDoc interface and EDI in Customizing, choose the following: In the transaction SPRO, choose: Goto ® SAP Reference IMG, followed by SAP Web Application Server ® Basis Services ® IDoc Interface/Electronic Data Interchange.


The use of ALE business processes is also facilitated by the ALE Implementation Guide and by the applications. Links to the actual steps in the Implementation Guide (IMG) are included where appropriate.

To display the ALE Implementation Guide, choose: Transaction SPRO ® Goto ® SAP Reference IMG ® SAP Web Application Server ® Application Link Enabling (ALE).

If you are connecting to external systems for which no predefined business processes have been defined, the Interface Adviser is available. The Interface Adviser provides support for designing and implementing permanent interfaces between SAP components and external components. You can access the Interface Adviser in SAPNet.


An increasing number of components are using EDI processes. The application in use is named in the title of the process. The components SD and MM always use Structure linkmessage control as a third component.



The scenarios are intended to describe a work process as simply and as realistically as possible. They are templates or starting points for the business processes you are setting up, but do not necessarily represent your individual procedure.

The EDI scenarios do not cover conversion of the IDoc standard into an EDI standard (such as EDIFACT, ODETTE, or ANSI X. 12). This conversion is performed by an external EDI subsystem. You therefore remain in the IDoc standard when testing the scenario.




Further Information

For more information on ALE and EDI, see the following documentation:




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