Distribute Critical Data Among Multiple SAP Systems by Using Change Pointers

  • by Rajen Iyer, Cofounder and CTO, Krypt, Inc.
  • June 19, 2009
Using change pointers allows you to select exactly what data you want integrated systems to communicate to each other. See an example of the functionality with SAP ERP Central Component and SAP BusinessObjects Global Trade Services.
Key Concept

Application Linking and Enabling (ALE) enables communication between SAP applications. It allows you to define the master data that needs to be distributed or sent from a source system to the destination system. Master data of interest is identified by the business object with which it is associated (e.g., material master or pricing). ALE uses message exchange to distribute the data from the source system to one or more target systems.

Change pointer is functionality available within your SAP system that allows you to distribute master data between SAP systems. It is a process that uses Application Linking and Enabling (ALE) technology and transactions. You need to set up configuration, functions, and programs to use the change pointer functionality to communicate between systems. It is standard with all SAP systems, but there are transactions, programs, and business objects (e.g., message types) that are only delivered with specific plug-ins. For example, if you want to enable communication with SAP BusinessObjects Global Trade Services, you need the SAP plug-in specific to it so you can get the objects associated with it.

Change pointer uses message types to capture the fields of interest from the table and uses ALE to pass the data to the target systems. Message types are placeholders, reserving the fields or data that are identified for transfer to the target system. ALE establishes system communication between the source and target systems. Change pointer saves information that is identified within the selected object with message types based on what you want it to keep track of.

Let’s take an example of SAP ERP Central Component (SAP ECC) system as the source system that feeds into an SAP BusinessObjects Global Trade Services system (the target system) for trade services check. Master data (in my example, business partner, product, pricing, and bills of material) is required from the feeder or source system as a prerequisite. You also need to perform some preliminary checks, and there might be master data that provides information prior to creation of the actual transaction (e.g., material master description or unit of measure).

Rajen Iyer

Rajen Iyer is the cofounder and CTO at Krypt, Inc. Rajen has written several in-depth, best practice articles, white papers, patents, and best-selling books on SAP Logistics and SAP Global Trade Services, including Effective SAP SD and Implementing SAP BusinessObjects Global Trade Services. He is also an invited speaker at industry conferences.

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