BizTalk Server is a Microsoft product that can be extremely useful for an organization in terms of connectivity and integration of different systems both within and outside the organization. Over 10,000 customers and 81% of the Fortune Global 100 use BizTalk for business integration.
Connecting different systems is a challenge for many businesses that rely heavily on a variety of different systems to perform different business functions and link to business partners. BizTalk integration allows communication between different systems and helps businesses get an insight on their performance and business processes, as well as allows the reduction of costs (and mistakes) by automating several functions.
BizTalk is now at its seventh version, the 2010, and is able to provide a variety of functions to a business: from messaging to RFID (radio frequency identification) capabilities, Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) and EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) connectivity.
BizTalk EDI capability is particularly useful when dealing in document exchange. It proves to be extremely important for example when a hospital and a claims unit need to exchange information. The EDI capability of BizTalk was greatly improved in the 2010 version with more flexibility for users to edit document parameter settings when dealing with exchanges between different systems.
Integrating BizTalk 2010 in a business can make creating an EDI solution easy.
Users need to follow a procedure that begins by adding an EDI schema (or modifying an existing one) and mapping the document to the internal or external messaging. Users will then implement the orchestration and configure the setting of the parties involved as well as place the settings of the ports that deal with the document exchange.
If a hospital and a claims-processing unit must exchange files, for instance, requirements dictated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) must be taken into consideration.
6 steps required for building out an EDI solution:
Step #1 – Create a schema
Microsoft BizTalk already has preloaded schemas. They can be accessed by running the MicrosoftEdiXSDTemplates.exe executable found in the $\Program Files\Microsoft BizTalk Server 2010\XSD_Schema\EDI directory. There is also a HIPAA folder where users can find the appropriate scheme to use as external schema (to communicate with an external party). The internal schema required for internal communication, instead, must be built.
Step #2 – Mapping
Mapping is a function that has also been improved in BizTalk 2010. In fact, users now have access to zooming, search and automatic node matching capabilities. Mapping also involves hundreds of tabs and functoids. With 2010 BizTalk, users can simply click on a line or functoid and all related mapping will be highlighted.
Step #3 – Orchestration
If the document can just be mapped from one format to a different one to be delivered, then no orchestration is required. But if a document must be processed through several steps before being ready for exchange, the orchestration is required.
Step #4 – Configure the trading partners
Trading partner configurations are straightforward with BizTalk 2010 as it offers a new interface for managing the exchange of documents. It’s done through the configuration of ports. In our hospital and the claims department for example, a user can easily configure the name of the other party.
Step #5 – Development of business profiles
It is important to know that each party can have several business profiles associated to it. For example, the claims party could have a business profile for professional claims and another for institutional claims. The hospital could have a national branch and an international branch profile. These profiles help when there are different departments within an organization that handle their own info exchanges and must be identified.
Note that each business profile will have an agreement in place that specifies how the parties are supposed to exchange info. Consequently, the hospital could send a message to the claims department using the institutional version.
Step #6 – Port configuration
The final step, port configuration allows the determination of the delivery mechanism (such as FTP, short for File Transfer Protocol) and the tools to transform the file to be exchanged in the EDI file that can be sent to the receiving party.
Of course, the hospital and claims unit are just an example we used here to illustrate the steps needed to facilitate effective document exchange. Financial institutions, manufacturing and other industries can benefit from a more streamlined method for exchanging information.
Business integration consultants at Innovative Architects possess extensive experience helping financial, health and manufacturing firms implement Biztalk, take control of their information flow, and increase profits. To discuss your individual company’s needs, contact us today for a free consultation.