Microsoft Biztalk is a versatile middleware tool at a reasonable price
May 03, 2016

Microsoft Biztalk is a versatile middleware tool at a reasonable price

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
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Overall Satisfaction with Microsoft BizTalk Server

BizTalk is used as middleware to interface various engineering applications with SAP. It's used primarily by engineering and material governance users. Their applications create materials and bill of materials, and BizTalk interfaces with those applications to create and update those materials and bills of materials in SAP.
  • BizTalk is great at mapping input files to output file (or input schemas to output schemas). It uses a pretty well designed mapping screen, and you drag arrows from one input field to the output field. You can also put all sorts of conditionals on the input to output fields mappings. That lets you change the output value based on more one input value, or if the input value has a certain value, or the absence of a value, you can set the output value to something else.
  • BizTalk is good at connecting to SAP, and allows you to download SAP Idoc schemas to use in Orchestrations which allow you to send and receive SAP Idocs.
  • BizTalk is pretty good at notifying you with email. In particular, you can have your Orchestrations send email based on a status. You can send email at the beginning, middle and end if you so desire. That is particularly useful developing and debugging orchestrations.
  • BizTalk needs to be better at tracking down errors after the fact. Input files by default get deleted after processing successfully, unless you specifically specify that they don't. This can be an issue where you need to see what the input file contained, since you may have errors showing up in your target platform, in our case this was SAP.
  • BizTalk logging needs improved. It needs to be able to log the content of the messages it sends and receives. It would be good if the log had a link to the input and output files.
  • BizTalk needs to allow a simple way to preserve the input and output files for debugging purposes. A master setting on the orchestration would be helpful for this.
  • A positive impact has been the quicker turnaround time of a part request and that part showing up in SAP using Biztalk as middleware.
  • A somewhat negative impact has been the somewhat insufficient error logging/message capture settings that Biztalk provide. This has caused occasional delays when attempted to create parts for the business.
  • A somewhat negative impact has been the need to have a specialized developer who understands Biztalk to troubleshoot issues with the Biztalk and SAP interaction when creating parts, and when adding new fields to the parts.
We did look at Jitterbit dataloader from Salesforce.com. Jitterbit seems like a pretty decent solution if you are doing a lot of uploads into Salesforce.com. However, its not nearly as flexible as Microsoft Biztalk is. Biztalk allows you to create any type of custom solution you wish, whereas Jitterbit is much more limited.
BizTalk is well suited as middleware. Where you wish to translate an input file into an output file and send it to some endpoint. In our case, we used it to convert and send files to SAP. In many ways, it very flexible, and you can do almost anything you want with it. In many ways, it's a better solution than your SAP XI or PI as middleware, since it's much less expensive, and allows you do interface with non-SAP systems.