SEEBURGER BIS Review

Reliably converts our messages but any issues have to be logged with the provider


What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is EDI: commercial messages such as purchase orders from the customer. We send invoices, credit memos, and we also have a small amount of purchase orders going out to our suppliers and their responses come back in. It's B2B. I don't think we're doing anything "wow" or extraordinary. It's quite basic, traditional EDI.

We get a file from our customers such as an XML file, standard ones from GS1, and that's converted to an IDoc which goes into SAP.

How has it helped my organization?

There wasn't really an improvement moving to the SEEBURGER cloud solution in the sense that the project was to replace what we had, as is. It's pretty much the same functionality from our point of view. However, some of our customers insist that we trade with them through EDI so we have to have a solution in place.

What is most valuable?

It does what it says it does, for us. We normally don't have many problems, so it's the reliability. And the message tracking is quite good, where we can go in and see if we have an issue. It's more having a query utility, rather than reporting, per se. We can query if we have issues or if something's wrong. But it's quite basic stuff.

What needs improvement?

We haven't really found that the solution's unified code base helps with problem resolution. Because it's a code-based system, we don't have much access to the logs or what's happening. So we have to log a ticket with SEEBURGER. We only get a message that something has failed. Sometimes the message is in German and it's very generic, very high-level. That could be improved, to see what's wrong, because often, it can be data-related but we have to open a ticket with SEEBURGER for them to tell us exactly what the issue is.

The error-tracking could be improved. That's a big thing. A customer will tell us they have an issue and we have to find out why it failed, because often it is a data-related issue. Maybe a field is too long or too short. I would like us to be able to be more self-sufficient. But I understand it's a cloud-based solution, so they have to own it. It's a shared system with other customers.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've had SEEBURGER on-premise for a number of years. It's been about ten years and, in 2017, we moved to the SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) cloud. It's now solely via the cloud model.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's pretty stable. We haven't had an outage. Once you have the connection up and running, it seems to work. SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) 5 is more stable than our previous version.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We did add in some extra processes and our volume increase doesn't seem to have caused a problem.

We don't have plans to use any of their additional services, like API management or MST invoicing or IoT at the moment because we've now invested in Microsoft Azure, where logic apps give us an integration tool.

How are customer service and technical support?

Once you get someone assigned, they're reasonably good. It varies. Sometimes you get someone who seems quite junior and you have to explain everything to them, and when they do changes they don't work the first time. And other times you get someone who's really good and they fix the thing very fast.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

It was ten years ago, but we were using a solution called Sterling Commerce. We switched because of cost.

When we made the decision to go with SEEBURGER, our key selection criterion was that the company had history, that it was an established company. But they were also involved in developing our solution so we thought it was a bigger risk to go with another supplier.

How was the initial setup?

We recently switched over to the cloud-based version and that process went on for a long while. It seemed like an initial deployment because they had to rework everything. They didn't lift and shift a lot of our mapping which was done in SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS). They rewrote it from scratch because they have this new method where they convert everything to XML and then they convert it to an IDoc. There's some standard process for that, but it seemed to take an awfully long while to move from our on-premise to SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) 5 in the cloud. Elapsed time was about nine to ten months. There were a number of changes in the solution as well.

We found it complex because we did have to involve SEEBURGER's senior management at one of the stages, regarding how they wanted to transition. We did find it frustrating.

Our strategy - and the main reason we went with SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) - was that we would take "as is," and bring that across to SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) 5. That was the plan. From my understanding, they already had mapping for some of our customers, the larger, well-known ones, but it did seem to take an awfully long while to implement our solution.

And then, we did have complexity with the SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) 5 system where it wouldn't work with our VAN here in Ireland So we had to move to AS2. That could have accounted for some of the delay in implementing our project.

What about the implementation team?

We worked directly with SEEBURGER. Our main dealings were with a developer who was doing the mapping and there were some dealings with their technical people who were setting up connections. The latter was pretty straightforward. It was mainly around developing the maps that most of the time was spent. We had one person working with them. He was involved in the initial scoping with SEEBURGER and then in testing the maps and providing feedback.

What was our ROI?

It's a must-have product for us. What we do with it is quite straightforward so we still have the same number of support staff and we haven't reduced costs. It's not increasing revenue either. It's not a reason why a client would do business with us. They do business with us because of our brand, but it's a must-have for us to be able to do EDI with them.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We pay per message we use. We spend about £19,000 a year with them. If we go over our band we obviously pay extra.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We didn't evaluate other solutions at that time. SEEBURGER came recommended and we went with them. SAP put us in touch with them.

What other advice do I have?

The biggest lesson we've learned throughout our time using it is not only a lesson with SEEBURGER but with all remote vendors, because everything was done remotely. That meant we had to be very clear in communication and in logging issues and tickets with them. And it required a large amount of testing because even though there's the standard format, every customer does something different or has different requirements. We probably underestimated the testing required. Those were the two big lessons for us.

It was quite late in our project that we established that our VAN provider couldn't communicate with SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS). So my advice would be to establish that upfront. Make sure there's a really good ticketing system and any issues are well-documented because the implementation is going to be remote. Also, have a very good estimate of how many messages you process so you can buy the right package or service level from them.

We have simplified how we track errors because at times there will be maybe an issue on the customer because a product is not set up, for example. We batch our invoices, so we would need to find which files need to be resent. We've simplified that, but that's done in our ERP system. The other simplification we did, which was SEEBURGER-related, was that we update the status of our SAP documents which communicate with SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS). That was an improvement for tracking errors because now we just go to SAP to find out the status of an IDoc. We have the status that it was sent, whereas before, we would only know that it was sent to the SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) system. That was an improvement for us.

I don't think SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) has saved us money. We had an on-premise system which was at end-of-life. The service charge replaced the maintenance on that. So it's about the same, maybe a little bit more.

It's good that they're putting effort into R&D, rather than investing in brand awareness, but if we, as a potential customer, are not aware of it, we're not going to look to use it. I'm not overly aware of what SEEBURGER is doing or how they can help us. They have tried to have meetings with us sometimes but we're very busy because we're now in the middle of doing an ERP migration.

I've heard the solution can transfer other documents, like PDFs and marketing documents and that it can do other things besides the standard EDI messages we use. But currently, we have other tools that do that sort of stuff, like Microsoft Azure, etc. I don't think we have any plans to increase our footprint with SEEBURGER at the moment.

We only have two users of the solution because it just works away in the background. It's like a blackbox solution to us. The only time anyone would have reason to go into it is if we had a problem. It doesn't require much maintenance from us. And really, there's not much we can do either. We can just see there's a problem and then log a call.

I would rate the product around a seven out of ten. The product is reliable. We don't have any outages. We do get the messages. Everything is converted. And there is a query tool. It's pretty basic. I would like to see more features. And I would like to be able to do a bit more to troubleshoot, rather than having to log a ticket straight away.

They're quite pleasant people to deal with. It's just getting the resources. They did have a resource issue when we were doing our implementation and there was some restructuring happening at their end.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
1 Comment
author avatarSr Sales Executive at a tech vendor with 51-200 employees
Vendor

This case study is referencing to SEEBURGER BIS 5, which is a very old version of the BIS software.

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