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SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite is the #2 ranked solution in our list of top Business-to-Business Middleware tools. It is most often compared to IBM B2B Integrator: SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite vs IBM B2B Integrator

What is SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite?

With SEEBURGER’s experienced team behind you, and SEEBURGER BIS as the foundation of your hybrid integration strategy, you’re prepared for whatever comes your way – even as your business gains complexity and integration requirements increase.

SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) is a unified, agile, secure and scalable platform that solves integration challenges across your business and ecosystem, so that you can make valuable connections between clouds, applications and people.

Our platform provides integration across all scenarios, including B2B/EDI, MFT, API and ERP on-premises, in the cloud and hybrid, in addition to expert support that is unmatched in the industry for your simplest to your most complex integrations.

Your APIs are likely multiplying quickly, and if you’re looking for a solution to manage, secure and scale them properly, you get all of the benefits and less of the hassle with our API Management toolkit.

Bring us your toughest B2B/EDI challenges. We help with difficult onboarding and partner connections, and will save you time and effort to complete complex projects. We make B2B easy with pre-packaged, re-usable content and automation capability, so your team can make the connection, and move on to the next mission.

Simplify your workload with our iPaaS solution. SEEBURGER iPaaS enables your team to save man-hours connecting data, applications and systems, by letting us handle all the time-consuming platform operations. We cover maintenance, updates, security, scalability and more.

Did you know that without managed file transfer (MFT), your company is at greater risk for a data breach? It’s as simple, and as dangerous, as that. The security and control you get with our centralized, easy-to-use solution ensures less risk for the company, and more sleep at night for you.

Our customers say it best! Check out our reviews you’ll see that SEEBURGER’s rock-solid, built-from-the-ground-up platform, is combined with an expert team, and stellar service. We power your connections, future-proof your vision and give you a competitive edge.

SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite is also known as SEEBURGER BIS.

SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite Buyer's Guide

Download the SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: September 2021

SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite Customers

Altis, Autoliv, Cebi, Cofresco, MoneyGram International, Samsonite Europe, VSP Global, BMW Group, OSRAM, Magna, Lavazza

SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite pricing:
  • "I have had exposure to other big vendors over the years and would have to say the pricing is pretty typical. They all fall into a common pricing range, at least the bigger vendors: Axway, IBM Sterling, Globalscape, and SEEBURGER. They all fall into that mid-tier pricing. So, SEEBURGER is commensurate with other large integration vendors operating in this space. Maybe it is lower than some of the really high-end ones. You can get some of these high-end transactional messaging integration systems, like TIBCO, that tend to be kind of on a higher echelon of pricing. I would say SEEBURGER is more mid-level."
  • "The solution provides the flexibility to start small and pay as you grow. SEEBURGER has a lot of offerings..."
  • "They have options for every budget. You can book Cloud Services, starting with a few hundred Euros per year or month, depending on what you want, or you can even buy huge landscapes and operate them on your own. The pricing is fair compared to others."
  • "The only thing that would be an improvement would be if they had a cost model whereby you could just pay for what you're actually using. Even if it were a minimum monthly charge that they offered, if you're not utilizing all of that then they should consider a lower tier. That way, they could attract more business."
  • "We pay for a maximum number of setups, then we pay per customer map, and we pay maintenance on each one of those. BIS provides the flexibility to pay as you grow. The price of each customer map is €200 and the hourly rate for maintenance is fairly reasonable."
  • "We pay maintenance of between $75,000 and $100,000 per year, per box."
  • "On an annual basis, our support costs, which are based on the licensing, are about £120,000."
  • "There is a standard agreement for the messaging every month. But if we make a change request — a change to a mapping or something like that — then there is a fixed price per hour."

SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite Reviews

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ITCS user
Software Engineer at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 10Leaderboard
You can string as many different activities together in your workflows as you want

Pros and Cons

  • "With SEEBURGER BIS, you can string as many different activities together in your workflows as you want. You can put them in any order, like a piece of code. One leads into the next, which leads into the next. It is just very flexible from that vantage point. This makes it so easy to use and reduces the number of moving parts that you need to have. It is just a lot less frustrating not having to conform to how some other vendor software works."
  • "We occasionally get ZIP files. Sometimes the ZIP file has one file inside of it, and sometimes the ZIP file might have 30 files inside of it. We have been working with SEEBURGER to enhance their PKUNZIP process to be able to unzip multiple files in a single workflow instead of just one file. This is still something that is in process."

What is our primary use case?

SEEBURGER, along with four or five other big vendors, focuses in the integration space. When you talk about data integration, there are two major aspects of it. There is the transactional messaging side and the batch file-based side. My team is focused on the batch file-based side of things. We have a completely different team (with a different set of software) who does the transactional messaging aspects. We are using it for all secure file transfer use cases throughout the organization with multiple different data patterns: moving data within the company, moving data to and from outside of the company, and ad hoc file transfer. Any type of file-based secure connectivity goes through our team using this product.

Currently, it is on-prem. We have a cloud initiative, which has been rolling for a couple of years now, like most companies. It is on our radar for later this year. We are going to spin up another project to consider either moving to our own AWS or SEEBURGER's AWS and their iPaaS environment.

How has it helped my organization?

No matter how much you automate in the file transfer space, there is always more to be uncovered in a big company. Users, especially in the business area, will start doing their own thing and interacting with some external webpage to upload or download files manually every day. They kind of incorporate it into their daily tasks. When we discovered that, we were like, "Why are you wasting all that time? What if you are out?" That has been one part of starting to consume different website APIs, to push and pull files to and from various vendor websites that was historically done by users manually. So, there is an automation aspect to it. Beyond that, application-to-application connectivity, which historically went over protocols like SFTP or batch files, is conforming over to APIs now because everybody wants to be faster and use APIs. Therefore, a lot of these application-to-application data flows have changed over to APIs over the last year. For example, I used to get one API request a year in past years. This year, I get one or two new ones every week or two. APIs are just taking over.

It is good anytime that you can take a user who is doing something manually every day out of the picture and automate a process, e.g., going to a vendor's webpage to pull or push a file every day. Although there was a one-time cost to do the development work, you reap the ongoing benefits because now you don't need to have that user spending time doing it every day. You don't have to worry about if that user is out or gone for a week on vacation. Things can just happen automatically. There is definitely a benefit.

Because we are in the financial services industry, PCI is huge. You have to comply with PCI regulations. That has primarily to do with credit card numbers, but really any account number or sensitive data. What is nice about SEEBURGER BIS is it has made it easy to patch our yearly PCI audits with this thing called PCI realm. You can configure any of your data flows into that PCI realm that you need to. It automatically complies with regulations, offloading the data as soon as the data flows through the system. It doesn't store any copies. It offloads the data encrypted in an encrypted state to our PCI zone to be stored for X days during our backup period. That is all out-of-the-box functionality, so you don't have to waste your time trying to figure out how to comply with PCI compliance rules because it is already built into the software. You just have to configure it in that PCI realm.

We are getting these use cases now that APIs are coming into the picture where, historically in our company, the data integration has been broken into the two major areas. Transactional messaging is on one side and batch file-based transfers are on the other side. Now, you are starting to see those two areas kind of merged together. Because usually when you get a batch file over API, they want us to break that batch file up into individual transactions, iterate over all the records in that batch file, and post them as transactions into our messaging system. 

There is now this interesting sort of convergence between the messaging space and the batch file-based space which is now sort of coming together because of APIs. So, this is another area that I am seeing a lot of requests for lately, "Hey, I want you to still get a batch file like you have always done in the past, but it is going to come over API now instead of over something like SFTP. In the API, I want you to iterate over every record in that batch file and post those transactions individually." This is another big growth area right now. Therefore, I am working on solutions to be able to support that. This would be an area of growth because we will be using these batch files to post into more internal systems and do it more flexibly as individual transactions, instead of as a big batch file. This is an area that we are looking to grow in the next year.

You could make the argument for time to market if there was a user doing something manually every day, then we came along with SEEBURGER BIS and automated that. So, instead of waiting around for the user to load the file once a day at whatever time they do it, we had the system automatically pull the file, possibly early morning, and pass it through immediately into the back-end processing system. There are some cases like that, where historically it took eight hours, because a user had to get engaged, do something manually, maybe convert something manually to transform the data themselves, and then they would have to manually load it. Here, we come along and run a workflow in two seconds that streams it right through. Therefore, you could make some arguments that we sped up time to market by automating previously manual processing. However, as far as just general B2B file transfer or application-to-application, I don't know that you could claim that the software itself has sped up time to market, other than just coding workflows a bit more efficiently to take out seconds or minutes to make them run faster.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are the solution's stability as well as its ease of use and flexibility to configure a workflow with as many (or as few) steps as you need. It offers us more value to our internal customers because we can do so much more than if we had a software that was super rigid. If you are looking for a software that emulates writing a piece of code where you can have as many steps as you want in whatever order you want to, this is the one. SEEBURGER BIS is so much better than other solutions because of this.

Their entire software suite is 100 percent homegrown. Every component that they have built was built to be integrated with another component. It is all one product. Due to acquisition and the integration space being a big thing, other vendors tend to go, "Buy this, buy that, and then buy that." They try to bolt them all together and make three different vendors' products work in concert as one. My experience has been that it usually leads to confusion as well as bugginess and problems. SEEBURGER BIS is all one product, all homegrown, and everything is fully integrated.

API adoption is on the rise everywhere. Even in the file-based space, APIs are being adopted a lot, especially at our company. One thing I like about SEEBURGER and their transformation engine is it is completely integrated with JSON file formats, which are typically used in API calls. I just did an API over the last couple of weeks with a complex data structure and SEEBURGER BIS Mapper handled that with no problems. As we look to the future, APIs are really taking hold. It is nice that SEEBURGER BIS can totally handle whatever comes our way that is API related. 

What needs improvement?

We occasionally get ZIP files. Sometimes the ZIP file has one file inside of it, and sometimes the ZIP file might have 30 files inside of it. We have been working with SEEBURGER to enhance their PKUNZIP process to be able to unzip multiple files in a single workflow instead of just one file. This is still something that is in process. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been at my current organization for five years and using SEEBURGER BIS during that time. Our company's relationship started with SEEBURGER in 2013. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In five years, we have never had an unplanned outage that was caused by the software. Every company has outages, but in our case, they have always been caused by our own infrastructure, e.g., a router went down, a cable went bad, or a switch had a problem. It was not caused by the software layer; it was always caused by the infrastructure and things that are under our control, not the vendor's. There is a peace of mind as a developer with not having to worry about having to be up in the middle of the night with software not working like it is supposed to. The stability of this software is by far so much better than other software solutions that I have used in the past.

I have come from a place where other software was up and down all the time. I would have to be up at night, burning sleep, and trying to support outages. To be in a place where we have no unplanned outages is great, you get a lot more sleep, which is good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is mostly our team who has access to the front-ends to develop configure processings. We don't make it too widely available across the company. We have a few pockets of people who can log into the portal to view their data on their own kind of self-service. Other than that, we mostly do behind the scenes data integration, moving data between applications and external partners. That is all done by our team. It is not done widely throughout the company, it is just one small data integration team. We serve every application in the company and are connected with a couple of 1,000 external partners as well. The touch points are many, but the people who have access to the GUI to actually do the work are few.

The scalability is pretty good. We haven't had to do a ton of scaling exercises over the years. Our volumes have stayed fairly static and grown at a certain rate every year. We just reassess them with our professional services person once a year and make sure that we are watching our metrics, memory, and storage really closely. We have that in our daily monitoring. As we see it going up, we just go, "Okay, we need to add some more RAM memory or more Java heap space." 

I would say the process of scaling is pretty easy as long as you stay on top of it and monitor your throughput really closely to know the numbers, knowing when something is growing. If you put in a new integration that brings in a whole lot more traffic, obviously you have to reassess and make sure that you are scaled to handle it. I have got a project like that coming up soon which will take us from thousands of files a day up to millions of transactions a day. This is something where we are looking closely at scalability and figuring out what is needed to be able to support that new volume, and not have an impact on the existing.

The fact that the solution is available in the cloud, on-premises, and as a hybrid deployment makes it flexible and scalable for us. Every company has cloud initiatives going on right now. To know that there are options out there gives our company more things to think through and price out. We have done a lot of pricing exercises around those three different options, so we have a pretty good sense now of the cost differential between on-premise versus cloud versus vendor iPaaS cloud. We know where things are going to fall cost-wise, so now it is just a matter of, where do you want to put your money? For example, do you want to have more staff to maintain the system yourself with all your infrastructure people, or do you want to outsource that, pay that money and some more to the vendor to maintain it for you? So, it kind of just depends on where your priorities are as an organization. I think it is a good thing that there are multiple options. It has given us a chance to slice and dice the numbers.

How are customer service and technical support?

Since the very beginning of the relationship between my organization and SEEBURGER, they have been solid for everything from their support team to account managers and sales to professional services. We have always had a contract with professional services. We have used their developer personnel throughout the year on various efforts, and it has always been a solid relationship. It is one of the better ones that I have worked with. They are just an email away when we need to reach out to them. 

In the case of opening support cases, it is pretty simple. You usually hear back within a day. Even though they are based in Germany, they turn around your request pretty quickly.

You occasionally get a use case that comes along, and it is something new that hasn't been done before. SEEBURGER BIS out-of-the-box might do part of it, but not all of it. In those cases, we submit an enhancement request to SEEBURGER who gets it to their engineering team. Usually, those are turned around fairly readily. 

The enhancement onboarding process at SEEBURGER is pretty good compared to other vendors that I have worked with. We have a monthly meeting with our SEEBURGER contact in professional services. We keep a list of things, and say, "Here are the things that we need help with and our enhancement requests." Then, that person reaches out to engineering and gets an ETA, so we have a date of when that thing will be delivered. It is not like you give it over to SEEBURGER and forget about it, then it never happens. There is ongoing communication to the right people who know the software, what is needed, and when it will be delivered. Even when it comes to things that we don't have but need, like the multi-file PKUNZIP, usually it is a fairly good experience.

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

Before we started with SEEBURGER BIS, we had as many as 13 different integration software spread out across our company. Over the early years that I was here at my organization, we were able to consolidate that down to just SEEBURGER BIS. We reduced a lot of extra costs from using other software products and having a lot of extra things to support. Our support costs went down for infrastructure, etc. Thus, it is nice to have everything fully integrated into one product that can do everything.

The number one reason why I would not want to go back and use another software after having experienced SEEBURGER BIS is its flexibility when it comes to file transfer workflow. You can configure your file transfer workflow completely customized. You can put the steps in any order that you want. Your file transfer flow might have three or 20 steps. You simply bring in those steps as activities in a workflow in any order that you want. For example:

  • If you want to receive a file and immediately transform it
  • Call a database, get some data, and bring it into your workflow.
  • Do a transformation or adjust the line feed. 
  • Write it out to multiple destination systems. 

You can put all those workflow steps in any order that you want. That makes it just like a piece of code which has been abstracted into a front end webpage. If you think about how your code would flow, that is exactly how you can make the software flow. 

Other vendors that I have encountered in other jobs have been a lot more rigid than that. Other vendor software tends to have one canned way that you can run data through the system. You receive a file, maybe call a map and transform the file, and then you write the file out. At the very end of the process, you might be able to call a post-process, where you want to run a shell script. However, usually other software is pretty rigid in nature, such that you have to conform your data flow to how that vendor software works, because it only works one way. Because of that rigidity of other vendors' software, in order to accomplish a full end-to-end workflow, sometimes you have to spin up three different workflows and tie them all together to get all the different steps done that you want. That is not at all the case with SEEBURGER BIS. 

With SEEBURGER BIS, you can string as many different activities together in your workflows as you want. You can put them in any order, like a piece of code. One leads into the next, which leads into the next. It is just very flexible from that vantage point. This makes it so easy to use and reduces the number of moving parts that you need to have. It is just a lot less frustrating not having to conform to how some other vendor software works.

How was the initial setup?

We had a variety of software products, so it wasn't a straightforward effort to consolidate all those different use cases and patterns down to their software, because all the existing ones were hard to discover. Sometimes, you experienced that the people who originally set them up were gone. There was a lot of work trying to understand the existing use cases in order to migrate them into SEEBURGER BIS. 

With any large first time installation of a completely different vendor's product, I think there is going to be some pain. That has just been my experience. You are trying to understand how to fit their product into your custom network. It isn't a one size fits all, so you need to tweak and tune it to get it to fit right in your network. The types of machines and network that you use are usually custom by company. I wasn't around for the original installation, but from what I heard, there were some of those sort of pain points during the initial install. From people that I talked to who were here at the time, it sounded like a lot of it just had to do with getting the platforms that were in use (at that time) to be configured and work with SEEBURGER BIS properly. So, I don't know if it was necessarily that the install of their software was bad or hard to work with. I think it had as much to do with the specific systems that were being used here at that time, so tuning was needed to get it to work right for memory, storage, etc. 

While there was some pain, I think it was equal parts their software compared to our systems and infrastructure and trying to pair the two together. At the same time, we were consolidating 12 or 13 different vendor products down into one. A lot of time went into understanding all those different use cases and how to properly configure them the first time and SEEBURGER BIS. So, there was just a lot of learning and discovery that went along with the initial install.

What about the implementation team?

The relationship started in late 2012 to early 2013. It didn't actually get put into production for usage until 2014, so there was a year to a year and a half of planning that went on between the staff at SEEBURGER and the staff at my organization, from the infrastructure and the integration teams, to try to lay out how it needed to be installed as well as what kind of machines were needed and how much memory. That was a long, drawn-out process. I wasn't here at the time, but I imagine it wasn't the highest priority here at the time. So, there was a good period of time when they were just in that discovery mode trying to understand what they wanted to buy, for example:

  • What would we need to install it? 
  • What team was going to support it? 
  • Were we going to outsource it to a managed services provider? 
  • Were we going to hire a staff to do it internally? 

All that type of stuff had to be worked out in advance, so there was a lot of planning that went into it.

They went with an outsource managed services provider at the start because they needed staff quickly to be able to start on the migration work to get all the integrations understood as well as out of the old software and into the new one. There is always this learning when you go full-on managed services, as you don't get high levels of expertise. You mostly get people who can turn stuff around quickly without thinking about it too much. Then, towards the end is when they hired a couple others and me to try to get some more senior staff in to steer the ship and standardize everything that had been configured so far as well as come up with design patterns. So, towards the tail end is when they hired some senior developers to try to get things under control and standardize use cases.

During the migration, because it was a managed services provider, there were a whole lot of resources involved during the big part of the migration, like maybe 20 people just cranking out and moving stuff from the old systems to the new system. As things got closer to being migrated, we got down to a team of four or five people. There was a bit of managed services assistance offshore to kind of help out off-hours, and that has not really changed a whole lot. There are four or five individuals who handle the bulk of operational aspects and support as well as the engineering aspects, so it is a pretty small team.

What was our ROI?

The two areas of ROI that stand out:

  1. User manual task automation because you're reducing manual time.
  2. Two or three pockets of different data integration patterns that were outsourced to vendors over the years for various reasons, so there has been a return on investment there to be able to in-house those integrations from a vendor and save on that vendor cost because you have to pay a vendor to do that integration work. Why not use your own software and do it in-house if you can? 

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

I have had exposure to other big vendors over the years and would have to say the pricing is pretty typical. They all fall into a common pricing range, at least the bigger vendors: Axway, IBM Sterling, Globalscape, and SEEBURGER. They all fall into that mid-tier pricing. So, SEEBURGER is commensurate with other large integration vendors operating in this space. Maybe it is lower than some of the really high-end ones. You can get some of these high-end transactional messaging integration systems, like TIBCO, that tend to be kind of on a higher echelon of pricing. I would say SEEBURGER is more mid-level.

Every vendor has professional services to offer. That is where they make a lot of their money, in PSO time. Different companies feel different ways about using professional services hours. Luckily, for us, our company has always been pretty open to it. We use that professional services time sparingly throughout the year: for critical key projects, things that we've never done before, or if we're doing a major system upgrade or a version upgrade. Those things have to be done right. Although you could probably figure it out on your own with enough time, you can usually do it faster with a professional services person in the mix. That would be the only other cost: If you choose to use some of their professional services labor as a bucket of time throughout the year, like we do.

As you spin up new components or use cases, occasionally more licensing is needed to turn on more features of the software suite, but that is common across all the vendors.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have been in this field for 25 years. I have worked with a lot of the larger integration vendors over the years. Integration vendor software tends to be fairly similar in functionality. You can pretty readily move from one product to another product and not lose too many steps, as far as understanding and utilization, i.e., user experience. However, there are some things that set SEEBURGER BIS apart from the others. I don't want to go to another vendor software after using SEEBURGER BIS, because it has these "things" that make it that much better and easier to work with. It just makes my life as a developer so much easier.

A lot of the integration vendors have a software development kit that usually looks like an Eclipse plugin for Eclipse IDE. This allows you to code extensions to the base functionality of the software suite. If the software does X, Y, and Z, but you want to add A, B and C to the end of it, then you can build your own extension to the base code and plug it in. Most of the vendors have that these days. Comparing SEEBURGER to some of the other providers, SEEBURGER BIS requires the least amount of professional services know-how. For example, that PSO level of knowledge which is sometimes needed, where you get into your own development effort to write an extension, and halfway and you are like, "What the heck?" Then, you need to have the expense to get professional services involved to help you out. However, with SEEBURGER BIS, I have been able to code many of my own extensions using their software development kit on my own with very little insight from their professional services. It is very usable and user-friendly compared to some of the other solutions.

On some vendor products in order to find logging, especially if they have bolted together multiple vendor's products, you have to go explore here, there, and everywhere. With SEEBURGER BIS, it is all together. It is not hard to find the logging. It is all pretty readable too. You don't have to go through a lot of jargon to find what you are looking for. Probably the best thing about the logging is that you can't necessarily get logging down to the packet capture level in other vendors' products. So, if you're doing an SFTP or an HTTP connection and you want to capture the packets, I have needed to install things like Wireshark or Fiddler with other vendors' software to catch the packets going across the wire to see what is going on. In SEEBURGER BIS, you can turn on the packet capturing ability and just go look at it within the product itself. You don't have to waste time installing Wireshark and getting it all connected to your network because you can get that level of logging right out of the application. 

I have been through migrations a lot over the years. This one was interesting to read about because they were crazy about it. The last vendor had some problems, so they went and actually started with a list of 50 integration vendors. You go, "Holy cow, are there really that many integration vendors even out there?" There are, but they range in size. So they started with this gigantic list that they probably pulled from some vendor, like Gartner. Then, they boil down 50 to 30 then to 15. Ultimately, after looking at all the use cases and what they wanted to get out of them, they boiled 15 down to three, then they had the last three come in-house and give their dog and pony shows along with their overviews of their software. Just based on the use cases and flexibility, SEEBURGER was chosen over all those different vendors. There is some pretty good amount of documentation that was written up on that process. It was pretty thorough.

Among the bigger vendors out there in the marketplace, IBM Sterling, Globalscape, Axway, and Cleo were some of the big vendors in the mix. 

Deciding to go with SEEBURGER BIS was a mixture of the GUI and simplicity for the team to understand. A lot of the team here, other than just a couple of us, are operational-level folks. They don't necessarily have broad computer science foundational skills. Therefore, the GUI interface had to be easy enough to use but these types of folks could work in it without too much trouble. The big things were: 

  1. Ease of use in understanding the screens and how to tie together a workflow without too much developer-level knowledge. 
  2. The capability to handle use cases. All these different 12 or 13 vendors were doing different data flow patterns, so SEEBURGER BIS had to be able to support all of them.
  3. Stability, because the previous vendor had problems with it. That had been a pain point which they were trying to solve at the time. 

So, it was really a mixture of those three things.

What other advice do I have?

Going into the next calendar year, we are going to migrate to some formulation of cloud, which is kind of the way everybody's going, and then we will also be migrating to version 6.7.

I work a lot in our integration for error/fault handling and reporting system metrics, making sure all the components are running, raising incidents automatically if there is a failure, and raising incidents if there is a problem with the software. Because I sort of operate in that monitoring space, I was hoping that monitoring would be easier and better in the new version. They have a new component that they have added, which has changed names a few times. This will allow us to do different kinds of file transfer, failure, and error types in any software. There are lots of different points of failure that you catch when you do monitoring, e.g., conductivity failure or transformation error. This tool will take the error logging for every kind of error and standardizes it into one stream of data into one software component. In the past, I had to read error log messages in a map and pull out very specific error reasons and populate them into the auto-generated incidents. 

In version 6.7, all that code that I wrote to map out those error codes, which are all different for each type of error, is all standardized and common. It is already in the software components. You don't have to do extra code to parse out and find those different kinds of errors and metadata related to each type of error. This is because it has already been standardized and put into the GUI. The GUI can also integrate with ServiceNow and other ITSM systems to auto-generate incidents. Therefore, a lot of that behind the scenes monitoring code that I have written in the past can go away because now it has all been sort of consolidated down and standardized by SEEBURGER. I am really hoping to be able to get the funding to purchase this extra component going into version 6.7, so we can move away from our sort of homegrown code into out-of-the-box monitoring.

We are always looking for new use cases in the broader integration space to try to bring in and automate what our team is responsible for. There are some other parts of the company that have historically outsourced different pieces of integration. So, we are in the process of in-housing one of those now, and then there is another one coming down the road that is sort of more into the SWIFT area. Banking has this concept of SWIFT, which is an integration to the banking network. SEEBURGER BIS has some out-of-the-box functionality to offer there, which is another space where we are looking to expand services.

We use it mostly for behind the scenes data flows. Other than a few cases, we don't necessarily serve up screens with metadata about the data that is flowing through the system to facilitate use cases for data insights. This is an area where this new version 6.7 also has more functionality. It can present more data for what is flowing through the system, bringing the data and important parts of that data up into the GUI so you could reach out to a business team, and say, "Hey, I know you probably use some other product for your day-to-day operations. But, what if we could serve up this data that you care about on a screen? Would you no longer need that other software that you are currently using? Because then you can just log into SEEBURGER BIS and see the data there."

The solution’s ability to future-proof our business is positive because I have a pretty good sense for what is out there in our organization that we are currently not involved in as well as what we probably could be or should be involved in based on what our responsibilities are to the organization. As I look at other areas of things that we are currently not doing, then I look at SEEBURGER BIS, and say, "Can it do that stuff?" The answer has always been, "Yes." You might have to buy some more licensing, but every vendor software is that way. They don't work for free. So, I would say that the feature functionality is very broad, such that any other area of data integration that we have come across in the company that we are not supporting, which is being supported manually or by some other team using some other software, we then look at SEEBURGER BIS and we have always found the functionality there, even if we had to buy an additional license or something to turn on a new feature.

Biggest lesson learnt:I have learned a ton about APIs that I didn't previously know. The software helped facilitate that knowledge because the functionality was there and I had decided to figure out how to use it. However, in figuring out how to use it, I learned a lot about how APIs work. That has been probably my biggest personal area of learning in the last one to two years: Being immersed in APIs and the file transfer space, learning all the different SOAP versus REST, and calling service operations and methods. All of that, I learned by using SEEBURGER BIS to set up API integrations of various flavors.

I would rate this solution as 10 out of 10.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
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.
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Jay Thakkar
Senior Integration Analyst at Ingram Micro Inc.
Real User
Top 10
Provides us with a unified platform without needing to add third-party solutions

Pros and Cons

  • "The entire framework is something that is very easy to use, easy to set up, and extremely straightforward. Once you develop a process and once you get it deployed within the process engine, with the latest 6.52 features, the processing engine is actually smart enough to make a decision as to which process engine has less load, and it can exchange messages with that process engine."
  • "In the BIS, if I want to have some API functionalities, that is a separate tool. The integration between the API tool and the BIS is not that straightforward. If they were to combine these tools and give us one suite, that would be helpful. Today I have a lot of partners onboard. I have something like 50,000 partners doing API transactions. If I want to introduce a new tool for API management, I have to do a lot of workarounds. But if it were integrated well within the existing suite, it could be straightforward for me."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) for application-to-application integration and for integration with external partners. We have the entire SEEBURGER suite deployed in our external VLANs, and it's primarily responsible for communicating with internal systems as well as external partners. Once we communicate with them, we exchange EDI messages, XML messages, and APIs, and then we convert them to the appropriate ERP format. We have SAP as our ERP as well as IMPulse, and other internal applications. We can merge the data into appropriate format, and then we forward it to the corresponding applications, downstream.

It's completely on-prem. Back in the day, when we started the alliance with SEEBURGER, we bought their entire product and everything was installed on-prem. All our solutions are custom-built by us, as part of our business process needs.

How has it helped my organization?

SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS), as an application within Ingram Micro, contributes around 30 percent of the revenue. We have different XML channels—we have Apogee and we have TIBCO as a middleware for XML and APIs. But we use SEEBURGER for XML as well as EDI. SEEBURGER is the only EDI middleware that we have in Ingram Micro for retail and logistics, and EDI comprises $16 or $17 billion in revenue per year.

The solution provides a unified platform without needing to add third-party solutions. It makes things easy and convenient because the development that we do is within the product itself. The entire suite for development is limited and focused only within SEEBURGER products. We know that if any upgrades are causing a bug, they are not because of any third-party software that we installed. That helps us greatly in terms of operations because we are in control. We know that there's only a single point of contact if something breaks down. We don't have to run around or read through blogs. We know that SEEBURGER is the only company that can answer the question. And the response from them, while it's not that fast, is okay. They're doing a good job.

What is most valuable?

The SEEBURGER Mapping Designer is very comfortable and easy to use. We have also worked with the SEEBURGER Process Designer, and that is also a very easy Eclipse plug-in-based utility that you can use to define your own BPELs. Those are the two most useful functionalities.

We also use the Adapter Engine and the process engine. The Adapter Engine is primarily hosting all the services responsible for communication. We have different adapters for different protocols—HTTP, AS2, SFTP, FTPS, JMS, and all the native adapters that we have.

The process engine is responsible for data orchestration. It is a central repository where your process is deployed and all your BPELs are deployed. As you receive files, a process is initiated in the process engine which executes your business workflow, and it uses adapter engines whilst executing and completing the process.

The entire framework is something that is very easy to use, easy to set up, and extremely straightforward. Once you develop a process and once you get it deployed within the process engine, with the latest 6.52 features, the processing engine is actually smart enough to make a decision as to which process engine has less load, and it can exchange messages with that process engine.

Another functionality is called Move-To-Production. It actually validates everything before it completes the movement from QA to the production system. From a compliance perspective, that helps us during audits. We know at any given point of time what was changed, when it was changed, who changed it and the ticket reference number associated with that change.

SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) also has a feature called Message Tracking. Message Tracking is used by the support team and by the business to know the status of transactions of different partners. If you have an order number from the partner, you can actually key it into the Message Tracking portal and it will give you the details corresponding to that order number.

And then there is a module within Message Tracking, an extended message search, that gives you the flexibility of searching for wildcard characters. For instance, if you have an order that has been shipped to James Snow, using the extended message search you can find all the orders, regardless of which partner is involved, that have been shipped to James Snow. It does help us in that way.

All of these features are extremely beneficial.

What needs improvement?

There are a lot of things that can be improved. One would be integration of the different products into one. Today they have their API management tool, they have the SEEBURGER legacy front end, and the entire BIS. In the BIS, if I want to have some API functionalities, that is a separate tool. The integration between the API tool and the BIS is not that straightforward. If they were to combine these tools and give us one suite, that would be helpful. Today I have a lot of partners onboard. I have something like 50,000 partners doing API transactions. If I want to introduce a new tool for API management, I have to do a lot of workarounds. But if it were integrated well within the existing suite, it could be straightforward for me. I would not have to reach out to all those partners and request that they change something. I could deal with that internally, within the suite itself. 

There are a few capabilities that have come out a little late. TIBCO introduced its container edition way back. It's been on the market for three or four. SEEBURGER is only in the initial phase of 6.7. If SEEBURGER could come up with and adopt changes really quickly, that would be better.

Their ability to future proof our business really depends on what sort of development they do and how fast they adopt changes. They are a little slow in releasing newer features. We are hopeful that SEEBURGER will change their internal processes to adopt changes a little quicker.

For how long have I used the solution?

The company has been using SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) for 11 years and I've been using it for around nine years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's quite robust. We haven't seen any memory leaks or performance impact with the product. We assess the system and continuously monitor the JVM and the application for performance. When we think that there's a need, we scale out. But if the load remains constant, there is no question about the performance or the robustness of the tool.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is a little challenging because of the way we have set up the solution. Back in the day, it did not support Active-Active, which would give you the flexibility of managing your transactions across process engines. If you receive a file and it's executing within a process engine, it's very isolated to that process engine. If the process engine is loaded up with thousands or maybe millions of records, it will wait until it all gets flushed out and then start processing the next batch. But with Active-Active, there is the flexibility where it can share the workload across different process engines, and this now comes natively within SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS). 

Initially, we did not have that, but have with recent in-house development we have that functionality. We adjusted our architecture in a way that we leveraged load balancing and internal configuration for Active-Active, but it's not SEEBURGER Active-Active. Now, it can actually balance the load across different parallel instances. But having said that, every instance is still a singleton instance. It cannot share the load with any other process engine.

But moving to version 6.7, I think scaling will be a lot easier and it will be on-the-fly. But scalability, for us, has been kind of challenging because we did not move to Active-Active.

Our business is contacting resellers and other partners and we do onboard a lot of partners on a weekly basis. The business is something that is growing.

As for the number of users, it is different for the different components. There are 200 business users who go into Message Tracking and check the status of their transactions, download or review a file, or review a process and whether it ended properly or not. We also have 40 developers working on different parts of development in SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS). There are another 10 users from our support team.

How are customer service and technical support?

SEEBURGER support is doing a decent job. We are not using any of their standard solutions. All the solutions we have at Ingram Micro are customized. So they usually take a little longer to respond back because they do not know what sort of development happens within Ingram Micro. If there is any bug in a specific process, they definitely don't know about that process because it has been developed and customized for Ingram. So they usually take a little bit longer in responding, but the majority of the time they do a fair job there.

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

Before SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) we were running more than two applications to support the entire external partner communication. The partner connectivity gateway had something named Cyclone which was used for communicating with external partners. And then we used Gentran, an IBM mainframe product, to take care of conversion. When we put in the SEEBURGER solution, we replaced Cyclone and Gentran with just the one product. Recently, we have migrated a lot of other legacy softwares to SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) as well.

One of the reasons we switched was that development was easy in SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS). Second, the old system was going out-of-support and we needed some solid middleware that could take care of all the existing workflows for us. We found the SEEBURGER solution to be very easy and straightforward, so we went ahead with it. The third reason we went with it was support. We did not have premium support with the old application that we were using. Familiarity with the tool also played a part. We started our SEEBURGER journey in 2008, so our team was very familiar with the tool. Everyone had good hands-on with the development and we were pretty comfortable in that area. So we proceeded with SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS). When you have a familiar tool and you know that the tool is good in terms of performance, that it is robust and reliable, you definitely have that choice in your mind when you propose a solution.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was complex because we were migrating from multiple solutions.

In general, the setup doesn't take that much time. It's straightforward. They introduced Deployment Manager a couple of years ago and Move-To-Production was introduced about four or five years ago. But we have had this tool from 2008 and back then there were challenges in deployment. It was time-consuming and more manual. But now, with recent changes, deployment is straightforward.

The amount of time it would take nowadays would depend on what type of deployment we are talking about. There are different components. One of  them is map deployment and that doesn't take more than a couple of minutes. The deployment for process is less than a minute, but it depends if you are changing the entire form of SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS). In that case it might take like more than a minute. But if it is a lightweight project that doesn't touch the built-in forms, it should take less than a minute.

But to deploy the entire suite would take time because you have to have a database before you go ahead with the deployment. You need to allocate the schema for the specific instance and then you need to start working. If you have the database ready, and you have the network setup between the database and the firewall in place, I don't think it would take more than 30 minutes to deploy a new SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) instance.

It could be handled by a person. But usually, when you talk about an enterprise, there are different teams for handling the database and the application. If the database and the operating system and the network and firewalls are ready, I can go in as a SEEBURGER expert and SME, and install their product. As part of the installation process, it will ask if it is for a process engine or for Adapter Engine and what the database is. It will ask what port it's listening on, as well as what the service name is, etc.

Because everything is on-prem, we take care of the deployment. SEEBURGER is not involved in anything. They just release regular patches and upgrades to the system. We download the patches and software from their website and we install it. We upgrade the system and we manage the entire SEEBURGER suite in Ingram.

They are only responsible for severity tickets. We have a premium-level agreement with them for support, just in case we have a production issue and we are not able to figure things out. We can raise a "critical" and then they join a call or discuss resolutions via email. That is the only place where SEEBURGER is actually involved.

SEEBURGER is moving to a more containerized architecture with Kafka. So if you want to move to a more containerized framework, that is with version 6.7. If we move to 6.7, that is when we might involve the vendor to lay down the design and provide the integration strategies.

In terms of maintenance of the solution, there are six people involved, five working from India. I'm the one in the U.S.

What was our ROI?

I don't have exact numbers, but the return on investment is pretty good, given that it generates 30 percent of our revenue—around $16 billion—and we only pay for support for the year. The ROI is pretty good.

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

The solution provides the flexibility to start small and pay as you grow. SEEBURGER has a lot of offerings, but ours was completely on-prem. We paid one time. With our license, it doesn't matter how big or small your solution is. It doesn't matter how many servers you deploy the solution on, whether it's 10 virtual machines or 100 virtual machines. It is still covered in the license agreement. Our license is unlimited.

That agreement was until version 6.5. But if we move to 6.7, I'm not sure if we will need to renew the agreement.

We only pay for yearly maintenance and support.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We do have TIBCO, which we were using back in the day when we purchased the SEEBURGER solution, but it is limited to being used for internal communication, not to communicate with external partners. One of the reasons is that it was costly. SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) is way cheaper in terms of maintenance and support when compared to TIBCO.

What other advice do I have?

The biggest lesson I have learned from using the solution is that you shouldn't go too customized. We in Ingram have such a customized solution that sometimes even the vendor is clueless about what is happening in the system. They need to get our custom process, look it up in their local machine to see what we have done, and then propose a solution. So limit your customized solutions and practices. Because back in the day, if we updated 10,000 partner agreements or 10,000 partner configurations, we would go into the solution's backend database and update it. But in the long run, that might not be good because when you do interactions with the database directly, they may not be compliant. Going about it the standard way, through the SEEBURGER tool, it validates all the values for compliance. For example, it checks that this field has to be this many characters, or maybe this particular activity is a mandatory activity. But when directly updating the database, it can break.

In terms of advice, the online forum and documentation are very limited. That is something that you need to be aware of. If you look at other vendors like IBM Sterling B2B Integrator or TIBCO, the forums are pretty active and all the documentation is available on the internet. But if you try to look up development in SEEBURGER, you will hardly find any videos or documentation. We know the solution and we develop it because it's been inherited in our company from 2008. The team that initially set it up transferred all the knowledge to us and we are taking the legacy forward. But if someone has to buy SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS), they will need the vendor's help to develop in it because they will not see anything online.

There are discussions going on about the possibility of our moving to version 6.7, but that probably won't happen until next year or the year after. If you look at 6.7., the whole idea is to move away from JBoss, which is more rigid, to Kafka and Dockers. The use case that we're looking at is to host 6.7 components on Apache Kafka and on Dockers, so that every component, be it the process engine or the Adapter Engine, is running as a container. Then we can scale up and down, on the fly, with Kubernetes and other Docker engines. That's what we are looking at. We also want to make all our systems cloud-ready, for future use. That is the reason we would be buying the Active-Active license and moving to 6.7. That way, we could spin up containers on the cloud, irrespective of which cloud service provider it is. That is where we are going.

In terms of the solution automating processes, back in the day when we bought it, SEEBURGER helped us with that. We put forward our business requirements and they had their set of business processes already built-in. They tweaked that for Ingram Micro's needs and, after that, we took care of all the development. SEEBURGER has not been involved, recently, in optimizing anything or developing anything for us.

An example of automation that we have done is if you look at our deployment model. Earlier, when you had to deploy a process-design project, you had to go to the server login and run some shell scripts by yourself. What we did was we created a bot, made in Java. It acts like an Ansible script wherein it executes the shell scripts and other scripts behind the server. But recently SEEBURGER also upgraded their product and they have kept the Deployment Manager that comes with it, out-of-the-box. So all the things that we did back then using a bot are now available as an API with Deployment Manager.

As of now, we are not using Deployment Manager. We really want to use it. That bot I mentioned was custom made by me. All the knowledge about it is limited to me. Tomorrow, if we want to expand the functionality of the bot, I will have to develop it. But when it comes to Deployment Manager, all the functionality is being provided by SEEBURGER and if something breaks down, we know we can reach out to SEEBURGER. There are plans to move away from the bot and use Deployment Manager.

We have developed a few portals that act like a wrapper in front of SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS), so that partner onboarding becomes easy and we can publish our transactions. Usually the basic components of a developer portal are for exposing all the APIs and giving documentation about them. With the SEEBURGER solution, we have developed something like a developer portal where we have exposed all the generic processes and the APIs along with the descriptions of the APIs. That means partners can come in and onboard themselves, and then they can start business with Ingram Micro. We have done that as a wrapper, but it's not something that SEEBURGER gave us out-of-the-box.

Overall, I would rate the solution at nine out of 10. It's been pretty reliable for us, development is easy, and the support is doing a decent job. I am not giving it a 10 because of their capabilities in adopting new technologies. Also, the way they got the word out about the product was a little old-fashioned. Recently, they have been doing a good job on that, but I think they could go farther. Their competitors have flourished in the market a lot. SEEBURGER was lacking in marketing, but they have recently become more active. They have regular meetings and they have workshops, to be competitive and to talk about the new technology and capabilities they're working on. They have started to improve on that side, but I think there's a long way to go.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
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.
Learn what your peers think about SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: September 2021.
541,108 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Oliver Rupprecht
IT Business Integration at OSRAM
Real User
Top 10
Allows us to handle all scenarios, whether EDI or API-based, and to completely automate processes

Pros and Cons

  • "One of the most valuable features is the option to have all integration patterns constantly updated in one platform. That is the main strength I see in using SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS). It means I can use a very old-fashioned pattern, combined with a very modern pattern. There are no limitations in terms of combining components because all the components simply fit together."
  • "All the topics we've identified have been placed on the SEEBURGER roadmap already... Among the things we have requested are improvements in the user interface and improvements that would be implemented by completely new modules or improvements in their Cloud Services."

What is our primary use case?

We are using SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) for any kind of integration, but mainly in the areas of B2B, A2A and API, and even data-lake related topics. We do not have any limitations in using it, so if a special integration demand outside the integration patterns described, we can be sure that it is always possible.

It's a hybrid. Some parts are on-premises and other parts in the SEEBURGER Cloud.

How has it helped my organization?

On the one hand, when we are talking about classic integration like EDI, we have countries in which we do a high percentrage of our revenue with B2B. SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) provides significant value in handling such things in an automated way. All the automation features are quite important. But even if partners ask us to provide integration capabilities, we are able to meet their demands. When customers ask us, we don't generally need to decline.

With the SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS), we can deal with each and every demand, whether it is EDI, or the customer or partner wants to have another type of interface with no direct relation to EDI, or even modern approaches like APIs. When a customer or partner asks us to provide an API on their side, while our internal components are not API-ready, the SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) can make them API-ready. Think of an SAP IDoc. You can take it, you can translate it to an API-related data format, and communicate with an API. To the outside, no one would recognize that this is coming from an old-fashioned IDoc.

The solution also helps us automate processes completely. All of the processes inside SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) are made for doing a concept, doing a setup, doing a test and then, usually, you no longer have to touch them. That means it's fully automated, either by a task scheduler, or even better, by events. Whenever someone from the outside is sending data, it could be fully and automatically booked in the remote system. Or when we're picking up a mailbox, it is done with a scheduled job within the SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS), and the data will be processed completely without touching it.

The automation has definitely helped to reduce our costs. For example, in the automation of interfaces, EDI is the biggest portion. It's a significant KPI in the majority of the countries in which OSRAM, our company, is working. Sales automation quota is usually part of the management reporting and should indicate how many interfaces and how many documents can be booked completely without touching them, and as a result, free up resources to support business partners more. Some years ago, a calculation said, that a person in a customer service center could handle between 60,000 up to 100,000 sales orders per year, when keying them in manually. With data-driven sales automation you can free people, to care about more individual requests, and generate leads more effectively than ever before.

It also helps us to keep up to date on regulatory requirements, from two angles. On the one hand, SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) has an evergreen approach, so you do not really need to do updates. You do service packs or hotfixes all the time so you do not have to do a huge update project. Service packs also come with new functionality. For example, some years ago, OFTP1 over dial-up lines was replaced by OFTP2 over IP-based lines or internet traffic. This was then the default that came with one of the next service packs. On top of that, SEEBURGER is asking their customers what they need. It is not only about what SEEBURGER thinks the customer needs. You can give them input. If you tell them that new technology might come up, they see if it can be a part of the next service pack.

Another benefit is that it has helped to decrease time to market in our business. Whenever we receive a request from our project teams, usually within a few minutes we can set up an API. When we receive a request, we schedule it, of course, because our calendars are full of topics, but if you want to create an interface like an API, it can be completely done within a few minutes.

What is most valuable?

One of the most valuable features is the option to have all integration patterns constantly updated in one platform. That is the main strength I see in using SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS). It means I can use a very old-fashioned integration pattern, combined with a very modern integration pattern. There are no limitations in terms of combining components because all the components simply fit together.

SEEBURGER's support for multiple integration patterns makes it the best choice. I know many integration solutions, but SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) is the only one with such a huge catalog of options that you can use out-of-the-box and use as plug-and-play.

What needs improvement?

All the topics we've identified have been placed on the SEEBURGER roadmap already. Our company is part of the SEEBURGER customer advisory board where some customers have been asked to give feedback. We give very open feedback to SEEBURGER, telling them what is not working properly. And all of our topics are already on the roadmap. They are close to their customers and try to fulfill their needs. Whatever needs to be improved will be there within one of the next service packs.

Among the things we have requested are improvements in the user interface and improvements that would be implemented by completely new modules or improvements in their Cloud Services. For example, because we are a global-facing company, we've recognized that we not only need some well-known e-invoicing mechanisms available over the SEEBURGER Cloud, but we need many. Even if there are smaller ones which are not well-known, the expectation is that SEEBURGER can provide them to us. SEEBURGER responded to that demand and provided services for countries where they've not had this before. The feedback on usability topics has been converted by SEEBURGER into improvements. We see them coming, step-wise, with each and every service pack.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) for nearly 20 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability depends on what you need. We are operating a module so called Active-Active, together with the DataStore. The Active-Active component takes care of allowing multiple machines to work as a type of cluster and they can replace each other. If you have multiple machines or multiple nodes on which Active-Active is running, you can distribute the traffic to all of them. Say you have two machines with the Active-Active extension, and you have to restart one because of operating system updates. The other machine can completely take over.

The interesting thing is that this is done based on the transaction level of your processing. While operating system-based mirroring or database or storage-based mirroring are always done on a purely technical level, with the SEEBURGER Active-Active, a transaction coming in will be registered initially on all nodes. If one node goes down while your file or data is being processed, the other side can make use of the data and continue processing. This way, you can have up to almost 100 percent uptime.

You can even do SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) updates. You can take one site offline, do a service pack update, hotfixes, or configuration changes, and that newer version with the new service pack will be compatible to continue processing with the other node. You can bring it up, wait until processing is distributed to both sides again, and do the service pack update on the other side. You can ensure that you have zero downtime.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I would say the scalability is unlimited because you can add additional nodes in an unlimited way. You have several topics where you can make use of the scalability of the solution. You might have multiple nodes where you are distributing the same activity to multiple computers or VM guest systems. That way, you increase the power of the whole system.

You can even split instances. For example, I want to split user activities done over the front end or user portal, like using an API catalog, from the processing activities, such as translating a file or communicating a file to SAP or to an external partner. That enables me to increase the power for the processing when I do not need additional power for the users. There are multiple modules, the process engine, Adapter Engine, and DataStore, and you can distribute them to several machines and increase them in an unlimited way. What we've heard a few years ago is, that SEEBURGER has tested with 250 instances, meaning there were 250 computers working as one or system, and that might not be the latest test.

We have 300 to 350 people working with SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS), but from different areas. We have end-users using it for business monitoring checking the messages exchanged with their partners. It could be a sales person who wants to see which messages have been sent by his customer. We also have developers on the platform developing APIs, as well as the people developing mappings for the B2B activities. There are also administrators, who are mainly part of the department I'm working in. We enable people to make use of integration capabilities. The user interface has been improved drastically over the last few years, and that means they do not always have to ask us, "Can you do this for me?" or "Can you search that for me?" We give them an account and then they can go in and gather the information on their own.

In terms of future-proofing our business, we see that SEEBURGER is fast enough that even our architects receive a satisfying answer. Whenever we ask about, for example, "Can you deal with Docker containers?" or "Can you do API management?" or "Can you do data ingestion for data lake? they have a solution ready. We know that SEEBURGER has invested a lot of effort into research and development. It is not only that they follow what the customers are doing and requesting, but they even prepare for the future. That's interesting for us, because for some topics I was not even aware that SEEBURGER is dealing with that, like Docker or Kubernetes.

If SEEBURGER sees something that is required, things which are not necessarily related to integration, like running a system on a Docker container, or Active-Active, SEEBURGER provides such options to make the customer happy and to ensure that their product is running properly. They make sure they can handle future demands. They do everything to ensure that they are ready for the future.

Even in regard to security, for example, we see that they avoid having security issues or running into issues with outdated software because, with the service packs, they always prepare for future software for new Java versions, or to be ready for new operating systems or new database versions. They always have a roadmap to ensure that there's nothing we can complain about.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have a 24/7 maintenance and support contract with SEEBURGER, which includes software updates as well as technical support. They take care of the documentation that describes what our company is doing with SEEBURGER and that it is always up to date. Even if the named supporters assigned to our account are not there because I call support on the weekend or at night, another support contact is able to quickly check what our landscape looks and what we are doing.

Their support activities are very precise. A tool they've integrated in their Landscape Manager allows us to automatically provide all that required data to SEEBURGER in one shot. The Landscape Manager acts without any database and without any interdependency with the SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) itself. So even if our BIS system has issues, they can do an analysis immediately. The Landscape Manager, with the option to create a support case, is collecting all that information and provides it in the required format to SEEBURGER. Usually, within a short time frame, you have a qualified answer about what is wrong. The knowledge and experience of all their support staff have increased drastically over the last years. Even if there is an issue at night, the chance is nearly 100 percent that a support person can help us immediately.

How was the initial setup?

When we started with SEEBURGER, we used a version called SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) Version 5. The setup for that was a little bit complicated. 

With the newer versions, like 6.7, it is easy because they guide you with a lot of wizards and good documentation. If you do a setup now, you can use the BIS Landscape Manager, which is a tool with which you can control your complete landscape. You might have several components inside such a BIS environment. You might add another server, for example, to handle demand. The Landscape Manager is a tool that gives you a full overview of your landscape. From there, you can set up new components. If you book something in addition, you can add it from there. You can do service pack updates. You can install hotfixes from there and all potential third-party components you might need. For example, you can install components to connect between SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) and SAP. You can even handle licensing topics over the Landscape Manager. This was a significant improvement, over the years, because it helps us to fully automate even the basic administration, when we are not thinking about interfaces concretely.

We started at a point, 20 years ago, when some of the mechanisms were not there. Now, when you start with SEEBURGER, if you have a clear idea about what you want to do, the initial setup could be done within less than one hour, because of their guided approach. That includes installing the system base with all its components and even deploying a standard solution which provides a lot of integration functionality on more of an abstract level. That way, you do not have to deal with technical details. You just input whatever is required to run your interface, but you do not have to deal with any technical topics.

What was our ROI?

In general, we have seen ROI, because we have done a lot of consolidation over the last few years and avoided the need for other solutions by using SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) as our central integration platform. Over the years, we've migrated around 40 to 45 decentralized integration solutions and saved a lot of money and reduced complexity. We have even improved the services we can provide to our partners because they do not necessarily have to deal in a different way in different regions. They always have the choice based on same service offering in each region where OSRAM is active.

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

They have options for every budget. You can book Cloud Services, starting with a few hundred Euros, depending on what you want, or you can even purchase huge landscapes and operate them on your own or any deployment or operating model in between. The pricing is fair compared to others.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Around one and a half years ago, we evaluated other solutions around the time we introduced the API management within SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS). We recognized that SEEBURGER is the only one which provides such a wide spectrum of functionality, all from one vendor, without adding modules from a third party. All the others we've had an eye on say, "Yeah, we can add this or you can download that plug-in from this company." This is not the case with SEEBURGER. You can have all these components from one vendor, which helps avoid running into trouble because of a vendor saying, "I'm not responsible." That is the biggest strength of SEEBURGER, beside their strong interest in OSRAM. 

They've really spent a lot of time giving us all the answers to all the topics we've been interested in. Once we introduced the API management, even the SEEBURGER CTO spent time aligning with us on what the API management roadmap looks like at SEEBURGER, to ensure that my management could support the decision, together with me, to use SEEBURGER for API management. We introduced it and we are happy with it. We see that what SEEBURGER promised us is now available in the current versions.

What other advice do I have?

Ask SEEBURGER to provide you with information, especially around your demand or requirement concepts, and then follow up with SEEBURGER on a proof of concept. SEEBURGER is quite open to doing proofs of concept with customers, so that the customer knows, 100 percent, that this is the solution that can fulfill their needs. There are multiple options to see what they are doing, but mainly start with a request for information or with a workshop or a proof of concept and find out if SEEBURGER is the right software. In my opinion it is a Yes. Then you can align with them on the next steps. For example, you can decide if the right deployment model for you is in the cloud or if it is on-premises or something in between. SEEBURGER Cloud Services are using exactly the same software you would use to operate your system on-premises. There is no difference and that's a strength, because as more people are using the same software and participate in improving it, the better the quality will be.

SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) itself is just transporting data. It is not a data warehouse or business system. But it is heavily supporting real-time traffic. The solution has been supporting API for a few years, and with API you can do real-time calls. It could be that a customer using Salesforce requests the status of an order they have placed with us. They can click in Salesforce and, in real-time, within a few milliseconds, Salesforce is asking SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) to extract that information from SAP and to bring it back to the customer within the front end. Within a few milliseconds, the customer can retrieve the latest status. With this up-to-date information, the customer can plan, update and trigger follow-up processes that move his business forward.

Another example is that we have a product catalog which provides data to one of our services where a customer can check for his type of car and the age of his car, and can find a recommendation for the right light bulb. This is done with SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) API management, which is embedded in their Business Integration Suite. Within milliseconds, we provide the information about which light bulbs are the right ones for that specific car, send it back to the internet page, and serve the user with that information. Customers can make the right purchase decision in the shortest possible time. Synchronous, asynchronous, near-time and real-time - everything is possible with the same platform. It's like a toolbox.

I would definitely give it a 10 out of 10. Whenever I've had any concerns or was not happy with something, SEEBURGER improved things immediately. There's nothing to complain about.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
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.
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Nigel Mills
Team Lead at a transportation company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 5
Meets all our EDI requirements and provides many integrations into ERP systems, including SAP

Pros and Cons

  • "If SEEBURGER plans to do something, they will meet their target. We haven't been disappointed by them at all. For example, we had six trading partners to onboard and they said, "We'll make it happen," and they did make it happen. They did exactly what they said they would do. That's a really positive thing."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use it to connect via EDI with our trading partners within the EU region and with other regions, including, America.

    It's an off-premise solution. We have a secure file transfer server where we are placing the files or picking up the EDI, and then they connect and put the files in or take them away. On the SEEBURGER side, we then connect into their portal so we can then see the information about the message flows, etc.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We don't yet have any examples of how it's improved the way our organization functions because, so far in our deployment, we've just migrated over what we have, as is. We've moved all of the existing connections with our trading partners and messages across from OpenText. In the next financial year, starting next month, we'll start looking at onboarding new trading partners and really making use of the standardized messaging that we have with them, for converting to the other trading partners' formats.

    What I can say is that it has met all of our requirements, to date. We are in the process, in the next couple of years, of migrating to SAP, and they have two or three different mechanisms for natively integrating with SAP. But because we're not there yet, we haven't made use of that. Currently, we are using a simple file transfer protocol mechanism, but it's fully meeting our B2B requirements.

    We are looking to introduce some new message types this year, such as processing vendor invoices. That would include receiving the invoices via EDI, linking that to our ERP, and SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) automatically doing the processing. So we're expecting to achieve some additional operational efficiencies.

    What is most valuable?

    If SEEBURGER plans to do something, they will meet their target. We haven't been disappointed by them at all. For example, we had six trading partners to onboard and they said, "We'll make it happen," and they did make it happen. They did exactly what they said they would do. That's a really positive thing.

    I have also had a lot of good feedback from SEEBURGER and have really been kept up-to-date about the status. With some companies, a salesperson will say something but then the technical people don't deliver.

    We get a monthly SLA report. We have SLA targets with them that were set in the contract, and they report against those. So far, there have been no breaches of SLA. You can also go onto their website and view real-time information so you can monitor the performance if needed. With SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) I've got really good visualization.

    What needs improvement?

    For the area that we've used them for so far, I don't really see any way that they can make it easier. I can't say enough about how they have delivered exactly what they said that they would, and for the cost and in the time that they said it would take. They're bang-on there.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We implemented in the last quarter of 2019, so we're coming up to around six months in terms of the live environment.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    At the moment, there has not been a single problem. We haven't had any issues after going live; 100 percent uptime. They've met all of the SLAs. The message-processing time in the SLA is up to one hour; in reality, it's been about 10 seconds.

    There have been no performance issues and no outages. And if they do have an outage, then they've got disaster recovery plans to mitigate.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Scalability was the whole reason we went with SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS). Our hope is to add 20 to 40 trading partners a year. Because we've done the groundwork, we've done our initial messages, we don't need to do anything more from an integration point of view. Now it's SEEBURGER's job to connect their platform to our trading partners' platforms. That was the whole selling point.

    Our entire organization is the intended beneficiary of our SEEBURGER deployment. At the moment, we've only actually got it linked into our Germany and U.K. offices, but we're expanding use in the coming months into our Italy office, for suppliers, customers, and e-invoicing.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    I had to raise one ticket during the implementation, and I was using it as a test, really, to see how ticketing works. They were really good and responsive, and I was kept up to date.

    The ticket was actually auto-raised by the system because a message had tried to come in, but they weren't able to process it. I then received a phone call because it could have been an urgent situation. It turned out the person's sender ID hadn't been set up correctly. It was my typo when I gave the information to SEEBURGER in the new system. But it was dealt with and resolved fantastically.

    So far, I have had no issues with tech support. Nobody receives 10 out of 10 because there's always room to improve, but I would say their support rates a nine out of 10, although I can't say what they would improve.

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

    We were already doing EDI previously and using OpenText as a communication platform, as a VAN (value added network). The problem with OpenText is that they'll pass through your messages and the dealings that we've had with them, but they don't really do the message conversions and the like. And we are looking to expand quite a lot in terms of trading partners in the coming years using EDI. With SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS), we can just send one message between us and SEEBURGER and they will do all of the hard work with the trading partners. Whereas previously, with OpenText, if each trading partner had a slightly different variant of EDI, we would have to make the adjustments ourselves.

    Also, all of the EDI conversion into our ERP was actually done using a bolt-on to our ERP. Because we're moving to SAP at some point, that bolt-on was not compatible. But that is where I gained my experience, because I had to create the mappings between the EDI messages and our core internal procedures.

    The move away from our old solution was about the scalability. Previously, I was spending a lot of time doing the mappings myself, as well as the onboarding and dealing with all of the headaches related to that. In addition, because we're moving to a system that doesn't have that EDI bolt-on, which is the SAP solution, we needed to find an alternative. Finally, because we wanted to rapidly increase the number of trading partners that we're connected with, we would have had to take on an additional resource. That's where the price-benefit came in.

    How was the initial setup?

    For me, the setup was straightforward. We really planned the design out together, how it would work. We had a couple of meetings at our office. They came down to visit us, both the technical people and salespeople, to make sure that the technical people were able to deliver what the salespeople were promising. We had a planning workshop, and we said, "Okay, these are the types of messages," and we described exactly how they'd be coming into the FTP server, the kind of folder structure we had to create, the permissions, etc. Once the planning was done, we implemented according to plan, and it was fine.

    We had a kickoff meeting, which involved members of SEEBURGER's sales team and their technical guys. Then, we had a second meeting with the technical guys, a meeting that was a bit more in-depth about how we were going to achieve what we wanted. We had to provide information like the trading partners' formats, the trading partners' mailbox settings, the types of messages we were using when interacting with those trading partners, etc. Then we decided the best method for communicating our messages to them. To establish that securely, we had to create a VPN tunnel directly to SEEBURGER's systems and get all that tested up. Each portion of the build was tested independently and then, as a whole, we did some end-to-end tests. It went really well.

    From start to finish, the deployment took about a month. It went really quickly.

    After the deployment was ready, we had some additional time with our trading partners to do some end-to-end testing before switching over to live. That way, our trading partners were happy. We only had about seven or eight trading partners that we were migrating across, but from SEEBURGER's side, they just made it happen.

    On our side, it was just me, and it wasn't full-time. We did a couple of hours one day, a little bit of time another day. There was more time spent in the weekly progress updates than in actually doing things, from my side. I wasn't involved doing the work.

    What about the implementation team?

    We worked directly with SEEBURGER. I have quite a lot of EDI experience so I understood quite a lot of it and that may have helped.

    What was our ROI?

    Compared to our previous solution, SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) is more expensive. But our previous solution isn't compatible with SAP so we would have had to migrate to a solution like SEEBURGER's at some point. It has cost us more money to migrate to SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS), but in three to five years' time, we should start to reap the benefits.

    We hope to start seeing ROI by the end of this year, once we start getting more trading partners onboarded. We're paying for a set monthly amount but we have only reached about 10 percent usage. Once we start approaching in the vicinity of 60 to 70 percent usage, then we should start getting an ROI. That's not SEEBURGER's fault, that's our fault, because we're not ready to be at that stage yet.

    In terms of manpower, once we start to get some of these more automation processes in place, there could be a one or two headcount reduction in terms of the related tasks.

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

    The only thing that would be an improvement would be if they had a cost model whereby you could just pay for what you're actually using. Even if it were a minimum monthly charge that they offered, if you're not utilizing all of that then they should consider a lower tier. That way, they could attract more business.

    Aside from the standard usage fee there's an onboarding cost. I don't know if our prices were hardly negotiated or whether there is just a de facto price. But, in addition to the normal monthly, system-running costs, when you want to onboard a new trading partner, there's an onboarding cost. 

    If you want to do any additional types of messages, there will be an implementation cost related to each message type. If you are onboarding like 10 or 20 trading partners at a time, they also have a project management cost for a defined project manager who's your main point of contact. That's how they make sure that everything gets done according to the time that they said that they were going to do it in. I've used third-party project management before for our ERP provider, and they've been shocking. So we tend to do a lot of project management ourselves. But SEEBURGER delivered. I was super-impressed.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We looked at a company called NetEDI as well as TrueCommerce. There were two more but they were discounted right at the beginning because they didn't have time for us. NetEDI EDI was ruled out quite early on so it came down to two companies.

    TrueCommerce seemed really promising but I was reading a lot of negative stuff in the press and online about them; that they promised that they will deliver but they don't deliver. The sales guy was really good, but if the tech people behind it can't do what they say they're going to do... I looked at the review sites, like IT Central Station, to find out. That can sway the impact of your decision-making.

    What other advice do I have?

    The biggest lesson is to understand the monthly fees and whether or not you're going to be making use of all of the data cap at the time of go-live. If not, try to plan for expansion so that you're maximizing the use of what you're paying for.

    SEEBURGER take a lot of the headaches away from you. That was the main point of it. We were very demanding about the contracts. We got them to amend their standard contracts to meet our requirements. Make sure that you read the contacts thoroughly and that you understand all of the implications. Know what's expected of you and what to do in the implementation in ongoing phases.

    We haven't really had to do any maintenance since we've migrated to them. I am the primary contact in my organization. I'm trying to bring one of my colleagues up to speed about what EDI is, to start him off from scratch. He has no knowledge of it at all. But the main point with SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) is that you don't have to have the knowledge. They take all the hassle away from you. I'm just in a bit more of a privileged situation because I do have the knowledge. But the point is, you say to them, "All right, I have these five trading partners. If I want to reduce our costs, what information do you need me to get from them?" I can then request it and pass that back to SEEBURGER. Or we can pay SEEBURGER a little bit more money and they'll do it end-to-end. It depends on the skills you have in-house and how much you want to do yourself. They'll take it all away from you, or you can still do a bit yourself.

    They also have other solutions that we haven't taken onboard as of yet, but we could consider in the future. They have some integrations with the tax authorities, like making tax digital. We have a branch in Italy and SEEBURGER have an Italy e-invoicing solution, in accordance with Italy's government policies. But we already have the solution for that, so we don't need it. Integrating into customs is another one, but we don't really have a case for that as yet. So it's not just the EDI, it's a whole framework of things that they can offer.

    If we have any new requirements, they said to send them to them and they'll put together a proposal. It's really an area that they specialize in. When we were selecting SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS), we were looking at a few different other options. But they really have a high number of trading partners already with them in the automotive business. So that's hopefully something that we can make use of in the future when we're onboarding. Hopefully it will take a lot less time.

    I look at the fact that SEEBURGER invests a high proportion of revenue into R&D instead of promoting brand awareness like this: If you haven't got a good product then no one's going to buy it. By putting that money back into the R&D, they're also making sure that they're meeting any new requirements that come up in B2B activity. For me, it's a thumbs-up.

    They have a lot of offices globally. One of the good things for us is that we are able to deal with sales and technical people based in the UK, but they do have offices throughout Europe and America and Asia. Some of our company's regional operations are also looking at SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) as a solution because they can talk in the local language. That was another really good point about SEEBURGER. And because we want to deploy onboard trading partners throughout Europe, they have people who can talk and work in the same countries as those people. That helps to take away those language barrier issues.

    Also, they're a wholly-owned business by themselves. They're not a sub-organization of anyone else. That was quite an attractive thing for us. They've been around for a long time. They've got a lot of integrations into many ERP systems including the one that we are looking to — SAP. They seem to have it all.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    LK
    IT Business Analyst at a manufacturing company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    Top 20
    Helpful service desk, good support for process maps, it saves us time and boosts efficiency

    Pros and Cons

    • "SEEBURGER has helped us to enable digital business transformation. Every time we add a new customer, there is a digital footprint. This is no longer a manual process."
    • "Java is very old technology and they should move away from it, to anything that's better."

    What is our primary use case?

    We primarily use it for standard EDI practice forecasts, firms, ASNs, invoices, etc. We use everything here, including VDA, EDIFACT, and ANSI, but we are also now having our customers send us drawing files, and then we're sending them off to our engineers.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Our business has grown to have 14 major customers, which implies orders of greater than 200 parts per customer. If we include ship-to then we're probably talking closer to 50 new customers that have moved to EDI. I don't think we would have made it through the pandemic, to be honest, without this.

    I have a tiny team in Spain that was entering every one of those requirements manually until we switched over to SEEBURGER, and then we could get them added pretty quickly. Now, for the first time in our history, we are adding Asian customers. Branches in India and China are starting to get EDI started, which has never happened before.

    BIS provides me with everything in a unified platform and I haven't needed to add any third-party solutions. 

    This product helps us to automate processes. Previously, we would have normally manually entered requirements and now, we just let it read them in automatically. As an example, just one customer with a 200 part requirement that goes out over 12 months would normally have taken my team two hours per week, just to enter the requirements. Now, it just happens and there is no work required at all from the team. In this regard, it has absolutely helped us to increase efficiency. 

    At this point, automation hasn't led us to reduce the number of employees that we have. As such, I don't think that we've decreased any of our costs. 

    SEEBURGER has helped us to enable digital business transformation. Every time we add a new customer, there is a digital footprint. This is no longer a manual process.

    The fact that BIS is available in the cloud, on-premises, and as a hybrid deployment is very important because it means that we could take from one to the other. That is amazing.

    The product somewhat helps to future-proof our business. I can add new adapters, for example. We're strictly on EDI and I know that they have more offerings than that, but we have not moved past it yet. Certainly, they are not stopping with EDI, which is good.

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuable feature for me is being able to make changes on-premises, without having to contact SEEBURGER. It allowed me to work on my timeframes, which is important because if I didn't hear back from a customer then it wasn't wasting SEEBURGER's time. I'm able to work more independently. 

    What needs improvement?

    The cost models have room for improvement. There are different licensing models between Europe and the USA, which is something that I don't understand. This is an aspect that needs to be improved.

    Java is very old technology and they should move away from it, to anything that's better.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have been using SEEBURGER since July 1st, 2017, four years ago.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    With our on-premises implementation, we never had any issues with uptime or stability.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Scalability-wise, I don't know of any limits for us, so there doesn't seem to be a problem.

    At this point, we only have two users, although we need to enlarge that role. I am responsible for the customer setup, connection setup, and map design. My other colleague also does customer setup and communication setup, but no map design.

    We plan on expanding our usage because we're going to start moving our Asian colleagues. As soon as we find a customer that's able to do EDI with them, we will turn it on. We're certainly increasing in that world.

    We now approach every customer and look for EDI opportunities. Now that we've determined that we can handle receiving CAD-type drawings through it, we are going to send that to different plants. We certainly plan on using it more, and I know due to COVID, we've never experienced the number of customers asking us for EDIs as we are now.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    With respect to support, it's best-of-breed for me. I still get to work with my American counterparts at SEEBURGER, but my contract is in Europe. When I do need true support, I tend to get most of it from America, so that works in my time zone. Alternatively, when I use the service desk, it's support from the European side.

    I like working with the SEEBURGER support. The service desk itself now has a chat, and that has saved me days because they answer the question right when I was on the phone with them, or on chat. That's been amazing. The service desk is always helpful. I'd say 95% of the time, I only have to use the service desk, which is included in our maintenance.

    With my support in America, I have one particular person that the emails go to. Unless it's a big issue, he usually has an answer back out to me that day, so costing me far less than if it had to go to other areas. It's been a dream.

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

    Everywhere in the world used something different before SEEBURGER.

    In our American offices, we used TrustedLink, whereas, in Canada, we used Atos. In Europe, they used other packages. In Spain, for example, they used their own desktop version for EDI integration. We have also used SAP PI and others.

    I don't know why we switched to the current solutions but it was done in conjunction with our SAP rollout.

    How was the initial setup?

    In this IT world, it would be classified as quite straightforward.

    In America in 2017, we started with a cloud-based deployment. Since then, we have migrated everything to an on-premises server in Europe. At the time, we went with a single point of communication, so we were only using OFTP2 when we started. It was a single server install. 

    When it comes to our mappings, we've gotten very complex, especially because we merged the two. It is relevant to note that we have a two-stage implementation. At first, when it was just for Germany, I don't know that it was classified as very complex. When it was just for the USA, it was not classified as very complex. But when you blended the two, we added a lot more complexity to our world. Every process is broken down as "Is this a US EDI or is this European EDI?"

    Effectively, we doubled our complexity at that point.

    I don't know the original German timeframe but for the US implementation, it took a little more than two months to deploy.

    What about the implementation team?

    For our first implementation, we asked SEEBURGER to do all of the work for us. I gave them all of my sample files, and all of my specs, and they took care of all of it for me. I concentrated on inbound first and then outbound, as per normal. After that, I would check the flow-through to see that the data went where I expected it to.

    In that implementation, they did 75% of the work, and I only did 25% because I was rolling out SAP. I was in charge of two plants at the time, so I couldn't do EDI all by myself. All of the departments were rolled out and they did all of it for us. The support was perfect and it was exactly what I needed.

    In 2018 or 2019, we moved back to an on-premises deployment. At that point, they were able to assign the connection guy to us and then one person for the maps. He took care of double-checking and finding a way to merge the current on-premises and our former cloud processes together for us.

    At that point, I was able to assist a lot more because I could concentrate on the EDI, and I also had a colleague in Germany that could work with me. That time, it was more a 50/50 process, with us helping to deploy it. We started on January 1st, and we went live with that merge on April 1st. It was a little bit longer of an implementation move but we weren't as desperate for a start date. Overall, we had no issues moving from the cloud back to on-premises.

    The US SEEBURGER staff were fantastic with the second one. When we found out that our implementation was not going to work on the German one, because somebody forgot to sign us up on our side, the American people stepped in. They were able to get me up and running with about two months of prep, and then a bit more because I needed them to help me more than they should have had to help me for the summer that year.

    It is unheard of to get that many customers up and running as fast as they did for us.

    I will be in charge of maintenance when it's time, but I will steal somebody from my operations IT team to assist me with that. Other than making new maps, to this point, there has been no real maintenance that we've been doing.

    What was our ROI?

    We do not have exact figures for ROI at the moment but the one example, where we take two hours per week down to zero, is priceless right now.

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

    I wasn't involved in the contract negotiations, but I can say that we pay per site. It is based on the expected usage per month. I would like to find a way to change this and not pay per site because I don't want to pay for a site that has one EDI turned on, and pay the same amount for them.

    We pay for a maximum number of setups, then we pay per customer map, and we pay maintenance on each one of those. BIS provides the flexibility to pay as you grow. The price of each customer map is €200 and the hourly rate for maintenance is fairly reasonable.

    We budgeted for ten days of maintenance at €160 per hour, for a total of €12,000. We purchased the block so that we wouldn't have to pause our operations but we hardly use it. That contract started in 2019 and we've barely made a dent in it.

    I highly recommend that people negotiate strong and hard on their customer map contract. I've decreased our European one in half, and I still will fight to get it down again. I prefer the pricing model out of the USA by far. There is a significant difference between these two pricing models, which is something that I don't understand.

    As part of our monitoring, we run checks to see if we're close to where we expect to stay in terms of usage.

    In addition, you have to buy each adaptor that you're going to use. These include OFTP2, AS2, SFTP, and others. I highly recommend that you figure out your market and pick the best one for your marketplace, instead of paying for all of them.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We did evaluate other options in 2015, although I can't recall the names of the products.

    What other advice do I have?

    I am not running the most recent version because I don't have a test environment, so I don't want to upgrade and risk things breaking before I can test it. The plan is to move to version 6.7 in the fall, meaning that I'd be skipping a version. The most compelling reason to adopt the new version is the security. It has a higher security rating than the current one. Also, new tools are available that I want to take advantage of.

    BIS could provide real-time data insight for our organization but at this time, we're not using it in that format.

    At this point, using this solution has not helped us to decrease the time to market. We're probably too far out in the company to do that. I don't have any customers that are taking business faster because we can do EDI. In fact, most of my customers are the reason that we're not moving faster for EDI.

    My advice for anybody who is implementing this product is to fully understand the differences between the on-premises, cloud-based, and hybrid solutions. Also, start negotiating early, especially if you have to do your negotiating in Europe. In America, they're much more flexible. You should definitely start earlier than we did because we were far too late.

    The biggest lesson that I learned when using this product had to do with designing my own process maps. It is important to learn the map DB system because you can make it very strong and it makes your life much more flexible. For example, you can have a colleague that never has to touch a design or make changes because you put it into a process map instead. They can just use it within a table and never open the designer. It's fabulous. I would concentrate on getting the most knowledge out of that as a could and in fact, it's still what I've written down for my self-design training sessions that I ask them to do for me.

    I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

    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.
    Flag as inappropriate
    RB
    EDI Competency Manager North America at a retailer with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Top 5
    Provides us with one system, a single tool which increases our efficiency significantly

    Pros and Cons

    • "I like that the tool has all the adapters — all the possible protocols that are in the industry. You pay for those adapters but at least it's all in one package. You don't have to get another tool or application to support another partner."
    • "It's rather difficult to understand, from the application, what's broken and why it doesn't work. We typically need to get support from them directly, and it's usually in a consulting role, to fix issues."

    What is our primary use case?

    Our primary use case is to send EDI documents between our partners and vendors. We're also starting now to use it as a development tool to translate SAP idocs to EDI messages and vice versa. 

    How has it helped my organization?

    When we first started, we had different systems and application, six or seven of them, globally. Using SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS), we have reduced the number of EDI communication tools. Now, we just have this one.

    The solution can support B2B/EDI, EAI, and/or ERP integration requirements. The one thing that they are pushing is that they are a single solution that can meet all those needs. It's nice to have that in one system, versus using multiple systems.

    It has also increased the level of efficiency in our company's operations by about 30 to 40 percent because everything is on one tool, supporting many people at the same time, worldwide.

    The SEEBURGER solution has saved us money. Although there are other tools out there that do the same thing, if we had to buy those tools it would cost us more. The money that we spend on maintenance, for example, gives us the ability to communicate with other partners without having to use another tool or another partner. That's where our cost savings are. 

    What is most valuable?

    I like that the tool has all the adapters — all the possible protocols that are in the industry. You pay for those adapters but at least it's all in one package. You don't have to get another tool or application to support another partner. It doesn't matter if you're in Europe or if you're in North America, the solution they have is global. It can support pretty much anything and anyone.

    What needs improvement?

    It's rather difficult to understand, from the application, what's broken and why it doesn't work. We typically need to get support from them directly, and it's usually in a consulting role, to fix issues.

    Also, the training they provide is not really adequate. They sell you things that you can use to design things in your own way. To get them to show you how those work is very difficult. To get them to explain how their application works sometimes is difficult (depending on the customization that was done) I would like to see them build training courses and I would have no issue paying for them. Everything I know about the application is self taught.

    In addition, if we ask one consultant, we get one answer and if we ask a different consultant, we get a totally different answer. If we ask someone in Europe, even within the same company, we get a different answer again. They're not globally aligned in terms of what their application does and how it's actually installed. Depending on who you talk to, you get a different answer. You could say each consultant or software engineer has their own way of implementing BIS. They could do a better job if they collaborated more internally and talked to the customers and asked questions so that we could give them examples and tell them where they could do better.

    Also, their release strategy, in terms of number of updates, is very demanding; it's very quick. SEEBURGER releases an update every month, if I'm not mistaken. It would be nice if they could do semi-annual releases that are not really needed. If something is broken, you can always ask them to provide a hotfix. We can't keep up with the number of patches they have (even though we may not need it). Every time they send a patch, we have to retest everything. They could improve the frequency of their patches and maybe provide a procedure to test everything so that we don't spend hours or days validating their latest update. We don't know what that patch is going to do. We have to test it and we need a team to test it. It's something that we do overnight. We have to check every adapter, every process row, all the modules in their solution.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We've been using SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) for roughly 10 years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It's stable. They're always improving it. Their next release, coming out next year, has a lot of improvements. In terms of stability, they're moving in the direction of selling a standard. That's the right way to go.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The scalability is really good. That's one of the biggest features. Depending on the size of your company, how much data you have or frequency, their solution can manage it. You can grow vertically or you can grow horizontally. It really depends on the business. They have the capabilities to grow and expand and handle all that architecture.

    In North America, our company has smaller needs for scalability compared to what we've seen other companies do, although it is bigger than our European side. We do have certain things that Europe doesn't have, different components or boxes in front of the SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) server, such as proxy servers. Security is different in North America. We have a second node that handles more of the high-volume transactions, but we really haven't fully utilized it yet. We're just getting it up and running now.

    We have two production SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) applications, one for Europe and one for North America. Behind them, there are quality environments. Behind them we have another instance for their compliance checker, which is another tool. We also have a development box and a sandbox for initial patches and upgrades.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Technical support is good. The person who answers your ticket is the person who is going to solve it. They don't typically have level-one, level-two, and level-three support. The person who handles the ticket is an expert. They're users of the system. In most cases they can help you. In other cases, they will seek the support of their developers or consultants because it's out of their scope, and that's a normal way to handle those situations. Overall, the support is good.

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

    We had a couple of previous solutions. One was Cleo LexiCom. We also had something called EDI Gateway and that's what we were using mainly, prior to this one. 

    SEEBURGER is an SAP partner. When we bought SAP, because we were going with one global ERP system, our operation in Europe chose SEEBURGER at the time. I was not part of that decision but I'm happy to say they made a good choice. 

    How was the initial setup?

    I wasn't involved in the installing of the solution. I was more involved in the configuration of it. In terms of configuring it, I didn't find it hard. If you know EDI, and you understand how protocols work, you won't find it too difficult.

    It took me about nine to 10 months to migrate from one system to a different system. That covered about 40 plants. In terms of deployment, it's quick. It's just a matter of physically doing it, getting in contact with your partners and telling them, "Hey, I'm switching from this IP address to this IP address." I found it easy.

    What about the implementation team?

    We used SEEBURGER consulting. We already had one instance in Europe. North America had to get its own instance and I was in charge of making sure that that happened: getting it installed, explaining to the consultant that these are all the flows we have today, and these are all the software components we have today. How do we put all that stuff into one box?

    Our experience with them was very good. The person that we used is still with the company.

    What was our ROI?

    We realized savings after five years. We needed additional development as well as some minor things that we use in our company that they didn't have in their standard solution. It took us time to understand the product. During those five years we were consulting with them and needed their support to understand their tool. After that, a company should be able to be self-sufficient.

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

    We pay maintenance of between $75,000 and $100,000 per year. The costs are based on your original purchase solution. 

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    As far as I can remember, the company looked at IBM Sterling and at outsourcing.

    What other advice do I have?

    Have a good understanding of what your business is. Understand what protocols you need to support. Know what your volume of transactions is and what the latency is of those transactions. Do you have to deliver those transactions in five seconds or do you have to deliver them in two milliseconds or do you have to do it in five minutes? If I were buying software that would be my question to the vendor: How long does your tool take to go from point A to point B?

    The lessons I have learned from using the solution is that their tool can do many things. It's a full B2B solution, which is nice. They have additional software that you can tie into it. If your company ever needed something really specific to communicate with another backend application, or to convert an email to an Excel, or an Excel to an EDI file, their tools can do all that.

    We have around 30 to 40 people using it or who have access to it and different components of it. Their roles range from database administrators to people who monitor the servers themselves. Our EDI analysts use it and managers use it as well. SAP level-two support people use it. We have five people who are involved in updates and maintenance of the solution, including an operating systems administrator, a database administrator, IT operations, and my team that validates that updates were done properly.

    The fact that SEEBURGER invests a high proportion of revenue into R&D rather than promoting brand awareness is fine. They emphasize that quite a bit. They don't spend a lot of money marketing, like SAP or Oracle would. I'd rather them spend more money on R&D. That's where the value is. They're spending money to ensure that, with any new technologies and any new security threats or issues that come up, their application stays afloat.

    We may look at SEEBURGER'S API feature but it's a little bit early. We have an API management tool already. When we went to them looking for this some years ago, their tool was nice on paper, but it wasn't a reality. SEEBURGER has invested in the last couple of years and has come up with some tools. I don't know how many companies are using it, but I think it's a little premature right now for us to buy it. But it might be something that we switch to. Ten years ago, none of that played a role in our decision. It was more that our company had been using SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) in Europe over the last three years and we needed to get the North American side of the business on SAP and to be on the same type of system.

    Because I've seen some other products, I'd rate SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) a nine out of 10. That's only because I know what they're capable of doing and there's room for improvement. It's not perfect, but their solution is probably one of the best ones out there.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    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.
    AH
    Integration Team Lead at Wincanton
    Real User
    Gives us the flexibility to hook up to systems using any protocol out there

    Pros and Cons

    • "The solution's capabilities in fulfilling our existing B2B integration requirements are brilliant. Among our multiple customers we connect to SAP systems, JDE, all the various ERPs that you can possibly get, Oracle procurement systems, etc. We haven't come across anything yet — and customers are trying to trip us up — that we can't do."
    • "There are some aspects at the front, the actual queries that you use, that could be improved. They're all very minor to be honest."

    What is our primary use case?

    We are a third-party logistics company. We work for a lot of people. We've got SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) because we needed an SFTP server over 10 years ago. We have a lot of customers at various levels of IT maturity. Originally it all started off with just FTP, but we now use AS2 and SFTP an awful lot, and we're now moving into the API world.

    There are some common interfaces here and there but, generally, it's all bespoke to each customer, of which we have about 75 to 80 and that's changing every month. We run in the realm of 800,000 processes a week. There is about a 50-50 split between internal systems talking to it and external customers sending files in.

    The solution is on-premise.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We now have everything on a single system, which is nice. We got rid of a lot of the legacy, although we now have a legacy SEEBURGER system.

    The solution's capabilities in fulfilling our existing B2B integration requirements are brilliant. Among our multiple customers we connect to SAP systems, JDE, all the various ERPs that you can possibly get, Oracle procurement systems, etc. We haven't come across anything yet — and customers are trying to trip us up — that we can't do.

    Using the solution, we've created our own processes such that we have our own building blocks. That has made it a lot quicker to deploy interfaces. I would estimate our efficiency has increased by 50 percent as a result.

    I don't know if the solution has saved us money, but it has given greater capabilities and therefore we can make more money because we are able to connect to different customers' systems.

    What is most valuable?

    Its flexibility is the most valuable feature. We can hook up using any protocol that's out there, to anybody. We've got a good in-house team that can work out with all the parts of it, including transformations for the bespoke processes that we sometimes need.

    We're not using half of its capabilities at the moment so haven't hit the edges of it yet. We're not particularly leading edge, nor are most of our customers.

    What needs improvement?

    There are some aspects of the front-end GUI, the actual queries that you use, that could be improved. They're all very minor to be honest. It's quite a nice modular system. It fits together quite well. The changes would be to the usability of the system at the front-end. It's not the underlying processing function of the system. It's how we maintain things and being able to see what's going on.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We've been using the solution for about ten years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability is generally pretty good. We used the first version we installed and we just left it, which is where this aspect of then not doing reviews of the current technical solution came in and tripped us up a couple of times.

    The new version is very stable. We haven't had any issues at all. At one point our database disappeared for ten minutes and it didn't notice. The system stayed up, which was rather nice. It didn't cause any major outage, which it should have done. It's a well-thought-out and implemented system, from what we can see.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We have no issues with scalability at the moment. The old version was really creaking at the seams when we eventually migrated everything, or most things, off it of it. That was a bit touch and go for a couple of months. The new one has not got any issues at all.

    The usage is increasing all the time. It is the integration tool within this company. It's a central part of all the internal processes that we have. It's the glue that holds the company together as such, in a lot of cases. It is being invested in quite heavily.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Their technical support is okay. It doesn't blow you away. They will come back with an answer. It won't be the answer you would like, generally. For the first seven years, and since we got 6.3.2 in, the answer was always, "You need to upgrade." That was kind of annoying, but to be expected I suppose.

    We've been landed with a consultant from SEEBURGER who doesn't know the system inside and out, which is a little bit frustrating sometimes. Other than that, they generally come back with answers to queries reasonably quickly and accurately.

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

    We were previously using Mercator as the transformation tool, but it was very old at the time and needed replacing as it was unable to provide SFTP.

    How was the initial setup?

    The setup is getting a lot smoother. It's reasonably easy in the latest versions. Our previous system was generally Unix. We're now on to virtually a wholly Windows setup, which brings different sorts of problems. I'm actually quite impressed with the way that the SEEBURGER team is able to put out patches. It's very smooth, which is quite refreshing.

    It took about four or five months from starting the build to actually getting off of customer migration.

    We are currently migrating from 6.32 to 6.52. The initial migration was reasonably good, but we have an awful lot of customers — individual companies that we connect to — and some of them are pretty difficult to get off the old system. We're getting close to the end. There are some IT departments among our customers where they will put the initial product in for connecting to us and then everybody leaves and there will promptly be a problem. But we'll get there. We do have a plan to move to 6.7 fairly soon but we need to get rid of the old one first.

    We haven't found that many differences between 6.32 and 6.52 — the two versions that we use. We have had to change some of the transformation codes to fit in.

    For our migration, the strategy was basically to build a brand-new system, which is what we had to do anyway. There was no getting away from that. With our current system, we may well do an in-place upgrade from 6.52 to 6.7. We just have to add a few servers and then we're good to go.

    What about the implementation team?

    If we were going to jump a major version, which effectively would be an upgrade, then we would get a SEEBURGER guy in. One thing we have found over the years is that we probably do need to keep in contact with their consultants a bit more, checking with them occasionally just to make sure that we're not doing something that has been discovered as being not the ideal solution. We've been tripped up a couple of times with that. That's just something we've learned.

    We had a consultant in this year to be able to install some new aspects of the system. We will probably get them in next year to go through a review of the system to make sure that we are currently doing everything as they would recommend. They do seem to change their recommendations but don't actually get in touch with us about them sometimes.

    We're having to manage them, or certainly will, going forward.

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

    On an annual basis, our support costs, which are based on the licensing, are about £120,000.

    As you increase the size of your system, the per-CPU usage goes up. You're licensed for CPU and any modules that you may require, such as API management. The maintenance cost, going forward, is 20 percent.

    There are no additional costs to the standard licensing fees, other than consultancy, which is usually required to install a new aspect of the system.

    What other advice do I have?

    The fact is that we use it for everything. It's pretty good really.

    My advice would be: Don't hand the initial development over to SEEBURGER itself. When we first put the product in, the SEEBURGER consultants that came along wrote very complex interfaces for things that didn't really need to be that complex. We're only just removing some of those complexities, because it's not really very supportable. The best thing would be, if you're doing it the way we do it, to either hand it all over to SEEBURGER and let them look after it, or if you're keeping it in-house, get your people trained to the eyeballs so that they can do the initial system setup themselves.

    In our environment, there aren't really users, per se. We allow some users within IT to view the front-end, but that's ten people at any one time. However, as I say, the number of processes that run through it in files, that's what we consider to be our user base, and it's in the vicinity of 300,000 per week. We have a team of four to deploy and maintain the solution. We call them the integration specialists or EDI specialists.

    The fact that SEEBURGER invests a high portion of revenue into R&D, rather than promoting brand awareness, is good for us. Some local companies use SEEBURGER & they usually take it on because they need some aspect of the system that isn't provided for by any other systems.

    We have plans to use one of the solution's additional services, the API management. We use our own, in-house MFT, which we don't require to become cleverer than it currently is. It's a very simple sort of system. But the API, that's the new kid on the block, which we will start working on. We're starting on that path. That will be work that happens this year, probably when we migrate to 6.7. That's when the API management will come in, in a major way. It's not so much our customers who are driving that, it's more suppliers.


    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    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.
    VT
    Business Analyst Manager at a healthcare company with 201-500 employees
    Real User
    Top 5
    Existing mappings make onboarding our customers easier, but the portal could be improved

    Pros and Cons

    • "When orders come in they go into our ERP system directly, so there is integration there."
    • "There might be some improvements they could make to the portal, but they're not anything that stops me from working."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use it for our EDI. 

    It's primarily for receiving orders from some of our customers and we then issue invoices to those customers via EDI. We also dialogue with our logistics companies who will be shipping the orders to the customers. We send messages to our logistics companies telling them about new products or batch changes or an order which needs to be sent out to this customer by that date. That logistics company will then confirm back to us when they've done so and that kicks off another process, which is the invoice. It's end-to-end in a lot of ways.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It routes electronic messaging from other companies. The benefit of that is that there's no human intervention, so there is less opportunity for errors. That's in contrast to receiving something by fax and entering it. Here, it's going straight into your system.

    SEEBURGER has all the maps for a lot of our customers, a relationship with many of them already. So the onboarding is relatively easy. That helps a lot.

    We use SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) for getting orders from our customers, sending invoices out, and to have a dialogue with our warehouses. Using EDI means that there are more system-to-system interactions. That means that the people in our offices have more time to do more value-added activities, rather than just entering orders into the system.

    We don't use it so that we can reduce headcount. It's more about being more efficient, adding more value to the business. Rather than sitting there mindlessly entering in orders, that is done automatically so we can use the resources elsewhere.

    What is most valuable?

    In terms of onboarding our new customers to create an EDI relationship, SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) is generally very good.

    It just works. We get a monthly report from them so we can see how it's all operating. I keep an eye on that report, but it's just on a very high level. If there's any failure, we usually get some kind of email communication from them saying, "We had this downtime, some messages might not get through." We also have a portal that we can look at to see if our messages have transmitted successfully and been received successfully. We have people monitoring our messages and if there's anything that has failed then they're looking into why.

    Our customers send us orders by EDI. When orders come in they go into our ERP system directly, so there is integration there.

    Another very good feature is that when they're doing proactive maintenance, they always give us a lot of notice.

    What needs improvement?

    There might be some improvements they could make to the portal, but they're not anything that stops me from working.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've been at the company for three years and we've be using it since then. I'm sure it was in use way before that as well, but I don't know the exact length of time.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It doesn't happen that often at all, but occasionally we get a message, such as this one from a few weeks ago: "SEEBURGER Cloud and Managed Services operation team has recognized a critical incident, which delayed the message processing within the SEEBURGER Cloud Service. We are handling this as Priority-One." But this was the first such message in a very long time.

    I don't think there's a stability problem. I really don't tend to get many issues. The agreement we have with them is 99.5 percent uptime.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    At the moment, it's doing what we want it to do. Going forward, once we start looking at our future, we might think about other things you might want to do with it. But at the moment it's serving our purposes.

    We have hundreds of customers but we don't have EDI with hundreds of customers because those customers need to have the ability to do EDI too. 

    EDI is a very good efficiency tool and there are always plans to increase its usage, but there's a cost involved with that. The cost isn't just the cost with SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS). There would potentially be changes to our ERP system. Each customer has its own requirements as well, so each onboarding of a customer is not a "vanilla" process or the same as it was with the previous customer.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Technical support is fine. We log a ticket and we get some kind of response back. It's different from what we used to have when we had a dedicated business partner who, if we had a problem, would be contacted first. They've changed their model in the last two or three years and there's now a service desk you contact and they handle it. It has gone from that very personal relationship to a more helpdesk-type of thing. And whilst that's not a massive issue if you've got all the backup of the paperwork and the history behind it, when we had that one dedicated person, that person knew pretty much everything about our system.

    When I first joined, there was one business partner we dealt with regularly, and now it's that service desk. We have lost that personalization a little bit. There hasn't been a massive issue with having the service desk. And when there was that one, dedicated person, there would be a single point of failure. For example, if that person left then we'd lose all that knowledge anyway. So I understand what they're doing. But with a helpdesk, sometimes you have to explain a lot of things over and over again because they have different people dealing with different tickets.

    While you might want that one person, you also need people with that technical background. The service desk provides that technical background. I understand where they're coming from, but I did enjoy that relationship and being able to pick up the phone to one person and say, "We're having this issue."

    What was our ROI?

    Return on investment for us on this is the greater efficiency.

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

    There is a standard agreement for the messaging every month. But if we make a change request — a change to a mapping or something like that — then there is a fixed price per hour. We get the quotes for those types of things from the service desk. We would then approve that quote before they started any work.

    What other advice do I have?

    My advice would be to do it. But do not underestimate the time it will take to implement it. Just because SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) may have a map with a customer, it's not a, "Yep, switch it on," and it will automatically link up. When I first started working with EDI I had no clue about it. People said, "Yeah, it's fine. It works like this." But I hit a lot of stumbling blocks, primarily because what you have to do to satisfy your internal requirements and regulations may not match up with other companies' requirements. 

    We are pharmaceutical company so we have to have a lot of testing, a lot of evidence, to prove that the messages we sent are received in the way we want them to be received. Whereas for some other companies, they just want to do one test and go live with it. So my advice is to be patient and try and work through all the stumbling blocks. It's not as easy as people think, but it can be done. Once it's done, it's easy, once you've gone live.

    The biggest thing we've learned is that there are not many barriers to using it. Persevere with it. Although each customer is different, you can find a way around it. It might take some time, it might take some effort, but it can be done. That is the biggest lesson I've taken from it.

    SEEBURGER was very helpful to me in bringing up my knowledge on this topic. I am grateful to them and they're always available. They are a good business partner for our company so, generally, I'm happy.

    In terms of users, it's our IT department that monitors the EDI messages, so there are at least four or five people there who use SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS). And we have the people who get involved with any projects related to EDI, so that might be another three or four people. And there are probably some people in our manufacturing department, maybe another 12 people, who are actually looking at the messages. But some of those people would not be looking at the messages in the SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS) portal. Only be the IT department does that. Other people look at the success or failure of messages in our ERP environment.

    Regarding the fact that SEEBURGER invests a high proportion of revenue into R&D rather than promoting brand awareness, I don't really have any opinion on that. It's up to them, if that's what they want to do. For me, what's important is to make sure that my messages get through and there are no issues with my customers.

    Overall, I would rate the solution at seven out of ten. We've lost a little bit of that personalization — someone who might know our business more. We're dealing with anybody in the service desk area. In terms of price, it's not massively cheaper. But I like that we've got an account manager. If I need to call him he's available. He gives me good information, so it's not like I've got no one to call. Overall, it does what it says on the box.

    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.
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