What is IDOC ALE-EDI and Features ?

Introduction to ALE IDOCS and Concepts of ALE IDOC and EDI Technologies in SAP, benifits of ALE IDOC's in SAP

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What is IDOC?

IDOC is acronym for Intermediate Document, which is a standard data format of SAP to interchange data between two systems. IDOC enables connection between different applications using a message based interface.

Features and Advantages of IDOC
  • Structured data exchange.
  • Automatic posting of data in application documents.
  • Error handling.
  • Reduction of very complex structures to simple structure.
  • Reduce processing time.
  • Standard communication.
  • Availability of data in electronic form.
  • Flexible business process by connecting to multiple systems.
  • Real-time data transfer between different applications.


Application link enabling is a mechanism through which multiple SAP R/3 systems can communicate each other. Integration of distributed systems is possible with application link enabling.


EDI stands for Electronic Data Interchange, which is used to exchange business documents between different systems with a standard data format over a communication network, the systems can be SAP - SAP or SAP - Non-SAP.

Types of processes of EDI/ALE EDI/ALE has two kinds of processes
  • Inbound Process
  • Outbound Process

What is inbound process and how it works?

Inbound process is the process of transferring data into a SAP system from an SAP R/3 system of Non-SAP system. The following steps will takes place in inbound IDOC process.

Structure of IDOC

Inbound IDOC process happens in the following steps:
  1. EDI converted to IDOC
  2. IDOC passed to application
  3. Application processes data
  4. Updates status to IDOC

What is outbound IDOC and hot it works?

Outbound IDOC is the process of transferring data from an SAP system to another SAP system or to Non-SAP system.

The following steps will takes place in outbound IDOC process.

  1. IDOC Generated
  2. IDOC transferred SAP to EDI layer
  3. IDOC converted to EDI format
  4. Data transferred to partner
  5. New status will be updated

Structure of IDOC

Basically IDOC flows with three types of records
  1. Control Record
  2. Data Record
  3. Status Record

Control Record

Every IDOC has only one control record, it carries only one record with information related to port, partner of sender and receiver etc.

Data Record

This is the record which carries actual business data in the form of segment's example Material Master Data, Customer master data etc.

There may be n number of data records for an IDOC.

Status Record

This is the record, which stores the status of IDOC processing stages ex: application document posted, Document contains errors etc.

There may be n number of status records for an IDOC.

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