I’ve helped a few customers with the setup of the external catalog and often the procurement team love the concept of an external catalog because it avoids the work of managing catalogs. For small items, items that change price often, items that require configuration, this is probably the best to allow employees to search and configure directly from the suppliers site.
You might have seen this work in some of my previous posts but the setup may require some technical knowledge to get the data transfer between yourself and the supplier.
The data transfer is typically handled by a protocol called OCI or Open Catalog Interface. OCI has been around for a while now and was implemented in SAP’s SRM solution. The 4.0 version of the protocol has been around since about 2003. You can find the 5.0 version of the specification here which was updated around 2012.
AX 2012 comes with a sample class that implement the basics the OCI protocol but it’s important to understand how it all hangs together because you may need to implement your own class to handle a specific supplier’s shopping basket data coming back.
So now that I’ve given some background, consider this part zero of a series of posts on how the data moves between the AX procurement site and the supplies site and how to work with the return data.
PS: Here are some previous posts on the functional usage of External catalogs