Integration tools are a critical component of most ERP solutions - in fact, as the functionality to automate the business processes inside your organisation become commonplace in most solutions there are really only a few remaining areas where products can differentiate themselves.
Some integration tools are designed to be used by your existing end users and in SAP Business One these are tools like the Query Designer, Formatted search and the Data Transfer Workbench or DTW.
Other tools require a greater level of technical skill and capability such as the DI-API (Data Interface Application Programming Interface) which enables you to write your own software with tools like Microsoft Visual Studio and languages such as Java but these are definitely tools for the experienced programmer.
Other tools exist such as the SAP Business One Integration Framework which is designed to enable consultants and experience technical users to build workflow based integrations between SAP Business One and a number of other solutions - these are commonly referred to in integration scenarios as "endpoints".
But how do you learn these tools without spending large sums of money to gain the pre-requisite knowledge to make them work their magic?
Well, for some time SAP have been publishing courses on their HANA technology on their Open Learning site at open.sap.com - now the very first SAP Business One related course has been published and its focused on the SAP Business One Integration Framework and its a free course available to anyone that wants to sign up.
Of course you'll need some pre-requisite skills and for this course they are :
General understanding of IT
Basic knowledge of SQL
Knowledge of XML/XSLT
And of course, SAP Business One knowledge is useful
The course runs over a 5 week period and requires you to attend 4 hours of course content each week so its not overwhelmingly time consuming and you'll need access to an SAP Business One deployment with the B1if components installed.
Take a look at the course, learn the Integration Framework and then go out and apply your new skills to build an even better SAP Business deployment for your organisation - its free and the functionality is robust and that makes it a great tool to use.