|By Navdeep Sidhu||
|August 24, 2011 01:45 PM EDT||
If you are in IT, there is good chance that you are maintaining multiple B2B integration systems for data exchange and translation. Every IT leader has considered consolidating these products into a single B2B suite to reduce costs and improve supply chain agility. Historically, each B2B system has acted like a "black box," providing little visibility and integration into the IT governance tools.
This article outlines the benefits of a service-oriented architecture (SOA)-enabled approach to B2B and why it's a better long-term strategy.
As more and more companies adopt SOA and realize the importance of governance, it's becoming critical to include the B2B suites into the SOA fabric and govern them as any other IT system. A well-thought-out SOA-based approach to B2B not only reduces the B2B expense but also provides SOA benefits such as improved governance, compliance, reuse and the ability to extend B2B processes to other IT applications.
As supply chains become more complex, the B2B complexity and volumes grow every year and meeting Service Level Agreements (SLAs) is becoming increasingly important. At the same time, the security, audit and compliance needs from B2B systems have increased. To meet all these challenges and minimize disruptions to their supply chain, companies typically plan on a B2B gateway implementation with the aim of consolidating all of their B2B projects into one application.
The focus of consolidation into one B2B application typically revolves around enabling the protocols and EDI/XML standards in use, as well as the ability to process the data volumes. The other factors such as visibility, extensibility, architectural fit and the product in question's ability to fit in the IT governance model are largely ignored, resulting in the continuance of B2B systems being their own islands of functionality with little visibility from the outside world.
Today's B2B Challenge
For years B2B software has been delivering on its promise to help organizations reduce the cost of doing business. B2B solutions have been used to automate transactions between customers, suppliers, partners and marketplaces, and to reduce costly overhead, improve transaction reliability and improve the efficiency of business-to-business processes.
But as IT complexities and the business demands made on IT have increased, a whole new set of expectations has emerged. Organizations increasingly realize that their B2B operations cannot be kept separate from their internal processes. They want to integrate B2B interaction with their business processes to enhance productivity and improve reliability both in IT and for the business users who own the B2B processes. They not only want the lower costs that this higher level of integration enables, but also to capture the significant business value of increased operational and competitive agility.
Unfortunately, B2B solutions have not all evolved quickly enough to meet these higher expectations. Common problems include the following for many organizations:
- The solution does not allow reuse of existing IT intelligence and assets, severely limiting its business value. Further, this inflexibility forces a point-to-point solution in an increasingly heterogeneous IT environment.
- The current B2B solution lacks flexibility, leading to higher costs and an inability to respond to business demands. For example, a legacy translation/mapping product might not integrate well with other B2B or IT initiatives, leading to higher costs in mapping and translation and greatly hampering business agility.
- The current solution cannot provide visibility into B2B transactions. In essence, the solution is a black box, keeping IT operations and the business from accessing and leveraging B2B data. The result: increased operations costs, lower customer/partner satisfaction and higher barriers to supporting business initiatives.
- The current solution is a point-to-point solution that fits poorly into the overall architectural vision and requires a dedicated set of skills and expertise to manage. The organization then faces the ongoing challenge of maintaining these proprietary, inefficient point-to-point systems.
- The current solution might be going out of support soon, forcing the organization to make an upgrade decision.
As a result, many CIOs, directors and VPs of supply chain now find themselves at a crossroads. What's the best path forward? How should they address obstacles that their current B2B solutions put in the way of attaining the ultimate promise of B2B: comprehensive end-to-end integration of internal operations with customers, partners and suppliers? Increasingly, they are finding that the answer lies in B2B gateway software built on a foundation of service-oriented architecture.
The Power of Service-Based Integration
SOA delivers what organizations need to support the integration of heterogeneous B2B environments with many internal applications, trading partner applications and databases and can enable fast, accurate information exchange with those trading partners. Unlike traditional point-to-point integration approaches, SOA lets you service-enable disparate applications and orchestrate the services across the enterprise and the trading network. By surfacing functionality from existing systems and applications as services, you can avoid a dangerous ‘rip and replace' approach. Organizations can also build new services as needed and manage them across stakeholders and for their entire lifecycle.
With this comprehensive approach to SOA-enabled B2B, users can:
- Leverage SOA to align overall IT processes with the needs of today's increasingly partner-centric business world.
- Quickly and efficiently develop new solutions while extending existing IT investments by reusing or replacing as many or as few parts of legacy B2B services as needed. For example, building a new visibility service on top of an existing translation service.
- Govern B2B systems using an SOA infrastructure and obtain a single view of business across all system and information silos both inside and outside the enterprise.
- Take advantage of the various options for connecting B2B services to different parts of an organization, including service-oriented, event-driven or enterprise application integration.
In addition to addressing those relatively rare cases in which an organization is creating a new B2B environment from the ground up, SOA-enabled B2B solutions can help organizations convert the IT challenges of their existing B2B technologies into significant business benefits.
For example, such solutions are ideal for organizations that want to:
- Modernize legacy B2B systems, including mainframe Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) systems, EDI translators, point-to-point integration solutions, and dependencies on Value Added Networks, which can be expensive because they charge by message volume.
- Replace legacy EDI systems such as mainframe EDI connectors and older standalone implementations that now require a complex and costly upgrade.
- Consolidate and standardize multiple B2B projects (often resulting from silo organizations or M&A) across the enterprise into a single B2B platform, enabling re-use and reducing cost.
- Incorporate SOA architectural approaches into existing B2B infrastructures.
From a Cost Center to a Profit Center
Too often, IT has been seen as a cost center rather than as a powerful engine of efficiency and a source of significant business advantage. B2B operations that do not provide full integration of internal business processes and data with external interactions only perpetuate that view of IT. SOA-enabled integration helps IT shake off that undeserved reputation and further evolve from a cost center to a profit center by:
- On boarding trading partners more efficiently and connecting them with relevant internal processes.
- Improving the accuracy and efficiency of interactions with suppliers, distributors, trading partners and customers - eliminating costly errors and delays.
- Reducing the cost of ownership by reducing the need for point-to-point integrations.
- Leveraging existing IT investments by service-enabling them and reusing services.
- Providing real-time information exchange, increasing the speed at which the organization can do business.
Further, trading partners now expect "frictionless" interactions that don't require manual intervention or cumbersome rework every time changes are made in transaction documents or the like. SOA-enabled B2B gives IT the business the ability to stay ahead of those ever-rising expectations, which bring CIOs, directors of IT, VPs of supply chain, and B2B architects who have recognized the need for SOA-enabled integration to another crossroads: which product to choose.
The Right B2B Solution
The right B2B is built on an integrated SOA suite, seamlessly providing access to enterprise service bus capabilities, as well as to business process management, monitoring, analytics, governance, composite applications, legacy applications and databases.
This foundation provides:
- A single, centralized gateway for all B2B integration, spanning EDI, XML and Flat File document formats, enabling the organization to integrate 100% of its trading partners with a single solution.
- Support for all major B2B standards and protocols such as AS2, ebXML, X12, and EDIFACT, and vertical industry standards such as Rosettanet, SWIFT, CIDX, PIDX and HIPAA.
- A proven platform for even the largest, most complex B2B integrations, supporting transaction levels in the billions and connections to tens of thousands of partners and suppliers.
- Integration with a governance platform, which combines a standards-based registry and repository with policy management, simplifying the reuse of services and the automation of SOA processes, as well as helping with the complexities and interdependencies of the organization's SOA and B2B networks.
- Best-of-breed back-end integration, business process management, SOA governance, monitoring and business activity monitoring.
Whether an organization is modernizing legacy systems, seeking to replace a previous standalone solution, or consolidating and standardizing multiple B2B projects across the enterprise, the right software solution can help IT deliver the business benefits of next-generation integration now.
Adding Value in Tough Times - and Beyond
Like all decision-makers today, IT leaders face an additional dilemma: how to respond to some of the most difficult economic conditions in memory. Many organizations are trying to cut costs but also know that they need to grow incremental revenue to get through the current difficulty. SOA-enabled B2B integration addresses both sides of that complex equation. On the one hand, the best solution addresses costs through reuse of services, the retirement of inefficient and unwieldy patchwork systems and the ability to do more with less. On the other hand, the same solution addresses the revenue side with its unrivalled ability to rapidly support critical business initiatives. As the economy gains momentum, those companies that are already equipped with state-of-the-art SOA-enabled B2B integration capabilities will quickly outdistance their less agile competitors.
Accuracy, efficiency, and speed in interacting with trading partners have never been more important. The key to achieving those goals lies in SOA enablement, with its ability to make possible the integration of B2B processes with internal processes and help improve visibility of partner transactions across the entire supply chain.
Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York June 9-11 will find fresh new content in a new track called PaaS | Containers & Microservices Containers are not being considered for the first time by the cloud community, but a current era of re-consideration has pushed them to the top of the cloud agenda. With the launch of Docker's initial release in March of 2013, interest was revved up several notches. Then late last...
Mar. 28, 2015 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,143
The WebRTC Summit 2014 New York, to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 16th International Cloud Expo, @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit.
Mar. 28, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,385
SOA Software has changed its name to Akana. With roots in Web Services and SOA Governance, Akana has established itself as a leader in API Management and is expanding into cloud integration as an alternative to the traditional heavyweight enterprise service bus (ESB). The company recently announced that it achieved more than 90% year-over-year growth. As Akana, the company now addresses the evolution and diversification of SOA, unifying security, management, and DevOps across SOA, APIs, microservices, and more.
Mar. 28, 2015 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,987
After making a doctor’s appointment via your mobile device, you receive a calendar invite. The day of your appointment, you get a reminder with the doctor’s location and contact information. As you enter the doctor’s exam room, the medical team is equipped with the latest tablet containing your medical history – he or she makes real time updates to your medical file. At the end of your visit, you receive an electronic prescription to your preferred pharmacy and can schedule your next appointment.
Mar. 28, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 546
GENBAND has announced that SageNet is leveraging the Nuvia platform to deliver Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) to its large base of retail and enterprise customers. Nuvia’s cloud-based solution provides SageNet’s customers with a full suite of business communications and collaboration tools. Two large national SageNet retail customers have recently signed up to deploy the Nuvia platform and the company will continue to sell the service to new and existing customers. Nuvia’s capabilities include HD voice, video, multimedia messaging, mobility, conferencing, Web collaboration, deskt...
Mar. 28, 2015 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,393
The Open Compute Project is a collective effort by Facebook and a number of players in the datacenter industry to bring lessons learned from the social media giant's giant IT deployment to the rest of the world. Datacenters account for 3% of global electricity consumption – about the same as all of Switzerland or the Czech Republic -- according to people I met at the recent Open Compute Summit in San Jose. With increasing mobility at the edge of the cloud and vast new dataflows being predicted with the growth of the Internet of Things (and The Coming Age of Many Zettabytes) in the near...
Mar. 28, 2015 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,778
The list of ‘new paradigm’ technologies that now surrounds us appears to be at an all time high. From cloud computing and Big Data analytics to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and the Internet of Things (IoT), today we have to deal with what the industry likes to call ‘paradigm shifts’ at every level of IT. This is disruption; of course, we understand that – change is almost always disruptive.
Mar. 27, 2015 08:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,003
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cisco, the worldwide leader in IT that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cisco makes amazing things happen by connecting the unconnected. Cisco has shaped the future of the Internet by becoming the worldwide leader in transforming how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Cisco and our partners are building the platform for the Internet of Everything by connecting the...
Mar. 27, 2015 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 5,120
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
Mar. 27, 2015 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,672
Temasys has announced senior management additions to its team. Joining are David Holloway as Vice President of Commercial and Nadine Yap as Vice President of Product. Over the past 12 months Temasys has doubled in size as it adds new customers and expands the development of its Skylink platform. Skylink leads the charge to move WebRTC, traditionally seen as a desktop, browser based technology, to become a ubiquitous web communications technology on web and mobile, as well as Internet of Things compatible devices.
Mar. 27, 2015 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,712
SYS-CON Events announced today that robomq.io will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. robomq.io is an interoperable and composable platform that connects any device to any application. It helps systems integrators and the solution providers build new and innovative products and service for industries requiring monitoring or intelligence from devices and sensors.
Mar. 27, 2015 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,348
Docker is an excellent platform for organizations interested in running microservices. It offers portability and consistency between development and production environments, quick provisioning times, and a simple way to isolate services. In his session at DevOps Summit at 16th Cloud Expo, Shannon Williams, co-founder of Rancher Labs, will walk through these and other benefits of using Docker to run microservices, and provide an overview of RancherOS, a minimalist distribution of Linux designed expressly to run Docker. He will also discuss Rancher, an orchestration and service discovery platf...
Mar. 27, 2015 04:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,362
Sonus Networks introduced the Sonus WebRTC Services Solution, a virtualized Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC) offer, purpose-built for the Cloud. The WebRTC Services Solution provides signaling from WebRTC-to-WebRTC applications and interworking from WebRTC-to-Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), delivering advanced real-time communications capabilities on mobile applications and on websites, which are accessible via a browser.
Mar. 27, 2015 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,677
SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the leading innovator in recurring revenue, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Proven by the world’s most demanding enterprises, including AAA NCNU, Constant Contact, Falck, Hootsuite, Pitney Bowes, Telekom Denmark, and VMware, Aria helps enterprises grow their recurring revenue businesses. With Aria’s end-to-end active monetization platform, global brands can get to market faster with a wider variety of products and services, while maximizin...
Mar. 27, 2015 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,518
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vitria Technology, Inc. will exhibit at SYS-CON’s @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Vitria will showcase the company’s new IoT Analytics Platform through live demonstrations at booth #330. Vitria’s IoT Analytics Platform, fully integrated and powered by an operational intelligence engine, enables customers to rapidly build and operationalize advanced analytics to deliver timely business outcomes for use cases across the industrial, enterprise, and consumer segments.
Mar. 27, 2015 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,115
SYS-CON Events announced today that Akana, formerly SOA Software, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo® New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Akana’s comprehensive suite of API Management, API Security, Integrated SOA Governance, and Cloud Integration solutions helps businesses accelerate digital transformation by securely extending their reach across multiple channels – mobile, cloud and Internet of Things. Akana enables enterprises to share data as APIs, connect and integrate applications, drive part...
Mar. 27, 2015 03:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,385
SYS-CON Events announced today that Solgenia will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Solgenia is the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions. Designed to “Bridge the Gap” between Personal and Professional Social, Mobile and Cloud user experiences, our solutions help large and medium-sized organizations dr...
Mar. 27, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,681
SYS-CON Events announced today that Liaison Technologies, a leading provider of data management and integration cloud services and solutions, has been named "Silver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Liaison Technologies is a recognized market leader in providing cloud-enabled data integration and data management solutions to break down complex information barriers, enabling enterprises to make smarter decisions, faster.
Mar. 27, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,369
Cloud is not a commodity. And no matter what you call it, computing doesn’t come out of the sky. It comes from physical hardware inside brick and mortar facilities connected by hundreds of miles of networking cable. And no two clouds are built the same way. SoftLayer gives you the highest performing cloud infrastructure available. One platform that takes data centers around the world that are full of the widest range of cloud computing options, and then integrates and automates everything. Join SoftLayer on June 9 at 16th Cloud Expo to learn about IBM Cloud's SoftLayer platform, explore se...
Mar. 27, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,535
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Mar. 27, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,927