For once hype could be a good thing. Well it is if you’re reading the latest Gartner – Hype Cycle for Application Infrastructure published last month, in July; because in it you will see how two important technology trends – the areas of BGS (sorry, another TLA for you to learn – B2B Gateway Software (and it’s even a nested TLA!)), and Managed File Transfer (MFT) have now made it out of the Trough of Disillusionment and up onto the Slope of Enlightenment. Why do I suddenly feel like John Bunyan’s Pilgrim?
Anyway, the key points that Gartner identifies are that centrally managing B2B interactions provides:
- Economies of scale and deeper insight into the technical aspects of data integration, transaction delivery, process integration and SOA interoperability, such as consolidating, tracking, storing and auditing files, messages, process events, acknowledgments, receipts, and errors and exceptions.
The B2B communications process with your external business partners, suppliers, etc. is not a static process and you need to be able to have visibility of these communications for not only regulatory compliance and auditability issues but also to manage the dynamic process.
- A single point through which to troubleshoot B2B integration issues.
B2B Gateways are now a mature technology and like standards most organisations use a number of them. Integrating them provides significant benefit and enables the organisation to have visibility of their business relationships and transactions and also know where to go to when things go wrong and need managing as they definitely will.
- A central, reusable repository for external business partner profiles and Web services APIs. This is particularly valuable when dealing with a large number of external business partners and cloud APIs, and when multiple business units interact with the same partners or cloud services.
The number of business partners we all have to deal with is increasing rapidly as we outsource, subcontract, farm-out and generally rely more on external specialist organisations. Having visibility of these relationships and making the most from new integration methodologies and processes can generate great savings and also give visibility of our business exposure to these suppliers.
- Support for the myriad data formats, transport and communication protocols, and security standards.
As the old saying goes “I love standards, there are so many to choose from.” Well our business processes are not getting any simpler; data standards are under constant change and revision with data formats becoming increasingly complex. So to be able to handle not just a few but all key formats and to be able to reuse previous transformation experience, utilise already developed libraries and lever new complex hierarchical data structures makes the difference between a stove-piped and soon to be redundant system and one that is flexible and supports new and ever changing business requirements.
As one of the vendors identified that can actively compete with offerings positioned to address the broader set of usage scenarios, Informatica’s B2B Data Exchange solution not only supports the B2B functional requirements an organisation will have but also integrates this process and data into the wider internal data integration platform and management process. (Look at this presentation for the new 9.5 functionality of key new featues.)
So now the reality not hype of B2B solutions can be delivered.
Sources: Gartner Hype Cycle for Application Infrastructure, 2012. Published: 24 July 2012
Analyst: Jess Thompson
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