They Find Higher Value Things to Do

John Thielens, Chief Architect, Cloud Services, Axway

“One of the things that people have been doing with Axway solutions over the years has been to study, analyze, integrate, and automate, to the greatest extent possible, the business processes, especially B2B or business integration processes. This has obvious benefits in terms of efficiency and cost to operate the system. But it might leave you thinking, ‘Well, gee, what do we do with all those people?'”

Why “Auto-Configurable” Endpoints?

Joe Fisher, EVP Worldwide Marketing, Axway

“…think about the quick time to response, the ability to push content to a configurable endpoint so it can adapt and change to the demanding needs of the enterprise or of the partner ecosystem. And this can be done readily fast. So if it is autoconfigurable, all of a sudden you’ve increased the intelligence of the entire network and of your business ecosystem.”

Enabling a Partner Community with WebEDI

Joe Fisher, EVP Worldwide Marketing, Axway

“A lot of organizations, especially supply-chain oriented, have built out EDI infrastructure to communicate with partners. As the Internet becomes more prevalent, as we think about the last mile and how do we connect with not only our key partners but our second- and third-tier partners and bring them onto the Internet, one of the most cost-advantageous ways to do that is through WebEDI.”

A Process, Not an Event: Endpoint Enablement and Community Management

Willy Leichter, Director, Product and Solutions Marketing, Axway

“I think you have to step back a little bit when you’re considering your endpoints, particularly with a large community of users. You have to think of it as a process and not a single event. Really the problems when you push out a large community, a large group of endpoints, start almost immediately, in that the minute you get something out there, it becomes out of date.”

Solve That Last Mile

Ulf Persson, Director, Product and Solutions Marketing, Axway

Take the typical ERP problem. Then, consider the mid-market vendors selling, for example, transportation and warehouse management systems.

The way they offer these systems today, due to the trend, they are offering their ERP as a hosted solution, an on-premise solution, or a combination of the two—kind of a “hybrid” offer. In each of these scenarios, for these vendors to sell the bigger value, and to address the question, “How do I manage my transport management and logistics end-to-end?”, they need a piece of an “application” that can help them manage their trading partners and suppliers. That’s a typical problem that I see out there.

Today, application providers, enterprise resource planning providers, and CRM providers need the last mile so they can provide an end-to-end solution to offer their IP, their business know-how, to solve a certain business problem, but also have the ability to integrate that solution with trading partners, suppliers, or internal-type applications that they may run into when they deploy their applications.

ERP providers today—you have big players and smaller players. Maybe they are required to implement some kind of production planning system, so they come in and they realize that there are many other legacy applications, and they all need to be integrated—financial systems, order management applications, general ledger, accounts payable, and others.

A challenge here is answering the following questions: “How do they do that? What does it mean? Why is it important? How does the combination of traditional ERP implementation and some kind of integration technology—B2B, MFT—work together to solve that last mile of the problem, and to actually provide an end-to-end solution to a customer, internally and  externally?”

One answer, some may say, is to build point-to-point integrations from their systems, from the ERP, to these applications. But, long term, that will probably never work; it will be very difficult to support and maintain, as well as very expensive. Plus, you wouldn’t get the right level of business visibility. So that’s another area where integration software—and, if it’s of an external nature, B2B integration software—is used to help glue things together and provide a real answer to that question.

One more scenario.

Say you have a large enterprise, a global business—supply chain, healthcare—and they have, over the years, been using one of the larger ERPs—SAP or Oracle or something similar—and then, all of a sudden, there is a change in the version, which may affect some of the older APIs that they’ve used to build connectivity with trading partners, internal applications, or other types of systems. Introducing that upgrade would mean that they would need to change the interfaces.

Never fear: B2B software with MFT capabilities will govern that process, and instead of changing all of these point-to-point interfaces over and over again because they’re doing an upgrade of the main ERP, the integration technology alone will solve the problem in one fell swoop.

Cater to All the Flows

A commentary by Antoine Rizk, VP, B2B Program, Product and Solutions Marketing, Axway, on the article “Consolidation, Virtualization Top State Government CIO Priorities”

“Consolidation is an important measure for IT savings. Not only for IT savings and cost-cutting but also it brings value and adds security, which the survey doesn’t say. It adds security because consolidation makes data flows centralized and governments more efficient. What they need to do when they look at consolidation is make sure that, at least for middleware, make sure that the consolidated platform can cater to all the flows which they see in government administration.”

Self Service Within a Community

Ulf Persson, Director, Product and Solutions Marketing, Axway

“Let’s say that we have the scenario where a bank wants to offer a new service, maybe a new payment service to its corporate clients or customers or maybe needs to do settlements with other banks to satisfy a customer. Today, there are a few problems. There is a challenge due to the use of many applications and systems to really have an automated process where the bank, so to say, can run this as a new payment service campaign, maybe send me — responsible for the corporate client — send me an email (and) introduce me to this. But the challenge today is that all of the applications, both on the customer side and the bank side, are not integrated. They’re not automated. The process is not automated across these applications.”

What is the Optimal Business Process?

Joe Fisher, EVP Worldwide Marketing, Axway

“Many times, what happens is that we don’t think about enablement, and we put technology in place and it actually becomes a dam or a force field against what the business is trying to accomplish. Typically, it’s growing top-line revenue, controlling costs, protecting the organization from compliance violations, keeping sensitive information secure, (and) protection of intellectual property. There’s a lot of different things we try to do. And the key thing is making sure that we always keep in mind the concept of enablement. How do we enable the business…to grow faster, but within the protected confines that are put up around the organization?”

Consolidation is a Worthwhile Endeavor

Antoine Rizk, VP, B2B Program, Product and Solutions Marketing, Axway

“Using the same B2B gateway for managing the EDI as well as the financial flow, thereby consolidating the management of the full order-to-cash cycle, makes sense, and really brings value. A corporation’s bottom line is directly impacted by its ability to synchronize financial chain information flow and supply chain information flow. So this consolidation of all flows and interaction patterns will reduce TCO and will enable you to have better control over both system and business-service governance.”

B2B Refreshment

Antoine Rizk, VP, B2B Program, Product and Solutions Marketing, Axway

“B2B consolidation can cover a variety of business cases. Replacing several on-premise B2B gateways with a single B2B platform, or even a single B2B on-demand solution. Or the other way around: for example, replacing a VAN provider with an on-premise B2B solution. B2B consolidation offers return on investment. It reduces IT costs: personnel, planning, organization, acquistion, delivery and support, monitoring. Evaluation costs. It reduces your business costs, costs due to an error…in message file delivery, downtime hours, fees and penalties per missed SLA, audits, losing customers, data breach penalties. It increases your business value.”

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