B2B Integration is Strengthening Oil and Natural Gas Transactions

In a recently-implemented tripartite B2B integration effort, Numaligarh Refinery, Limited has streamlined crude oil supply and invoicing with other oil companies, including Oil India, Limited and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Limited.

Coordinating crude oil transactions via B2B “will enable to NRL cover transactions worth over [$1.7 billion] per annum with OIL and over [$645 million] with ONGC into the ambit of IT-enabled settlement,” according to a statement given at the implementation’s roll-out event in Nazira, Assam.

The increased automation will increase transparency and business efficiency, the statement said. NRL has implemented similar B2B partnerships recently with several petroleum marketing companies, and has implemented e-payment with suppliers and service providers.

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Retailers Need Managed File Transfer(MFT) to Secure Data

Retail has an information security problem. Hundreds of retailers have been hacked in the last decade and latest reports suggest that it could be just the top of the iceberg. More than 1,000 U.S. retailers could be infected with malicious software lurking in their cash register computers, allowing hackers to steal customer financial data, the Homeland Security Department said Friday. Information security is a big challenge for any company but even more so for retail. Credit card theft wary customers may stay away from stores and impact bottom line. Earlier this year Target blamed the data breach for 46% slide in earnings.

Information security is a complex and tricky topic and one of the technologies which improves data security tremendously is Managed File Transfer(MFT). Retailers store and move quite a bit of data between stores and central IT. Additionally they have to exchange lot of data with the suppliers and other partners. Managed File Transfer (MFT) is a class of file transfer systems that use state of art security technology to centralize data transfers in a single system. This protects unauthorized access of data and limits exposure as file transfers happen through one central system. Since this central system uses state of art security and encryption to protect data both at rest and in-transit, it protects against hackers.

Managed File Transfer is finding its use in several sectors in Banking/Finance and Healthcare sectors. As more and more records become digital e.g. EHR (electronic health records), there is an increasing need to encrypt this data and protect it when it is exchanged.  Retailers need to review their security infrastructure to improve security on both ends – the Point of Sale (POS) and enterprise IT side. MFT can provide a secure backbone for enterprise data and work with secure POS systems to keep hackers at bay. Multi channel retail requires that data from each channel be secured and MFT can be the most important system in the middle that secures customer and financial data.

As customer go out and shop this labor day, hope retailers learn from the past breaches and take steps to protect shopper data.

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Energy & Utilities B2B Integration Has Become Mission-Critical

The electric utilities industry is undergoing a revolution, according to Europe’s trade association Eurelectric.

“The EU power sector is going through one of the most profound changes in its history,” the report stated. Strategy consultant Jesse Jenkins, in noting the report, speculated that Europe’s need for revolution reflects conditions in the energy industry world-wide, the message being, “they must evolve or die.”

Four major trends are reshaping the power sector, he said: the growth of renewables, a more decentralized system, foundations of the smart grid, and retail competition/new services.

The Eurelectric report cites several evolutionary improvements in services that are critical to the future, including improved system flexibility: “A market involving B2B [business to business] customers is already emerging and is likely to extend to the B2C segment through two-way digital communication enabled by smart grids and the increased penetration of smart appliances and home control technologies.”

The report concluded that real evolution in the industry requires not just technological innovation, but new innovative business models. A successful example is Entsog, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas, which is smoothly facilitating the integration of trading across borders by leveraging the AS4 interface standard.

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Poor B2B Integration Has Serious Impact on Financial Partnerships in England

A lack of solid B2B integration between financial institutions in the UK has had a negative impact on profits and public confidence, according to a study by Freeform Dynamics, an analysis firm.

Over a third of the financial organizations surveyed, 35 percent, reported that they qualify as “bottom-tier” B2B performers, the study said. Failed updates between partners, visibility issues and lack of motivation to improve were cited as key problems.

Industry integration failures making the news have only underscored the problem. The Bank of Scotland’s issues with the accuracy of mortgage payment records were a cited example.

The report, commissioned by Liaison Technologies, cited lack of B2B integration skills and knowledge, poor management support, ownership issues as major contributors to the shortfall.

“It’s clear from our study that the shortcomings of B2B solution providers have played a significant part in perpetuating the low levels of integration we see among UK businesses,” said Dale Vile of Freeform. All the more reason, per Vile’s observation, that financial institutions should invest in a reliable and flexible B2B integration solution from a reputable integration software vendor.

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