IoT to drive API usage for B2B Integration

IoT will be the biggest driver of integration technology in history. It will impact every point of  integration, whether its between two systems or two business entities. Devices are becoming smart and almost everything either has a sensor or will have one soon. As devices become smarter and use internet for connectivity, they will become more capable of handling tasks as well. In all likelihood, these smart devices will play a major role in e-commerce and B2B Integration.

We already see some examples of such activity and what future may hold:

1. Smartphones with NFC being used for payments. In future devices can become smart enough to recognize the shipment arriving at the warehouse, inspect it for damage, count it and automatically credit supplier account based on negotiated rate without any human involvement.

2. Smart watches for health information monitoring relaying data back for research and other medical usage. In future, the healthcare insurance card may just become an app on your smart watch and as you go through medical procedure, it may track diagnosis, prescription and claims.

3. Current thermostats learn usage patterns and automate settings. Next generation may even provide recommendations for reducing utility bills by showing ads from energy vendors or alternatives sources in your area and even change your utility company with a simple click.

The world is coming closer and the boundaries are disappearing fast. Sensors and devices transmit data in real-time and that will drive the usage of APIs for B2B Integration. APIs provide secure, real-time alternative to traditionally file based B2B interactions. Check out the Integration trends for 2015 and what future holds.

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Growing Traffic Makes Control of File Transfer Essential

The transfer of unstructured data (files) between business partners is growing at a brisk pace. This opens the door for potential error, compliance issues, and confusion.

According to a recent study by the Aberdeen Group, the number of end users requiring file transfer capability is growing rapidly, between 6% and 9% annually, as of 2013. The volume of file transfers per user is growing faster still, from 8% to 11% annually. Finally, the size of the average file to be transferred is also growing, from 6% to 7%.

The flip side is that IT staff to accommodate the increased traffic is not growing correspondingly.

A sensible solution for B2B partner companies needing to accommodate these increases is Managed File Transfer. MTF augments existing B2B data exchange mechanisms by off-loading the transfer of larger files to an independent mechanism, lessening resource consumption. It automates file transfers between B2B partners, incorporating detection and handling of transfer failures, which conventional file transfer does not; and it can authenticate users against AD/LDAP.

Industry uptake of MTF has been rapid, and it has taken up a permanent place in the B2B toolkit.

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3 Reasons to Adopt AS4 in 2015

AS4 is a relatively new B2B standard and is gaining traction globally. Do you need to start thinking about AS4? In this blog we will cover this new standard and discuss why it may make sense for you to consider this new standard in 2015.

B2B integration typically uses a standard like SFTP or AS2 to exchange a document payload between two business partners. Whether it is as simple as sending and receiving invoices or as complex has handling an industry-specific sequence of transactions, B2B transactions involve a document or a message. Documents can be in any data format, older formats use EDI standard and the newer payload can be an XML document.

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What Does the New Year Hold for Supply Chains?

What trends are in store for B2B-integrated businesses in 2015? Mickey North Rizza of Supply Chain Digital recently offered several:

Improvement in organizational alignment will be increasingly necessary to maintain and enhance the level of performance in procurement; bolstering relationships across the enterprise will be key.

The proliferation of multi-channel retailing and supply chain consolidation will call for strategies that improve inventory network efficiency and customer service.

Increased Internet integration will require strong relationships with sourcing partners, and the real-time tracking and management of supplier performance will be necessary to contain risk.

Emerging markets around the world will spur growth, notably Asia Pacific and Latin America, and risk identification within these new markets will be key to success.

Finally, procurement officers will be fostering closer relationships with suppliers, treating them like true partners: leveraging their problem-solving knowledge will become a strategic edge, prompting their inclusion in the planning process.

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