SAG_Twitter_MEME_Why_B2B_Integration_Dec17.jpgDigitalization and the Internet of Things (IoT) are dramatically changing the way companies do business with each other.

While the number of partners and transaction volumes increases, companies are pushing the limits of legacy B2B systems beyond Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and AS2 protocol by incorporating leading-edge API technology.

And it’s becoming a very warm relationship. In fact, APIs are inspiring B2B innovation.  Of course, many large enterprises are rapidly adopting APIs to realize new revenue streams and reap the benefits of the API economy. 

But APIs are also filling a gap at smaller organizations and startups that don’t necessarily practice EDI or who don’t support AS2, AS3 or AS4 protocols. These companies are becoming fundamentally dependent on APIs to ensure their ability to conduct daily partner document transmissions.

The API Mindset

Once having adopted an API mindset for B2B, a controlled yet robust API strategy has a myriad of application possibilities, including:

  • Partner portal use cases that can be quickly created, registered, requested and approved for any number of specialized areas including: purchase orders, ACH exchanges, ASN and the consumption of essential customer information

  • Using APIs to facilitate both B2B and MFT onboarding

  • Incorporating APIs to expand partner transactions through mobile devices and the IoT in order to expand the partner ecosystem

API Gateway as Protector

The modern B2B solution strategy is still vulnerable to the latest and greatest malicious threats by unauthorized intrusions and hacking.  Consequently, B2B integration architecture may well depend on an API gateway as both the security and policy enforcer. For example, webMethods B2B solution (Trading Networks) and Managed File Transfer (webMethods Active Transfer), provide a robust, API runtime security that only welcomes authorized consumers.

When you consider that the biggest B2B integration challenge is improving customer centricity (often largely ignored when B2B is primarily considered part of IT infrastructure), you might well empathize with those B2B business analysts who become enamored of APIs.

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