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Consolidating Integration Silos with a B2B Gateway

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					Consolidating Integration Silos
    with a B2B Gateway
         A White Paper
                                                                                Consolidating Integration Silos with a B2B Gateway




Table of Contents
Integration Silos .............................................................................................................................. 3

B2B Gateways ................................................................................................................................ 3
  What is a B2B Gateway? ............................................................................................................ 4

B2B Gateway Components............................................................................................................. 5
  Core Components........................................................................................................................ 6
    Secure Connectivity and Communications............................................................................. 6
    Data Mapping and Transformation Services .......................................................................... 7
    Transaction Management........................................................................................................ 8
    Trading Partner and Community Management....................................................................... 9
    Rules Engine–Workflow–Process Management................................................................... 10
    Analysis, BAM and Performance Management ................................................................... 12
    Web Interface and Web Forms ............................................................................................. 12
    Perimeter Security Service.................................................................................................... 14
    J2EE Service Oriented Architecture ..................................................................................... 14
    Adaptive Layer...................................................................................................................... 15

The Bottom Line ........................................................................................................................... 16

About Inovis.................................................................................................................................. 18




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Integration Silos
Several waves of technology solutions have continued to improve business operations via the
exchange of business data and documents electronically. Most of the solutions were
implemented separately, in some cases loosely or tightly integrated, and in most cases not
integrated as part of a comprehensive solution. In addition, separate divisions or functional
groups within a company may have implemented separate technologies to address the same
needs. Taking it one step further, the technologies were generally implemented to address
specific tactical issues, and were only occasionally scrutinized under the light of the overall
strategic value and maximum possible return on investment (ROI).

How many different technologies are in place in different areas of your company, provided by
different vendors, with little to no integration? How many business integration silos exist within
your company?

         •   Value-Added Network (VAN)
         •   Point-to-point (EDI-INT / AS1, AS2, AS3)
         •   FTP via private leased lines/frame relay/VPN
         •   Web Forms
         •   Web-based transaction mailboxes
         •   Translator/Mapper
         •   FTP servers
         •   Proxy servers


B2B Gateways
Compared to the prevalent integration silo approach, B2B Gateways provide a more holistic
approach to addressing business integration needs, an approach that will further streamline
operations, focus resources and consolidate technology with increased control and improved
security.

If there is an issue, technical and non-technical employees don’t have to spend time figuring out
which piece of integration software stopped working. Additionally, they don’t need to remember
how to use several different solutions, located in different places, that all do the same thing.

A B2B Gateway provides a comprehensive suite of technology that can be leveraged by virtually
any group within an organization. It does not stop there—B2B Gateways also provide the means
for external parties (customers, business partners) to exchange business data and documents with
your company.



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In addition, B2B Gateways provide the means to increase real-time visibility into business
activity and performance. For example, various government regulations mandate compliance
with levels of privacy and security for private data. In some cases, the regulations also require
the ability to produce audit information to demonstrate compliance as it pertains to time-sensitive
data. Similar scenarios apply to business partner agreements such as service-level agreements
that may or may not include financial penalties for non-compliance. With a B2B Gateway it is
possible to set-up real-time event management with alert notifications that monitor electronic
transactions and provide warnings, before it is too late.

While a B2B Gateway provides the means to consolidate into a single solution, it is important
that a B2B Gateway consists of multiple components that can be implemented together,
individually or in varying combinations in different and isolated layers within a network
infrastructure. It is also essential for a true B2B Gateway to be an open system that can be easily
integrated with other technologies via Web Services, SOAP, Java Connector Architecture (JCA),
Java Messaging Service (JMS), Message Queues (MQ), scripting, application program interfaces
(APIs), file copy, etc. After all, it is unlikely that any organization will move all of its business
integration services at once.

What is a B2B Gateway?
   As is usually the case, it depends on who you ask. Even among industry and technology
   analysts, experts and solution vendors, there is no single clear definition for a B2B Gateway.
   For example, one vendor might tell you that internal business integration is separate from the
   external business integration layer.

   The basic premise for B2B Gateway technology is encapsulated in a paradigm in which “all”
   business integration needs are consolidated into a single solution, inter-connecting internal
   and external operations into a complete business process. A B2B Gateway is essentially a
   business integration suite that supports internal and external integration and business
   processes.

   A B2B Gateway provides the means to implement one gateway solution for all business
   integration needs, whether it is application-to-application, internal department-to-department
   or business-to-business with external organizations. It is also an open solution that facilitates
   integration with virtually any existing middleware, including message queues such as MQ,
   JMS and JCA.




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B2B Gateway Components
To fully understand the B2B Gateway concept, it is important to identify the key components
and then outline the purpose of each component.

         •   Secure Connectivity and Communications
         •   Data Mapping and Transformation Services
         •   Transaction Management
         •   Trading Partner and Community Management
         •   Rules Engine–Workflow–Process Management
         •   Analysis, BAM and Performance Management
         •   Web Interface and Web Forms
         •   Perimeter Security Services
         •   Adaptive Layer
         •   J2EE Service-Oriented Architecture

The following diagram is a conceptual overview of the key B2B Gateway components.

                                 External Trading and Business Partners



                 Perimeter Security Services                         Web Interface

                                                Secure
                                     Connectivity/Communications
                  Rules                                                           Analysis
               Event Mgmt                                                           BAM
                                                Transaction
              Process Mgmt                                                      Performance
                                                Management
                Workflow                                                           Mgmt

                                      Trading Partner/Community
                                             Management


                                   Data Mapping and Transformation

                                               Adaptive Layer

                                J2EE-based Service Oriented Architecture




                                   Internal Infrastructure and Systems




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Core Components
Secure Connectivity and Communications

  B2B Gateways provide a backbone for the secure exchange of data, files and documents
  (intra-company and with external parties). The secure exchange of electronic data/
  information is a key component for ensuring that non-public personal information and
  confidential business information remains private and uncompromised while en route.

  While secure connectivity has existed for many years in the form of dial-up modems with
  password-protected direct connects, or via leased lines with firewall-to-firewall virtual private
  networks (VPNs) and pre-shared secrets, new technology has overshadowed these older
  solutions.

  Today, secure connectivity and communications leverage the Internet. The new technologies
  have proven to significantly lower costs, improve business document delivery and response
  times, be extremely reliable and provide more visibility, control and security over business
  processes. Advancements in security and communications are so significant that major
  retailers and suppliers, the automotive industry, financial services, healthcare companies,
  laboratories and government organizations have implemented Internet-based solutions.

  Secure B2B Gateways support Privacy and Security compliance for Healthcare (HIPAA) and
  Financial Services (federal and state laws), as it applies to electronic messaging. The same
  technologies have been widely adopted by global retail giants and entire supply chains
  because of the benefits associated with security and reliability. The Privacy and Security
  compliance is provided through industry-leading eBusinessReady Interoperability Certified
  solutions, tested by The Drummond Group (www.ebusinessReady.org and
  www.drummmondgroup.com.). eBusinessReady is a joint venture between the Drummond
  Group and the Uniform Code Council (UCC).

  Business integration solutions incorporate the ability to use virtually any transport standard
  for secure connectivity and security. These include, but are not limited to: FTP/s, HTTP/s,
  AS1, AS2, AS3, ebXML, Web Services and several industry-specific technologies such as
  NAESB, EBMS and HL7.

  Though FTP is not new, the latest FTP advancement, Applicability Statement 3 (AS3 via
  FTP) from the Internet Engineering task Force (IETF.org), is. AS3 adheres to the same high
  level of security standards introduced with Applicability Statement 1 (AS1 via SMTP) and



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  Applicability Statement 2 (AS2 via HTTP). The primary security and privacy tenets of these
  standards are:

          Privacy
             • Provides message content privacy via data encryption
             • Ensures that a document can only be viewed by the sender and receiver

          Authentication
             • Offers authentication via the sender’s digital signature
             • Ensures that senders are actually who they claim to be

          Integrity
             • Encloses hash totals in Message Disposition Notifications (MDNs)
             • Ensures that a document cannot be altered without the receiver detecting a
                 change

          Non-repudiation
            • Provides non-repudiation via signed MDN receipt acknowledgment from the
                receiver to the sender
            • Prevents receivers from claiming they did not receive the document

Data Mapping and Transformation Services

  Traditionally, data mapping and transformation have been associated with EDI. EDI is and
  will remain very important to many companies for the foreseeable future. As a result, the need
  for EDI mapping and transformation services solutions will not go away anytime soon. At the
  core of EDI mapping and transformation is the ability to map from a source data format into a
  defined EDI document format, and vice versa. Leading solutions provide for many EDI
  mapping scenarios:




                        Source           Direction            Recipient
                 Delimited file format               EDI
                                  EDI                Delimited file format
                            Database                 EDI
                                  EDI                Database
                                 XML                 EDI
                                  EDI                XML

  The B2B Gateway model expands data mapping and transformation to encompass much more
  than just EDI and B2B integration. The premise is fairly simple. By nature, the root of


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  mapping and transformation is to take data from a source, change the data format and then
  provide the modified data in a format useful to the recipient (where a recipient could be an
  external party or an internal party or system).

  For example: If data can be read directly from a database and mapped to an EDI file, and the
  EDI file can be mapped to write to a database, then the mapper should be able to read from
  one database and write directly to another database. Another slightly more complex example
  is that the mapper could read from one database and map to an XML file that would then be
  sent to a Web Service, or could be sent to an intermediate MQ or JMS for some additional
  fault tolerance in the integration process. This process is at the core of EAI, internal and B2B
  integration.



                          Source          Direction           Recipient
                           Database A                 Database B
                             Database                 XML
                                   XML                XML


  Through simple adaptations to traditional mapping and transformation services, B2B
  Gateways provide a single “open integration architecture” that can easily support both internal
  integration and B2B integration.


Transaction Management

  Transaction Management provides the flexibility to monitor all of the documents that have
  been processed by the system, along with the operations that have been performed on those
  documents. Transaction Management provides the capability to reconcile exchanges with
  trading partners, perform exception handling and conduct dynamic document searches. In
  addition, Transaction Management provides the ability to track documents and messages;
  reprocess or resubmit documents and messages; monitor the transaction processing for system
  load balancing and performance; and archive data for audit trail purposes.

  Within a B2B Gateway, Transaction Management can be logically split into four functional
  groups.

         1. Exceptions. For the person managing a B2B Gateway, error management is a primary
            responsibility. An exception dashboard makes it possible to identify any transactions


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              that have not processed successfully. B2B Gateways track exceptions generated by
              any of the core components.

         2. Reconciliation. Reconciliation refers to a monitor that provides the current status of
            all outbound business transactions. For example, an outbound EDI interchange may
            contain multiple purchase orders. Reconciliation provides the means to track the status
            of each individual business transaction by matching AS2 MDNs and business
            acknowledgements (Functional Acknowledgements) with the individual transactions.
            Reconciled transactions are linked to the original EDI interchange. When the entire
            EDI interchange and all individual transactions have been reconciled, the entire set of
            documents may be aged and archived.

         3. Messages. A Message summary lists all the messages that are in the system. A
            message consists of documents that are received by the system or documents that are
            generated as the result of processing. Message documents consist of document data
            and any associated header/envelope information. A B2B Gateway can process
            messages in EDI format, XML format, email format, etc.

         4. Archive. Archiving can be externally important for two reasons: (1) High transaction
            volume will produce massive amounts of data that can ultimately slow down a system,
            and (2) statutory or regulatory requirements necessitate the maintenance of archived
            transaction records for specific periods of time. Data aging and document archiving
            provide the means to address both points.


Trading Partner and Community Management

Trading Partners refer to the internal and external parties that will exchange electronic
documents with your company. Within your Trading Community there are key sets of
information that define each Trading Partner. The information is required in order to perform
business integration processes.

         1.   Party type (internal integration party or an internal/external trading partner)
         2.   Party information (name, contacts)
         3.   Party relationships and hierarchies
         4.   Transport protocols (AS1, AS2, HTTP, FTP, mailbox, etc.)
         5.   Transformation profile (document mapping and transformation)
         6.   Digital certificates (manage certificates, expiration dates)
         7.   Processing rules (document- and event-driven)


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Rules Engine–Workflow–Process Management

  To many people and companies the term Business Process Integration represents something
  that is expensive and complicated, a technology that will not provide an ROI within a
  reasonable amount of time. Through a more realistic approach to process automation, B2B
  Gateways provide an easy-to-implement and fundamentally sound solution that will provide
  an ROI within a reasonable timeframe.

  The B2B Gateway approach is driven by the premise that one size does not fit every
  organization. A tiered, scalable approach is the only way to deliver the right solution. A B2B
  Gateway provides the means to implement a fairly simple process with the flexibility to
  incrementally add more complexity as required. Different tiers may include (1) a Rules
  Engine, (2) Workflow (3) and Business Process Integration.

         Rules Engine
         A Rules Engine is actually an essential supporting component of transaction and trading
         community management, which encompass processing and tracking. For example, during
         the exchange of documents, it may be necessary to deliver specific documents to different
         places driven by document processing events or the content of the documents themselves.
         A rule may be as simple as sending a notification email to someone with a call to action.
         Rules may also support a more complicated setup, such as operations that call scripts and
         external commands, or a series of cascading operations.

         A B2B Gateway will generally provide rules processing at three levels: (1) system-level
         defaults for events and logging, (2) administrative-level, configurable rules that will take
         defined action on specific processing events and (3) rules with customized parameters
         that are driven by document content rather than by document type or processing event.

         Workflow
         Workflow is a structured means to present tasks for human interaction. Workflow may be
         a simple extension of a Rules Engine that sends notifications and alerts to people based
         on user configurable criteria. A notification might include a call to action with a link or
         URL for the recipient to click on. Workflow may also be part of a greater business
         process management solution that incorporates rules, workflow and simple processes or
         complex hierarchies of interrelated business processes with detailed algorithms of logical
         business process operations.




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         Business Process Integration
         Business Process Integration (BPI) takes a quantum leap that advances business process
         management and encapsulates the true nature of process integration.

         An accepted approach to process automation has been to view internal and external
         integration processes as being separate groups of processes and to individually address
         each group. The problem with that approach is that the segregated processes are actually
         part of one cohesive business process.

         Business Process Integration takes a more pragmatic and realistic approach to process
         automation and looks at the complete business picture.

         The natural representation of a business process consists of intertwined matrices of
         internal and external processes. That is why BPI incorporates collaborative business
         process management with workflow and EAI processes to provide a true representation
         of an overall business process. BPI enables straight-through processing for end-to-end,
         seamlessly integrated business processes. Also, because of the way Business Process
         Integration accentuates true business processes, the tracking information provided by BPI
         is valuable as input for business performance measurement initiatives.




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Analysis, BAM and Performance Management

  Event Management and Business Activity Management (BAM) are so closely related that
  one can consider them essentially the same category of application. The only distinction being
  that in some cases, Event Management may be defined as a subset of BAM.

  BAM and Performance Management both address part of the same problem. Where BAM
  is operationally focused on key, real-time business indicators, Performance Management is
  more focused on metrics that manage enterprise performance and are measured and analyzed
  periodically rather than in real time. As BAM and Performance Management leverage similar
  infrastructures, it makes sense to consider them together from both an investment and
  implementation perspective.

  BAM, Event Management and Performance Management address pain points that exist within
  companies today. In particular, the tracking and management of transactions across electronic
  transaction paths (VANs, intermediaries, trading partners, etc.) is a major point for many
  companies. Given the convergence of Business Process Management and BAM, it is
  important for companies to closely and thoroughly analyze the coexistence of both solutions
  in order to optimize them while investing in an elegant and closely integrated solution to meet
  their needs.


Web Interface and Web Forms

         Web Interface
         For easy day-to-day use and ongoing administration that may be performed by many
         different people in different geographic locations, leading B2B Gateway solutions
         provide a web browser–based GUI. There is no need for IT administrators and
         management to expend the resources needed to monitor, install and configure software on
         many PC and laptop computers. The core B2B Gateway features that are used on daily
         basis are accessible via the web interface.


         Web Forms
         Even though the main web interface consists of a set of web forms, within a B2B
         Gateway solution the term web forms refers to extensions of the core features and
         functionality. Web forms provide extensions in two key areas:




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         “Hub Enablement” for trading partner communities, remote business partners
         and/or internal offices/branches—Web-form solutions for hub enablement
         generally fall into two categories: (1) Individual web forms that hubs provide for
         small spokes/suppliers to upload files or enter information via web-form fields, or
         (2) Web forms that work in conjunction with a web-based transaction mailbox.
         For example, a hub might send an EDI or XML file to a spoke’s transaction
         mailbox. The end user cannot read the information in the technical format, so a
         web form is provided that transforms the EDI or XML into user-readable business
         document format.

         “Spoke Enablement” for smaller organizations that do not have distribution
         software systems (e.g., order entry, shipping, purchase order, etc.)—In much the
         same way as a transaction mailbox, the end user cannot read the information in
         the technical format, so a web form is provided within the local B2B Gateway
         that transforms the EDI or XML into user-readable business document format.
         Data could be exported to a file, or documents could be printed for data entry into
         a small business accounting system. In addition, a web form could generate a
         turn-around document such as a functional acknowledgement in response to a
         purchase order.




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Perimeter Security Services

With today’s renewed emphasis on protecting sensitive data and infrastructures, more and more
private, public and government organizations are implementing advanced security solutions. The
Perimeter Security Services components provided with leading B2B Gateway solutions fulfill the
strict security requirements of financial, healthcare and government organizations, and the most
demanding security requirements of suppliers and retailers in the supply chain.


         Security Benefits

         •   Protects internal systems from inbound threats
         •   Controls inbound FTP and HTTP messages
         •   Hides internal systems during outbound messaging
         •   Controls outbound FTP and HTTP messages
         •   Works with existing firewalls and DMZs
         •   Provides user management, authentication and SSL certificate management


Perimeter Security Services consist of a comprehensive set of advanced security components that
protect internal systems from external threats. Companies can safely and securely participate in
business-to-business integration (B2Bi) and the secure exchange of information over the Internet.




J2EE Service Oriented Architecture



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  Most (if not all) companies already have internal infrastructures and systems in place. The
  internal environment, or Enterprise Nervous System, provides the primary internal
  repositories for business data and documents that will be processed through a B2B Gateway.

  As a foundation, even though Java technology is not required, J2EE-based Service Oriented
  Architecture (SOA) provides an exceptionally solid foundation that is fairly platform-
  independent, adaptable and extremely reliable. In fact, the majority of the leading vendors
  providing B2B Gateways use Java-based technology.

  Java SOA implementations can vary dramatically. Solutions range from client solutions that
  use the JAVA Swing GUI (graphical user interface) technology to JAVA applications that
  deliver the application GUI via a web browser. Browser-based solutions are generally easier
  to implement, configure and manage because the implementation is done on “one” computer
  with the ability to configure, administer and use the application remotely via a web browser.
  For load balancing and fault tolerance needs, enterprise-class B2B Gateway components can
  be implemented in a “distributed deployment” model across multiple computers. Another
  important aspect of solutions based on Java Service Oriented Architecture is how easy it is to
  extend and integrate the solutions with other applications and software services.


Adaptive Layer

  The adaptive layer may provide built in technology, “plug ‘n play” or component integration
  capabilities. Today, there are several types of adaptive technologies that a B2B Gateway must
  be able to incorporate, leverage or interact with.

         Legacy APIs
         While most of the enterprise software vendors have moved beyond legacy APIs to
         adapters, JCA or Web Services, the legacy APIs are still used by many organizations. A
         B2B Gateway provides rules and scripting that can programmatically call an API or can
         simply provide a data file that can be picked and processed by a separate program in
         conjunction with the API.

         Adapters
         Adapters are very prevalent today. There are several varieties of adapters built with
         different technologies for different platforms that are capable of calling legacy APIs or
         provide direct database connectivity. The most important aspect of an adapter is that
         adapters are designed to facilitate plug ‘n play interaction with industry-leading ERP and
         CRM systems.



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         Java Connector Architecture (JCA)
         Generally, this is framework for supporting “adapters” via a J2EE platform. JCA defines
         a standard architecture for enterprise applications (e.g., ERP, CRM) to connect with Java-
         based applications.

         Web Services and Web Service Definition Libraries (WSDLs)
         Web Services and WSDL technology can be used for adaptive integration purposes like
         “adapters” and “APIs.” One of the promising aspects of a WSDL for a Web Service is
         that a WSDL can be published publicly or privately. Any party with access to the WDSL
         can generate a set of adapters or agents that will interact with the Web Service (inbound
         and/or outbound).

                Definition of Web Services. The term Web Services refers to the use of Internet-
                based standards as a means of sharing information and services between
                incompatible applications and information sources. By making information and
                services accessible in a standardized way, Web Services make it easier for
                businesses to share information inside their organization and with business
                partners, customers and suppliers.

                Agents for Web Services. By leveraging the power of WSDL in Web Services,
                B2B Gateways can create an integration agent that will invoke virtually any Web
                Service. A Web Services Agent can be viewed as a specific form of HTTP-based
                transport that is used to exchange virtually any information via XML. By simply
                knowing the URL for the WSDL, an automated Web Services Agent builder can
                access the WSDL and build Web Service Agents for any specific Web Service.




The Bottom Line


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Consider how important it is for your company to move quickly in today’s market, with little to
no margin for delays or mistakes. The technology that you implement must support and drive
initiatives that will improve your business operations. B2B Gateways offer a substantial
operational improvement over integration silos. Even so, for many organizations it is not feasible
to remove all old technology at one time. The only feasible approach is an iterative process that
facilitates planned incremental change.

A few key closing points to remember are:

         •   B2B Gateways provide the means to increase real-time visibility into business
             activity and performance

         •   B2B Gateways provide the means to consolidate integration technology to streamline
             operations, remove inefficiencies and reduce costly errors

         •   B2B Gateways provide the means to implement one gateway solution for all business
             integration needs, whether it is application-to-application, internal department-to-
             department or business-to-business with external organizations

         •   B2B Gateways provide a comprehensive suite of technology that can be leveraged by
             virtually any group within an organization




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About Inovis
Inovis is a leading provider of fully integrated business-to-business solutions that manage the
flow of critical e-commerce information for global trading communities. The company’s
comprehensive line of B2B software and managed services provide web-based data
transformation, connectivity and synchronization, along with hosted service offerings and real-
time business activity monitoring and exception management capabilities. Inovis solutions
address fundamental industry challenges such as global data synchronization, mandate
compliance, transaction management and global trade management. With more than 20 years of
experience, Inovis enables collaborative business processes and solves the issue of complete
B2B integration for more than 20,000 customers and their trading partners, helping businesses
expand into new markets and channels, speed transaction flows, synchronize product information
and improve supply chain processes.

For more information, visit www.inovis.com.

Main +1 404.467.3000
Toll-free: +1 877.4INOVIS
(+1 877.446.6847), Option 4

Corporate Headquarters
11720 AmberPark Drive
Alpharetta, GA 30004

Inovis is a trademark of Inovis, Inc.




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