Seven key drivers for modernizing your B2B architecture

Seven key drivers for modernizing your B2B architecture

Seven key drivers for modernizing your B2B architecture

Seven key drivers for modernizing your B2B architecture

Connect reliably & collaborate securely

Connect reliably & collaborate securely

Connect reliably & collaborate securely

Connect reliably & collaborate securely

Why B2B integration matters.

Why B2B integration matters.

2 min read
Intro

Reduce governance and compliance risk due to outdated technology

Reduce governance and compliance risk due to outdated technology

Reduce governance and compliance risk due to outdated technology

Reduce governance and compliance risk due to outdated technology

Secure B2B integration gateway.

Secure B2B integration gateway.

3 min read
01

Simplified onboarding and partner management

Simplified onboarding and partner management

Simplified onboarding and partner management

Simplified onboarding and partner management

Simplified onboarding and partner management.

Simplified onboarding and partner management.

5 min read
02

Minimize the impact of a planned or unplanned outage

Minimize the impact of a planned or unplanned outage

Minimize the impact of a planned or unplanned outage

Minimize the impact of a planned or unplanned outage

High availability and disaster recovery.

High availability and disaster recovery.

5 min read
03

Automate complex data transformation and meet standards

Automate complex data transformation and meet standards

Automate complex data transformation and meet standards

Automate complex data transformation and meet standards

Data transformation.

Data transformation.

5 min read
04

Hybrid deployment gives you flexibility over where data is stored

Hybrid deployment gives you flexibility over where data is stored

Hybrid deployment gives you flexibility over where data is stored

Hybrid deployment gives you flexibility over where data is stored

Hybrid cloud deployment.

Hybrid cloud deployment.

5 min read
05

Get visibility into file transfers and B2B processes

Get visibility into file transfers and B2B processes

Get visibility into file transfers and B2B processes

Get visibility into file transfers and B2B processes

Visibility and Analytics.

Visibility and Analytics.

5 min read
06

Scalable, secure and always-on connectivity

Scalable, secure and always-on connectivity

Scalable, secure and always-on connectivity

Scalable, secure and always-on connectivity

The future of your B2B integration.

The future of your B2B integration.

1 min read
07

Seven key drivers for modernizing your B2B architecture

Introduction

2 min read

Connect reliably & collaborate securely

Regardless of industry, B2B integration is vital to the operation of most companies.

At the most basic level, the B2B integration processes might consist of receiving an order over the phone or fax and then manually entering the information into an order management application. At the opposite end of the spectrum, integration can be completely automated so only an exception can stop the process.

Because of this wide range of requirements, not all companies view B2B integration in the same way. If you’re not operating a complex business, B2B integration might not be a significant part of your day-to-day operations. Even at companies where B2B integration is critical, the organization might be complacent or view it as just IT infrastructure. In that case, B2B integration projects often don’t get the budget and recognition they deserve.

Best-in-class companies recognize the value of B2B integration and even view it as a competitive differentiator. To modernize your B2B infrastructure and support future business growth, you need a strategy. The following highlights the essential B2B platform elements you should consider as you evaluate options for modernizing your B2B architecture.

Explore the latest B2B trends in the IDC InfoBrief (PDF, 13.7 MB)

Read this IDC paper to learn how to realize the benefits of modern B2B integration solutions

01

3 min read

Reduce governance and compliance risk due to outdated technology

Many organizations struggle with multiple-point solution gateways running on outdated technology that is at risk of being at the end of its support life.

Operating multiple gateways creates processing silos where files and business documents are processed separately, which can lead to inefficient and redundant operations. Having multiple solutions also can negatively affect budgets and staffing, and complicate integration across back-end applications.

To move forward, you need a modernized platform that has the ability to:

  • Process both file-based transfers and business document-based use cases on a single B2B integration gateway.
  • Supply an architecture made up of reusable components.
  • Provide API extensions and management.
  • Support the industry’s communications protocol requirements.
  • Encrypt data both at rest and in motion.
  • Authenticate partners before network access is granted.

IBM solutions offer:

  • The ability to process both file and message-based use cases on a single gateway using the same protocols and security features.
  • An extensible architecture that enables integration with other company-specific applications.
  • A single gateway that supports most communication protocol and security requirements.
  • Support for data encryption, DeMilitarized Zone (DMZ)-based security and partner authentication.

Read The IT Architects guide to file gateway consolidation (PDF, 1.7 MB)

02

5 min read

Simplified onboarding and partner management

Onboarding and maintaining underlying trading partner and customer data is one of the most time-consuming activities IT departments must handle. Because businesses want to leverage partner relationships as soon as possible, there is pressure to reduce onboarding times.

Often, IT departments are tasked with supporting growth both in the number of partners and a constantly changing mix of partners and their technical requirements. To bring partners on board, IT departments often struggle with redundant, manual tasks across multiple applications while keeping contact data and certificates up to date. Questions also arise about where to securely store this underlying data. Should it be stored on-premises, on a local cloud, behind a firewall, or on a public or private cloud?

A modernized platform should include the ability to:

  • Allow partners to self-manage aspects of the onboarding process and support each partner’s specific technical requirements.
  • Provide a centralized application that supports onboarding across multiple business applications.
  • Deploy centralized onboarding depending on data privacy requirements and the company’s architectural strategy.
  • Monitor the state of a partner relationship.
  • Adjust scalability based on fluctuations in onboarding activity.

IBM solutions offer:

  • Partner self-service capabilities so they can proactively set up and maintain their specific technical requirements for protocols and encryption.
  • A single application to capture and manage partner contact data and certificates.
  • The flexibility to store contact data on a public, private or local cloud (behind the firewall).
  • A scalable architecture that include s cloudbased deployments that can adjust to changes in on-boarding activity.


  • For more information, visit IBM Sterling Partner Engagement Manager

Read this infographic to see how much time you can save onboarding partners (PDF, 1.4 MB)

Just a placeholder image

03

5 min read

Minimize the impact of a planned or unplanned outage

Most enterprises can’t afford any downtime to their underlying B2B platform or their trading partner communications, so it’s vital to minimize the impact of a planned or unplanned outage.

If an outage occurs, the company must be able to continue to accept documents and minimize the time it takes to resume operations. However, operating back-up, passive data centers can be expensive, and managing the business and security requirements for operating globally dispersed data centers can be challenging.

You need a platform that can:

  • Continue to operate customer-facing communications during an outage.
  • Cut over to an alternative data center in real time when an outage occurs.
  • Support a global data center deployment strategy.
  • Protect against data loss during an outage.
  • Scale as the business grows.

IBM solutions offer:

  • Customer-facing communications that are separate from core processing so they continue to operate during an outage.
  • Real-time, file-based synchronization across data centers, which results in zero downtime during an outage.
  • Multiple production data centers, which act as hot-site backups to each other.
  • No single point of failure.
  • Visibility over high-availability nodes and their operational status.
  • An always-on foundation with the scalability and performance necessary to support global operations.

For more information, visit IBM Sterling Global Mailbox

Read this solution brief to enable always-on operations and greater resilience to disruptions (PDF, 137 KB)

04

5 min read

Automate complex data transformation and meet standards

Business operations are constantly changing.

Outdated B2B integration capabilities and a lack of configuration options can limit a company’s ability to adapt to quickly changing operational requirements. In addition, integration processes typically involve some type of data transformation and compliance with industry data standards. The end result is excessive staff time spent converting one data format to another and planning how to adopt the next set of updated standards.

A modernized platform should include the ability to:

  • Reconfigure operational settings to accommodate changing business requirements.
  • Convert data easily from one source format to another.
  • Provide support for the data standards in your industry.
  • Automate both internal and external integration processes.

IBM solutions offer:

  • An extensive set of configurable capabilities.
  • Any-to-any data transformation.
  • Data standards for numerous industries such as banking, healthcare and supply chain operations.
  • Automated workflows and exception processing.
  • Process flows that can easily hand off content from B2B-focused processes to other IT and operational processes.

Watch this video to see how easily you can convert data from one source format to another (02:11).

Read this infographic to know the simple way to convert manual documents into Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) (PDF, 669 KB).

05

5 min read

Hybrid deployment gives you flexibility over where data is stored

Many companies are embracing cloud-based deployment models as a part of their business strategy, but it’s important to consider the integration between cloud and on-premises applications.

Security policies often dictate the data that can or cannot be stored in the cloud. Companies need to be careful where data is being stored because many application vendors rely on third parties to host their cloud offerings.

A modernized platform should include:

  • APIs that enable integration with cloud-based applications.
  • Visibility into hybrid integration processes.
  • Flexibility to choose where customer and partner data is stored, such as on-premises or a cloud server.
  • A single B2B integration vendor.

IBM solutions offer:

  • IBM Certified Containers which are enterprise-grade secure hybrid solutions running on RedHat OpenShift Container Platform
  • APIs that enable easy integration with cloud-based applications.
  • Integration across a mix of on-premises, local, private, public or hybrid application scenarios.
  • The ability to choose where you store sensitive customer or partner onboarding data.
  • The ability to select a mix of B2B integration deployment options.
  • A single cloud hosting service for SaaS-based B2B integration.

See the new normal for organizations with data exchange solutions in the IDC InfoBrief (PDF, 13.7 MB)

Read the IBM Certified Containers whitepaper to learn how you can modernize and scale your enterprise software solutions across multiple environments (PDF, 669 KB)

06

5 min read

Get visibility into file transfers and B2B processes

Because of SLAs and governance over key business processes, visibility into integration processes is more important than ever.

Businesses need to be able to view file contents or documents to help invoke the appropriate workflows and use B2B integration data to drive advanced analytics.

A modernized platform should include:

  • Visibility into integration processes and their status.
  • SLA capabilities that trigger alerts on process exceptions.
  • The ability to track individual documents.
  • Advanced analytics capabilities that leverage the wealth of data flowing through the B2B integration platform.

IBM solutions offer:

  • Visibility over end-to-end process flows and into cloud and on-premises processes.
  • The ability to interpret the contents of a file to trigger appropriate workflows.
  • Individual document tracking.
  • High-availability node monitoring.
  • Process optimization using real-time data.
  • Advanced analytics that provides the cognitive insights you need to improve business outcomes.

Gain control over your Managed File Transfer (MFT) and B2B environments. Explore the solution.

07

1 min read

Scalable, secure and always-on connectivity

At IBM, we believe that companies need to deploy these essential elements of a modern B2B architecture to ensure their B2B capabilities can support operational requirements.

Learn how IBM provides scalable, secure and always-on connectivity across the value chain with IBM Sterling B2B Integrator and IBM Sterling File Gateway.

Learn how IBM provides a cloud-based, AI-enabled digital business network that streamlines connectivity and deepens B2B transaction lifecycle visibility with IBM Sterling Supply Chain Business Network.