Snell Packaging & Stationery is easing its way into B2B and avoiding large upfront costs by using Telecom’s InfoXchange messaging hub.
Snell Packaging, which uses Great Plains ERP software, has been using InfoXchange for six months to exchange purchase orders with two large suppliers. The aim is to get other customers and suppliers to use the system to exchange sales orders, acknowledgment forms and invoices.
InfoXchange — an XML-based service that uses Microsoft’s BizTalk Server — was originally developed by the Telecom/Microsoft/EDS virtual company esolutions.
Esolutions, which sold e-business products and services, was absorbed into Telecom Advanced Solutions Group last May.
BizTalk Server, which competes with products such as IBM Crossworlds, SeeBeyond and Tibco, translates documents from one application into an XML format which is then sent over a network and read by another application. It is licensed on the number of applications and trading partners but allows for an unlimited number of transactions.
Snell Packaging decided not to buy the software or invest in learning about it as it found Telecom already had BizTalk Server skills. Also, it could pay per transaction instead of having to pay licence fees based on the number of trading partners. Snell IT manager Mark Netten says this scenario suited the company better because in the trial phase it’s only had a small number of transactions. However, this could eventually climb to 10,000 a month, he says.
Netten says it’s finally good to have got B2B commerce off the ground.
“A lot of customers don’t believe it can be done. It requires a lot of meetings between partners beforehand. Our suppliers are big companies which are quite proactive and who have a lot of investment and resources to put into this area.”
Snell pays for the transactions and is happy to do that because “we’re now running a lot smarter”, says Netten. However, if it is saving our customers and suppliers money also, we could negotiate to share the costs. Perhaps they could give us a rebate.”
Cost includes 24 x 7 management of the system in a Telecom data centre.
- $500 setup fee
- $40 a month maintenance fee
- $5 a month for each document type (purchase order, invoice etc)
- 50 cents a transaction up to 500 transactions, then 40 cents a transaction on standard pricing; however, prices negotiable.
- Enterprise edition is $50,000, standard edition is $14,000;partner edition is $1999.