Organisations moving hastily into e-commerce risk neglecting the deeper implications of such a move until it is almost too late, says US-based product manager of e-business integration at Sterling Commerce Matthias Zeller.
Significant among those areas is business-process integration, which must be smooth and efficient to meet the short response-time demands of Web customers. This covers:
- Integration internally, between, say, a customer relationship management system and ERP;
- Integration between the Web site and the internal systems, and;
- Integration with a partner's systems in a business-to-business e-commerce context across the Internet or VPN.
Zeller was in Australia for the launch of Sterling Commerce's Gentran:Catalyst software.
The Catalyst product is designed to provide both format translation and message passing among software typically used by e-commerce aspirants - for example, IBM's MQ, SAP R3, PeopleSoft, various databases and EDI formats, different XML schemas. It draws all the data into what Sterling calls an "information hub" - a neutral repository - and then pushes it out to the appropriate receiving application.
Business rules software can be associated with the hub, so, for example, a transaction of less than $10,000 can be sent one way, while one of more than $10,000 can be sent to be processed by a different application.
Catalyst was launched in the US in December and is being sold here by E-commerce New Zealand (ECOMNZ).