Information Builders Inc.’s enterprise information management division iWay Software has updated its B2B and trading partner management suite in an effort to improve both its usability and integration with other business processes.
The company’s rebranded iWay Trading Partner Manager (formally known as iWay Trading Manager) is the biggest update to iWay’s B2B Suite 6.0, which it announced at this week’s Information Builders Summit user conference in Nashville, Tenn. The tool will better manage the information and infrastructure of trading partners through a GUI application and make managing B2B interactions more simplistic, iWay executives said.
The average company might have several dozen suppliers and business partners using a variety of different transaction types. Vincent Lam, product marketing manager at iWay, said that the Trading Partner Manager is completely agnostic, supporting any protocol, latency, network type or message type.
“The truth about B2B interactions is that they do have standards, but those standards are different for each relationship,” he said. “It’s not common for standard message sets to be used the same way by different partners.”
With this tool, he added, companies can look into all the partnerships they have using an easy-to-understand application. Whether you are getting files via XML or CSV, the application will allow you to manage the transactions from one interface.
The application was not designed to be heavy on coding, Lam said, and is completely graphically driven to improve usability.
The software also takes advantage of the existing functionality of iWay Service Manager to attempt to make B2B interactions more automated.
“The goal is to take that message I just got from my trading partner all the way through to the back-end and initiate an order on my system in the application,” Lam said.
For example, if you get a message from a partner which informs you that request inventory is not in stock, the application can automatically take the appropriate action and depending on the other partners that are available in your system, trigger a message to your backup supplier.
“The value of this type of platform is the ability to work toward complete automation,” Lam said. “It’s electronic data and messages being sent back and forth. We’re shuffling e-mails all over the place, so why not leverage it?”
In terms of integration with other iWay products, the Trading Partner Manager also works with WebFOCUS-based iWay Business Activity Monitor, which can monitor your communication and historical dealings with partners.
“This is not just to satisfy the curiosity factor, it’s about noticing when orders go up, and identifying trends that weren’t obvious before,” Lam said. “This visibility into your partners can also help you see who reliable and who’s not.”
Other updates include Trading Partner Information and Trading Partner Profile Facilities, which provide access to trading partner information such as process flows used for each partner, access keys and DUNS numbers.