The Sterling B2B Integrator Advantage

Sterling B2B Integrator is configured strategically around the specific processes crucial to your company’s success.

Its systematic and managed approach supports your integration requirements for both transaction-oriented and batch processes, and works with both pre-existing Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) protocols and Internet-based XML protocols. You can enable your existing systems to integrate past, present, and future technologies and practices

Business Process Approach

The Sterling B2B Integrator approach to integration centers around business process management. A business process is a goal-driven, ordered flow of activities that accomplishes a business objective.

Using Sterling B2B Integrator, you integrate the activities that make up your company’s business processes. Common examples of such activities include:
  • XML, EDI, and proprietary file translation, transformation, and filtering
  • Human interaction through a browser interface (such as reviewing and approving data)
  • Content-based routing of messages
  • Data publishing
  • Extended process models that integrate the execution of a B2B protocol, such as AS2, with enterprise system integration, such as invoking the SAP adapter

You can create and coordinate activities into business process models, extending the automation of your processes and increasing the value of your e-business operations.

An example of a simple business process is the fire-and-forget publishing of a business event to a group of interested participants. The steps that comprise the process trigger the process and the subsequent publishing of the event to the interested parties.

A complex business process might require multiple interactions among many applications in a start-and-stop, request-response mode, along with human interaction, occurring over a long period of time.

For more information, see Business Process Engine.

Modular Design

Sterling B2B Integrator is designed around a core transaction engine, which orchestrates your message exchange, routing, translation, and other processes.

Modular design enables you to add capabilities for specific activities to the core, as required, promoting enhanced flexibility in adapting your system to changing requirements.

Examples of components that you can add include B2B services, adapters for specific applications and technology, and a Web-based forms-creation component that lets you create interfaces for human interaction. You can customize your solution to suit your requirements.

Building on Your Existing Assets

The compatibility of Sterling B2B Integrator with your existing systems and its modular design, drastically reduces the standard complications associated with large-scale systems changes.

Sterling B2B Integrator components not only work together, they work with the systems you already have in place, including the IBM® Sterling Gentran:Server® family of products and IBM Sterling Connect:Direct®IBM Sterling Connect:Enterprise®, and Sterling Information Broker®. By tightly coordinating your systems and streamlining their processes, you can save on costs, which you can apply to your core business or to additional integration-related components.

For more information, see Interoperability with IBM Sterling Gentran:Server and IBM Sterling Connect:Direct Products.

Leveraging Industry Standards

To meet your ongoing integration goals and business automation directives, you must rely on software that works within the accepted industry standards.

The Sterling B2B Integrator platform is built on industry-accepted data formats, communication protocols, workflow modeling, and security. This design structure maximizes interoperability between systems and trading partners, thereby providing the following benefits:
  • Reducing integration complexity and cost by minimizing the need for custom programming and re-training support staff

  • Supporting the rapid and secure delivery of emerging solutions for collaborative processes between businesses and business units

The following table details the industry standards upon which Sterling B2B Integrator‘s processing is based:
Design Level
Sterling B2B Integrator Standards
Process modeling

Business Process Modeling Language (BPML, an XML-based meta language), XPATH (a non-SML language that can identify parts of XML documents for later use), XSLT (Extensible Style Language Transformation)

  • B2B management: XML, EDI (EDIFACT, ANSI X12), B2B protocols (ebXML, EDIINT), RosettaNet
  • Internet transports: Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP), Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP for e-mail), File Transfer Protocol (FTP), SOAP, AS1, AS2, AS3
  • Security: Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), X.509, S/MIME, XML DSIG (digital signatures and data encryption)
  • Open standards: XPATH, XML schema, XSLT
  • Network management: SNMP (Simple Network ManagementProtocol), which enables exchange of information between networkdevices

Low-level infrastructure

J2EE Technology: JMS, JNDI, JDBC, and RMI

Security Model

You can create customized security and facilitate related user-based routing within a process, based on the security settings for a user.

You can designate entities (such as a trading partner) and groups (users, depending on their role), and assign them the permissions that you configure.

The security standards supported include:
  • AS2 and AS3 transport
  • Digital certificate management
  • Document encryption in the database
  • SSL for HTTP
  • SFTP and FTP server capability
  • A trading partner-specific process firewall
  • Digital signatures with ebXML messaging
  • User ID and password authentication for user interface applications
  • A service that revokes compromised digital certificates

Perimeter Services

A perimeter network is a computer network that is configured to stand between a secured internal network and an unsecured external network, as an extra layer of security.

IBM® Sterling Connect:Enterprise® also includes a perimeter server communication management component. A perimeter server is a single entry point installed in a demilitarized zone (DMZ) to manage communication flows between a perimeter network and IBM Sterling Connect:Enterprise transport adapters.

A perimeter server communicates with IBM Sterling Connect:Enterprise through special perimeter services, which enable an adapter to communicate through an internal firewall with a perimeter server within the DMZ.

Perimeter servers enhance security by moving security threats away from your secure network and data.

Full Process Recovery

During the execution of a business process, at every step, Sterling B2B Integrator maintains the status of the process and the current version of the business data associated with the process step.

Whenever a business document associated with a process changes (such as with translation), a copy of the document is maintained. This ensures full process recoverability, long-standing processes, and efficient problem diagnosis.

Connecting People to Data with Web Extensions

With Web Extensions, you can create and customize pages that users can access over the Internet to interact with data. The browser-based technology works hand-in-hand with other components.

The optional Web Extensions component in IBM® Sterling Connect:Enterprise® enables human interaction with business data. For example, the Business Process Engine component can route invoices to a manager for approval, while a Web Extensions form created for your process presents the invoice in a browser window. Web Extensions forms can also be used to enable input and data validation prior to sending data to the next point in its process.

You can use Web Extensions to extend B2B services to small or non-integrated business partners by letting them complete simple forms that generate electronic documents.

Interoperability with IBM Sterling Gentran and IBM Sterling Connect:Direct Products

Sterling B2B Integrator operates with your existing IBM® Sterling Gentran® products. Alternatively, you can import pre-existing EDI data and allow Sterling B2B Integrator process the EDI data.

Irrespective of the scenario you use, you will find features and functions that help you achieve your EDI-processing goals. Interoperation between Sterling B2B Integrator and IBM Sterling Connect:Enterprise® UNIX or IBM Sterling Connect:Direct® enables easy communication between your company’s internal applications and with external business partners.

IBM Sterling Gentran UNIX
You can manage all your IBM Sterling Gentran UNIX operations from the Sterling B2B Integrator administrative console. You can use the Sterling B2B Integrator‘s operations, monitoring, and trading profile tools to perform the following IBM Sterling Gentran UNIX functions:
  • Starting and stopping IBM Sterling Gentran UNIX data managers
  • Viewing IBM Sterling Gentran UNIX data manager statuses and log files, and processing the log files
  • Monitoring and searching for data processed in IBM Sterling Gentran UNIX
  • Importing trading partner information from IBM Sterling Gentran UNIX into Sterling B2B Integrator.
IBM Sterling Gentran Windows

Current users of IBM Sterling Gentran Windows can use their data concurrently with Sterling B2B Integrator.

The Sterling B2B Integrator trading profile tool enables you to import IBM Sterling Gentran Windows trading partner information into Sterling B2B Integrator.

Sterling B2B Integrator enables data exchange between IBM Sterling Gentran Windows and Sterling B2B Integrator using the IBM Sterling Gentran Windows adapter. However, before you exchange data, you must install and configure the adapter.

IBM Sterling Connect:Enterprise UNIX

Connectivity between Sterling B2B Integrator and IBM Sterling Connect:Enterprise UNIX lets you exchange business documents and data between the two applications in a near seamless environment. You can also create automated business processes to intelligently interact with your enterprise systems, eliminating the need to manually create customized scripts to handle processing in your enterprise systems.

Sterling B2B Integrator and IBM Sterling Connect:Enterprise UNIX interoperability also provides end-to-end file processing management and visibility, and access to a broader set of business-level protocols including ebXML, SOAP (Web services), GDSN, and RosettaNet.

IBM Sterling Connect:Direct

IBM Sterling Connect:Direct securely transfers large files between the applications within an enterprise and with external business partners. It also allows for basic activities such as running jobs or processes on remote business partners’ servers.

In effect, Sterling B2B Integrator becomes a IBM Sterling Connect:Direct node. Connectivity between Sterling B2B Integrator and IBM Sterling Connect:Direct enables you to:
  • Securely copy large files and exchange data between the two applications in a near seamless environment.

  • Create sophisticated, automated business processes to intelligently act on the data sent to Sterling B2B Integrator.

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