What is Business-to-Business Middleware?

B2B Middleware refers a translation layer between multiple applications incorporating disparate technologies. It is usually a suite of tools, services, and adapters geared toward application integration. These including message-oriented middleware and database middleware. B2B Middleware data and systems require multiple points of access and integration One of the most popular forms of B2B Middleware is the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) or “ESB engine.”

B2B Middleware’s job is to route data from an organization’s business applications to the applications of business partners such as customers, vendor/suppliers or financial institutions. The source system data might download via an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, a securities trading platform or any type of Operations Department system. These could be on-premises, in the cloud or in a hybrid or multi-cloud environment. Data would then be extracted using an API or other specialized middleware supplied by the enterprise.

IT Central Station experts prefer that extracted data be correctly formatted to then be shared among other systems or system partners. Flexibility and power are top of mind when deciding on typical standard formats such as Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) or XML, and each one has specific variants specific to particular vertical industries, e.g. ACORD XML for insurance companies.

IT Central Station users possess significant technical knowledge of their unique enterprise systems, business processes, and requirements. When looking for an agile B2B Middleware system, every piece must integrate and operate according to IT requirements. Add-ons may be necessary to cover the full demands scope for infrastructure provisions, configuration, software installation and additional development. Bespoke B2B Middleware solutions require a commitment of human and technical resources, especially when taking into account security, flexibility and compliance. Many IT Central Station users prefer off-the- shelf solutions or well-understood open source frameworks as a way to avoid a completely bespoke situation.

Find out what your peers are saying about Seeburger, MuleSoft, IBM and others in Business-to-Business Middleware. Updated: February 2020.
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