IBM B2B Integrator Review

It is easy of use and it's easy to maintain. It's also faster to on-board partners.

What is most valuable?

It is easy of use and it's easy to maintain. It's also faster to on-board partners.

How has it helped my organization?

It has ended invisibility, which is not there any more. That's a big implement for any solution.

What needs improvement?

There are a couple of issues which could be improved. One is the outcome of the ITXA integration on installation. We need better visibility around code lists. There is the handling of code lists and API calls to support partial update of any interfaces, training partner management, all of which is not there today. Their integration with ICCs is only limited to ADI, but it should be open for other formats.

Also, there should be a single place to do things, rather than making it complicated, not moving away and truncating the old features but instead coming up with the new and still keeping the old stuff confuses people sometimes. I think that's pretty much what I would like to say.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used the solution for the past 15 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is still not where it's supposed to be. There is always a challenge when we upgrade things and improve on new versions.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is great.

How are customer service and technical support?

For my company, I would say the technical support is about 9/10. The only hesitation I have is the inability for IBM to understand the customer's need, and improve their product. Our requests were not responded to in a timely manner and the announcement was not done the way ABC would have benefited from it. But the majority of our concerns were addressed on time.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were already an IBM shop but not to the newest technologies. So we ran into the situation where our systems were not as scalable. We didn't have end to end visibility, which became a key part of our business functions because we need to get into all the solutions.

We wanted to make sure that we have a single integrated application, which can fulfill the need of all the backend applications. Looking at the current solution to improve that was costlier. So we decided to go with an out-of-the-box solution from IBM, and that's where we are.

How was the initial setup?

The complete setup is always complex. Any new setup you do is not always straightforward, it takes months. So there are two aspects to consider here. One is the installation part and one is configuration to make it work.

Installation was simple and straightforward. But the configuration to tune the system to make it function the way it was intended to, wasn't known up-front. For instance with regard to clustering issues we ran into when we were in production. If we would have known that up-front, it would have saved us time and energy in the chaotic situation we were in. Those sort of challenges could have been improved if we had known it up-front.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

There were a couple of criteria when selecting a vendor. We had four big players. We did compare, we had a demo on-site. We did POCs and RFCs. After four weeks of exercise, we selected IBM.

The key challenge is that the Sterling Integrator has been there in this industry for more than two decades. There are key loopholes, or I would say there are low-hanging issues with the Sterling Integrator, and they could have all been improved.

Unparalleled, they try to invest energy to integrate with other applications of IBM products. The key essential part of what you are doing should be focused and unparalleled. I know it takes time. There are a lot of other fears being raised by lots of customers.

I have been a user for Sterling Integrator for the last 15 years. So it's not the first one for me and I see the same problems as all the clients. If those would improve, this would become best of breed.

There are also other challenges on the visibilities. Right now there are at least 10 to 15 players in the market, which build solutions using Sterling Integrator as a backbone. So why not IBM? If we have that as a single source of truth, we can install it in-house.

What other advice do I have?

Whatever industry or company, it doesn't matter. Depending on their need, Sterling Integrator is still a big framework for anyone who is looking to integrate their backend applications which are in legacy mode today, and their point to point applications. If they really want to have this type of application, well it's scalable and Sterling Integrator is still the solution.

I have been a speaker here for Sterling Integrator, and I think IBM already has at least four or five prospects here. They're talking to me to understand how we did at ABC. So I'm helping them to get to us.

It's one of the super solutions today.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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