IBM B2B Integrator Review

It has a number of different components that can fit together so you can use it partially or fully.

What is most valuable?

It has a number of different components that can fit together. People can use it partially or fully. It also integrates with some of the mounting tools like IBM Transformation Extender and it's a B2B Gateway rather than just a BDI translator.

How has it helped my organization?

They've modernized the solution recently and added some things where BDI translators have been around for a long time, and they've added things like advanced coms and global mailboxing to make it much more real-time with higher availability. So it's good value for our organization.

What needs improvement?

I think it needs some additional things like visibility. That's why we look to partners who provide that kind of visibility and I think that's something that could be changed. The product is stable but I think there are some things that they can do to enhance it, to make it a little bit more stable in terms of visibility of transactions.

Sterling B2B Integrator is a transactional tool to manage the flow of EDI centric transactions to and from your trading partners. It also works with an add-on product called ITX Advanced (ITXA).

As transactions flow through, the users would like to see the status if each of the transactions, or an analytic view of a number of transactions. For example, a user might say “tell me how many EDI claims failed validation today or this week?” Or how much order volume in terms of dollars was processed today?

I had that request from a VP of Sales when I was an EDI Coordinator. He would come by every day and ask “have we hit $1M yet in orders today?” He was not technical, and wouldn’t be able to run queries on a database, for example, so if the tool could give a dashboard with the transaction totals, both in physical transactions (i.e. 15,783 POs today) as well as business level information (those PO’s totaled $1.3M in orders, or $450,883 for product A, and $78,932 for product B, etc.), that would be valuable to business users.

Some of IBM’s partners, like Lightwell and CoEnterprise, have been building these dashboards as part of their offering as they have seen a gap in the IBM product.

For example, CoEnterprise offers a solution called Syncrofy to do this.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's pretty stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It scales pretty well.

How is customer service and technical support?

Sometimes it's hard to get through to the right people in support. It takes some time. My questions tend to be beyond Level 1, so I may need to get to the higher levels of support which can take some time and be a little frustrating.

Which solutions did we use previously?

It was already in place when I got here. I know a lot of tools in this area have been around for a long time and they didn't really change that much. IBM has modernized it a fair bit so you make sure you're keeping up with changes in the industry.

What other advice do I have?

I would say to be careful with the visibility. I think they're going in the right direction in a lot of ways, depending on the transformation that you need. We've got a built-in to the Sterling B2B product, which is good for basic transformation and mapping, but anything advanced would probably require something superior.

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