As we march towards the end of August, and Fall approaches, there are new happenings to report in the Integration world as well as our organization. This “THINKRONIZATION” edition, as with all editions, profiles items of interest for the IT professional focused on integration of systems and electronic collaboration with business partners. Contained herein are news, articles, research, and trends related to Business-to-Business Integration (B2Bi/EDI), Enterprise Application Integration (EAI), and Data Integration (DI), as well as updates concerning REMEDI and service to our clients.
A Noteworthy Accomplishment
July 17th REMEDI began its 18th year in business! Thanks to all those who have contributed to REMEDI’s success, and thanks for your consideration in tomorrow’s business and data integration initiatives.
Newly Announced / Closed Integration Acquisition Deals
And the consolidation continues in the B2Bi, EAI, and MFT solutions market. Liaison Technologies, a global provider of integration and data management services and solutions, continues its expansion efforts to broaden its commercial product / services offering with the announced acquisitions of Softshare and Advanced Data Exchange (ADX). Softshare provides on-premises and SaaS data transformation / integration solutions while ADX provides web forms and emailed PDF based smart forms for integration with the long tail portion of the supply chain.
The IBM purchase of Sterling Commerce was finalized on August 27, 2010. Here are the announced highlights from the closing of the transaction.
- Sterling is now referred to as Sterling Commerce, an IBM Company.
- The company remains headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, and 2,500 employees join IBM.
- IBM enhances its integration and automation abilities by having Sterling plug into the Application Integration Middleware team, and Sterling enhances its ability to bring a host of IBM solutions to its clients. Of particular interest will be the WebSphere and InfoSphere line of products.
- Sterling Commerce’s solutions will be slotted into IBM’s Software Group, in the Industry Solutions organization.
- IBM plans to protect customer investments in the offerings of both companies, with future product/support information to be disseminated as plans unfold.
With the close of this transaction, REMEDI remains committed to serving client integration software, services, and staffing needs where Sterling Commerce products are concerned both directly and in partnership with Sterling Commerce. We also remain committed to serving our clients with IBM integration and middleware products. Finally, we look forward to serving the customers of both, as the integration of the companies/offerings transpire over time.
We Didn’t Know You Did That?
This is often the response when prospects ask about our ability to scale integration services in numbers of resources and/or span of duties and expertise. Typically in early discussions with prospects it is assumed that we work in a small project capacity where a single resource is assigned, taking an EDI need for example, and the deliverable is mapping, testing, and implementing. Folks assume that we do this across a few maps and wrap up our work. While this is the case at times, the relationship often evolves into serving clients in a much, much larger capacity. Our service to clients typically takes the form of staff supplementation, project consulting, or managed services, and varies in scale within each.
Staff supplementation provides integration specialists to assist with the day-to-day activities of the client integration team. In most companies, during certain times, there are just not enough people to get backlogs under control. This option gives the client, at their direction, an additional expert to help during those busy times. In terms of scale, we have provided clients with a single (1) integration expert for as little as a week, and as many as seven (7) integration experts for several years.
Project consulting provisions resources for particular objectives with a specific deliverable or outcome. Examples include integration software: acquisition analysis, selection/procurement, architecture/design, installation/configuration, or upgrade. Integration projects can also involve solution development around specific connection(s) to a particular business network of customers, suppliers, or carriers. Our scale in project consulting for our clients ranges from a single (1) integration expert for as little as a week, to as many as eleven (11) integration experts over 4 years with roles including integration / EDI: architect, developer, mapper, trainer, project manager, business analyst, on-boarding analyst, and coordinator.
Managed services lets clients maintain control of their strategic integration infrastructure by keeping it in-house, yet lets them focus on things core to their business by having an organization maintain the integration infrastructure and orchestrate external / internal integration activities. It provides flexibility in difficult economic times or in times of rapid organizational growth, and offers benefits in terms of budget and staff redundancy. Our demonstrated scale in regard to managed services for our clients ranges from a fraction of an integration expert for as little as a quarter, to as many as four (4) integration experts over 4 years.
What Better ROI Than An Integration Project?
That is what I thought recently after a day of hearing from multiple sources (business owner meeting, news radio, YahooFinance, and The Wall Street Journal) that many companies:
- have paid down debt
- have strengthened balance sheets
- are holding cash at record levels
- are buying back stock
- have stopped many investments due to market, regulation, and ROI uncertainties
Having heard the points above several times that day, I was in a business meeting where the facilitator mentioned that companies, particularly manufacturers, had experienced massive productivity enhancements since the 1990s due to Information Technology solutions. Then it hit me. While companies struggle to find a place to put cash to work with a more certain return, why not look to invest some of those dollars into internal and external integration projects? They have measurable return, streamline company operations, provide efficiencies in tough times, and offer economies of scale in good times.
This is not an incredibly original idea I realize, but a good question to pose when your company holds a lot of cash, your integration project projects a great ROI, and your project is denied because “it is not in the budget”.
Budget Season Approaches
Speaking of budget, while requested year round, we are approaching the time of year we get increased call volume from clients and prospects seeking assistance with integration project budgeting and sizing. Some are trying to spend efficiently what remains in their budget for the year; others are planning initiatives for next year.
With the economy still on the fence in the eyes of many, integration projects providing increased efficiencies, reduced costs, and a more stable/scalable/comprehensive integration environment will be among the more budgeted projects.
Our planning and budgeting assistance includes some or all of the following:
- Scope Analysis
- Obstacle Planning
- Timeline Development
- Resource Requirements
- Project Costing
Contact us if you have an initiative for which you are planning. If your project contains a professional services component, we can help you consider that aspect of your project along with considerations of your project as a whole.
C2H FAQ – Exploring Contract to Hire
A Contract to Hire (C2H) arrangement is an excellent tool in a technical hiring manager’s toolbox. These scenarios also benefit candidates during a recovery cycle, as well as during good times. But, just like any other tool, some care and diligence is required to ensure a good outcome. Let’s start by understanding what Contract to Hire is, and what it is not more…
Invitation to Vendor Contributors
In an effort to provide our readers more access to market information, research, and opinion pieces, we are offering space to business and data integration vendors to provide contributions to THINKRONIZATION. Such contributions will provide more value than a sales pitch, and submissions will be accepted and published in collaboration with REMEDI editors.
If you are a vendor and would like to submit a content contribution for consideration, please contact us.
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Brad Loetz – President
REMEDI Electronic Commerce Group
614.436.4040 Phone Ext. 108
REMEDI Electronic Commerce Group is a business integration services and staffing provider. We have served clients in the US and Canada since 1994. Clients come to REMEDI for our application-2-application (A2A) and business-2-business (B2Bi) integration niche, expert resources, engagement flexibility, quality / speed in resource placement, integration experienced account managers / resource managers, and our tenure in business.
The company installs, maintains, upgrades, and expands business/data integration and EDI solutions for its clients. Consulting Services provide temporary resources for projects such as integration infrastructure upgrades and ERP conversions, or staff supplementation to eliminate backlogs. Placement Services assist the client in finding the right full-time person for the client integration team.