Cloud B2B integration creates value

Cloud computing is a highly buzzed-about technology. Across industries, CIOs are searching for ways in which these new processes can save time and money. According to a new IDG News Service report, the cloud can serve as an enabler of B2B integration.

Logically, the process and technology are a good fit – integration involves the movement of vast quantities and information and the cloud provides a location-agnostic storage space for information

IDG provided the example of Mohawk Fine Papers, which integrated its sales with online retailer Amazon. The process was accomplished in two weeks and the cost to begin was less than $1,000, making it a process for integration that many other companies will doubtless want to emulate. The methodology that enabled the success, according to Mohawk's IT vice president Paul Stamas, was the creation of a cloud-based service-oriented architecture (SOA), meaning that the technical IT work of integration is out of Mohawk's IT department.

"SOA was the answer because it works based on the concept of loosely coupled services, and geography doesn't matter," Stamas told the source.

The advantages of the new system, Mohawk managers told IDG, are many and varied, spread throughout the IT infrastructure. The removal of IT staff from maintaining the existing B2B connections means that those employees are free to research and create new connections. The move also reduced data security worries. With the new integration system in place, all the data flows through one contained system, one which has attained PCI compliance.

EWeek named cloud-based B2B integration as an area of focus for businesses in 2012, specifying several ways in which companies would take advantage of the technology to smooth all stages of the integration process. One of the areas highlighted by the news provider was the same method employed by Mohawk, broadly known as platform as a system Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). Companies, in general, are becoming more aware of the benefits of putting integration in the hands of a service provider.

One of the other trends specified by eWeek involves both businesses and providers growing up together. Companies are becoming more comfortable placing secure information in the cloud during the integration process and even long term. In response, cloud security and compliance are becoming better still, ensuring that more companies will follow the early adopters' lead. In the consumer world and in every business area touched by IT, the cloud is becoming both more effective and more accepted.

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