EXTOL Puts EDI 'Patterns' in the Cloud
Published: August 14, 2012
by Alex Woodie
EXTOL last week announced the Integration Pattern Repository (IPR), a searchable, cloud-based resource where customers can peruse and download pre-defined EDI maps to accelerate the configuration of their EDI or data integration projects. IPR is included with the latest version 2.6 release of EXTOL Business Integrator (EBI), the company's flagship, Java-based EDI and enterprise integration broker software for IBM i and other platforms.
EXTOL has long been a proponent of making EDI and data integration mapping as painless as possible. That's because the process of mapping--or matching outputs from one application to the expected inputs of another--is the most crucial component of an EDI or data integration project. Once you get the maps down pat, they can be left alone to function in peace--at least until something changes in the integration flow.
The Pottsville, Pennsylvania, company says the Smart Mapping feature that it introduced nearly two years ago in EBI 2.5 could shave up to 90 percent off the mapping time. The software did that by automatically generating the transformation rules for the customer. That is, it used artificial intelligence to predict what kind of mapping a customer needs based on the most commonly used maps. Thus was born the EXTOL mapping pattern.
The new IPR builds upon the Smart Mapping engine by making it easier for users to find and share mapping patterns. So if a professional technician with EXTOL solved the mystery of accessing a bit of JD Edwards World data and loading it into Salesforce, or translating between an SAP iDoc file and EDIFACT format, those particular mapping patterns can now be accessed by any organization that is a licensed EBI user. EBI customers can also share their maps with other customers through the IPR cloud.
EXTOL says the combination of local Smart Mapping intelligence and "cloud-sourced" mapping patterns in the IPR will produce "optimal mapping recommendations" for integration projects. Integration challenges will never be solved completely through automation, but the folks at EXTOL think this approach takes a good stab at decreasing the pain of integration.
Jim O'Leary, the company's vice president of product management, says the two-pronged approach is necessary given the challenges of mapping. "Mapping is the most expensive part of business integration, but efforts to solve the cost problem with map reuse, dictionary-driven mapping, and other isolated methods have failed," he says in a press release.
The IPR is accessed through the EXTOL Integration Studio, the GUI tool that's used to design, test, and deploy integration applications that are executed by the EBI engine. The EXTOL Dashboard, a Web-based console used to monitor EBI processes, completes the EBI suite.
EBI 2.6 is available now. The software is supported on IBM i, Windows, and Linux OSes. For more information see www.extol.com.
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