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Convergence of EAI and B2B

Source:BtoB B2B(2010-12-25)Categories:[B2B News] Keyword: B2B

The lines between B2B and EAI are quickly becoming blurred. Traditional EAI middleware has been characterized by the integration of back-office applications and front-office activities. But many of the traditional EAI services are also a necessity in many of today's B2B models; and EAI middleware vendors have been quick to capitalize on this fact. The entire EAI, B2B and enterprise software marketplace is converging, merging and morphing at a rapid pace.

This convergence is most apparent in the latest generation of middleware products where B2B and EAI software share many common features, including:

? Data transformation;
? Use of application-specific adapters and APIs;
? Messaging;
? Intelligent routing; and
? Workflow/process management.

E-business software vendors such as IBM and BEA are combining EAI and B2B services under one product. These vendors are taking the EAI integration process to the next logical step by 'wrapping' and publishing traditional EAI method-level components as Web services via XML/SOAP and UDDI. As an example, IBM's WebSphere not only provides all the method-level and transactional integration of a distributed object application server (via EJB), but will also be able to 'wrap' the Java Beans in a SOAP-compliant XML interface and publish the services using UDDI to facilitate B2B communication.

Traditional ERP, SCM and CRM vendors are now developing software solutions across the entire spectrum of the enterprise. The traditional 'silo' vendors, those who concentrate on one type of solution, will either expand their offerings, merge with other vendors, or just disappear from the enterprise software business altogether. The new breeds of enterprise solutions are 'Internet-ready' with out-of-the-box Web/browser and mobile capabilities. In addition, the software will support B2B protocols providing seamless integration and allowing rapid deployment into B2B marketplaces.

The bottom line is that the marketplace is converging and merging at a rapid pace as software vendors look to provide a complete e-business solution. Literally, there are thousands of niche e-business, B2B, EAI, or enterprise software firms, each one providing a value-added service. Some of these firms will emerge as winners and survive in their own right. Others will be gobbled up by the 'big-boys' such as Microsoft and IBM, as these companies continue to flex their muscles by leveraging their current market penetration and domination. The remainder will probably atrophy and disappear.

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