B2B Integration Tools Find New Life in Cloud, Mobile

Loraine Lawson

Traditionally, B2B integration has been its own little technology world, separate from data integration and other more enterprise-focused tools.

Cloud and the economy are changing that, according to Gartner’s recent Magic Quadrant for On-Premises Application Integration Suites.

Gartner notes that in recent years, there’s been a push in IT to manage application-to-application and business-to-business integration with the same tools and, of course, B2B vendors have expanded their own solutions to add support for application-to-application.

But on top of that consolidation, companies are finding new uses for B2B solutions thanks to the cloud and mobile devices, including:

  • Synchronizing data in SaaS applications with on-premise applications — a major pain-point for many organizations
  • Extending data in on-premise apps with data from operational applications to support operational business intelligence
  • Cloud services integration, which Gartner explains further as “supporting the incorporation of cloud services into new compositions”
  • Integrating back-end services with mobile apps to support BYOD
  • As the underlying integration for managing B2B processes in supply chain management, warehouse management and logistics

So what kind of technology does that?

Most of the solutions rely on enterprise service buses (ESB) to support the integration, although Managed File Transfer (MFT), other message brokers and vendors specializing in API management are included in the list.

But it doesn’t include every organization you might expect. For instance, Red Hat’s JBOSS ESB tool wasn’t listed last year because it’s positioned in support of SOA projects, rather than application integration projects.  So, if you’re looking for something more along that lines, you’ll want to wait for the Magic Quadrant for On-Premises Application Platforms. That report was also released last month, but I haven’t found a free copy of it yet.

Despite this increase in use cases, Gartner cautions that vendors must pay “particular attention to their pricing and go-to-market strategies,” or risk losing customers to open source solutions. You’ll note that there are even several open-source vendors or vendors with open-source cores on this list, such as MuleSoft’s ESB, Red Hat, Talend and WSO2.

The Massachusetts-based research firm also calls for vendors’ “modernization and consolidation of the technologies they offer to support integration projects.”

This is the point where I have to confess: I write about B2B integration for B2B.com, a vendor-neutral site that is owned by Software AG.

As it turned out, Software AG ranked at the top of the Leaders quadrant, with IBM ranked close behind and below. Oracle, Tibco, Microsoft and Axway also ranked as leaders.

SAP and Fujitsu ranked as challengers, with InterSystems, Red Hat (which joined this quadrant this year thanks to its 2012 acquisition of FuseSource from Progress Software) and Aurea placing as niche players. The visionaries quadrant ranked MuleSoft at the top, followed closely by WSO2. Seeburger, Talend, Fiorano and Adeptia also placed in this quadrant.

iWay and Magic Software were previously included in this Magic Quadrant, but were dropped from the list this year.

Talend has published the report as a free download, if you’d like to read details on each vendor.

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