IBM Systems Journal

E-commerce interoperability with IBM's WebSphere Commerce products

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With the growth of the Internet, business-to-business procurement and other processes are being moved to the World Wide Web, for increased efficiency and reach. Procurement systems from different vendors use various protocols, and additional protocols are being defined by several industry consortia. As a consequence, suppliers are faced with the difficult task of supporting a large number of protocols in order to interoperate with various procurement systems and private marketplaces. In this paper, we outline the connectivity requirements for suppliers and private marketplaces, and we describe how suppliers and marketplaces based on IBM's WebSphere® Commerce Business Edition and WebSphere Commerce Suite, Marketplace Edition can interoperate with diverse procurement systems and electronic marketplaces. We first describe simple connectivity based on punchout processes for fixed and contract-based pricing. We then describe how asynchronous processes, such as requests for quote, auctions, and exchanges can be distributed for interoperability across suppliers and marketplaces. Finally, we describe B2B/M2M Protocol Exchange, a prototype we have implemented that maps between different, but analogous, protocols used in procurement systems, and thus alleviates some of the interoperability difficulties.