The key to building a true business-to-business market is getting all the participants on the system as soon as possible. Today, most people rely on custom code to build links between the trading partners, a long and laborious process that requires time and effort which most companies just can't spare. Enter Contivo with its auto-mapping Contivo eService which allows users to build B2B links without the headaches currently associated with building e-marketplaces.
"Millions of links need to be constructed so information can be sent and received seamlessly between all these entities," admonishes Indra Mohan, Contivo's president and CEO. "Today, each link requires manual intervention by technology consultants. In the context of all the links that need to be created, there aren't enough skilled consultants, and even if there was enough time, the cost would be astronomical."
Mohan explains that if one partner has an SAP back office and another has an Oracle back-end, consultants are required to manual map the representations of the data from one to the other and program the appropriate middleware. Contivo eService automates the mapping of the data, and it does so from a centrally located server in real-time.
Mohan believes that Contivo eService can be compared to the creation of the automated telephone switch in the 1920's. Previously, an operator was required to connect callers. The telephone companies realized that given the growth of the phone, about 25% of the U.S. population would need to be employed as operators for that system to continue. Similarly, the growth of B2B marketplaces makes it impossible to connect everyone with manually built links."Last year, a lot of B2B implementations were in pilot mode, but this year the pilots are scaling to the tens and then hundreds of thousands of trading partners," Mohan details. "That means that a lot of activities that could be performed manually now need to be done automatically."
As a sign that Contivo is leading the way in automapping, both TIBCO and webMethods, providers of e-commerce networks, have invested in the company. TIBCO is intending to integrate Contivo eService into its offering combining both the ability to map various data sources with the ability to route data once those links are built.
Contivo eService is not for the feint of heart at $5000 per month for up to 25 trading partners, but Mohan believes that the cost savings is immeasurable. "Not only is it cost justified based on the cost savings from not having to do the mapping," he insists. "If you are an enterprise, and you create links to customers, you create revenues. And if you link to suppliers, you create better cost control."
The service is currently being tested by the likes of Hitachi and Agilent Technologies, and Mohan believes the service has many applications in the financial realm. Contivo eService is set for general release in the October timeframe.