Combatting Organizational Software Silos with IBM Transformation Extender for Integration Servers

    

Business SilosIn this blog post, I will explore the IBM Transformation Extender (ITX) extension for IBM App Connect Enterprise (ACE, formerly IBM Integration Bus, IIB), highlighting how taking advantage of these two products in harmony can achieve operational efficiency.

 

Overview

Silos within an organization are not uncommon. Different teams are managed with different priorities and responsibilities, some with vastly different goals (and budgets!).

With organizations becoming increasingly granular, it is ever more commonplace that different teams will be using different software to fulfill different requirements—often without an awareness of each other.

For example, a department within a bank may take advantage of the financial industry packs provided with ITX for the transformation of their financial payments, while another may be using ACE to integrate with a backend ERP system such as SAP or CRM software like SalesForce.

So, what if these products could be integrated, development efforts consolidated, and cost efficiencies realized?

IBM Transformation Extender for Integration Servers

The ITX plugin for Integration servers provides the ability to port much of the functionality of ITX into ACE. By complementing the already-powerful functionality of the ACE tooling with the Data Transformation and Validation capabilities of ITX, your message flows can be extended to take advantage of the industry packs and features that ITX provides.

And vice-versa, by employing ITX within an integrated environment, you can:

  • Take advantage of a rich palette of services and adapters
  • Employ message routing, event-driven processing, and database connectivity
  • And take advantage of all the security, monitoring, robust scalability and high-availability features that are built into IIB.

So, how do we begin to use these two products in unison?

TX Map Node

The TX Map node is a component of the Transformation Extender for Integration Servers that allows teams to run TX maps within their message flows. The node can accept one or more message trees as input and create one or more broker message trees as its output. Maps can be a ‘compiled map’ (pre-deployed to the broker), or they can be ‘source maps’ – maps that are compiled when the message flow is added to the bar file deployment. TX map nodes can be triggered with single and multiple inputs, and can map to single and multiple outputs.

Using this map node allows you to take full advantage of ITX Maps within IIB.

IBM Transformation Extender for Integration Servers is not just for ACE/IIB!

While this blog is focused on the Transformation Extender plugin for IIB, it is worth noting that flavors of this plugin are also available for IBM B2B integrator (B2Bi).

By using the TX map service within B2Bi, you extend the already-powerful trading partner management, reporting and managed file transfer capabilities of B2Bi by taking advantage of the complex many-to-many transformations that Transformation Extender can perform, while also utilizing the rich selection of industry packs that come bundled with the product. Existing ITX maps can be ported into B2Bi and live in harmony with the proprietary maps that are already on the system.

Conclusion

Inter-departmental communication and team collaboration are key to streamlining operations, achieving cost efficiencies, and realizing company success. Within organizations, however, it is not uncommon for silos to develop. Often tools such as IBM ACE and B2B Integrator can be used in harmony with ITX to achieve great results.

By reusing existing skills and a single transformation technology within an integrated environment, an organization can consolidate its efforts to accomplish its goals, reaping the rewards in the process!

 

About Connor Smith

Connor Smith Lightwell  

Connor Smith is an Integration Consultant working for Lightwell in the UK.

With expertise in IBM MQ and a strong focus on cloud technologies, Connor has a wealth of experience helping customers from a range of industries design and implement their integration solutions.

 

Recommended Reading:

Five key reasons architects should consider IBM Transformation Extender