IBM InterConnect Recap: Cloud, B2B Integration and Managed File Transfer Trends


directionWe’ve had few weeks to reflect on everything we learned at IBM InterConnect: from exploring the ever-changing cloud, mobile and big data landscape, to learning about new innovations in managed file transfer and B2B integration—and there’s a lot to take in. Finding “A New Way” to think about solving business problems and accelerating transformation was a key theme of the three-day cloud, mobile and technology conference in Las Vegas.

The conference was an immersion in technologies driving the business of the future. Attendees met industry thought leaders, learned from live product demos, experienced hands-on lab training, and attended a choice of over 2,000 sessions—customizable from the conferences eight industry “tracks.”

If you couldn’t attend the conference this year, or want to recap how businesses are transforming the ways they connect and integrate with other businesses—here are several key takeaways from the B2B Integration and File Transfer track:

The efficient supply chain of the future depends on B2B Integration.

According to Manufacturing Today and explored by industry experts at InterConnect 2015, more companies are moving their manufacturing operations back domestically from other countries—or “nearshoring.” This change in the “supply chain topography” represents a shift in the modern manufacturing sector to reduce cycle times, costs and risks associated with offshoring. Bringing massive operations back home would not be possible without agile, scalable B2B integration. Rapid onboarding, connectivity and collaboration with partners both small and large requires a system that can efficiently support a major logistical shift of the enterprise.

If your data isn’t moving fast, you’re falling behind.

There have been major innovations in data movement in the past year and the timing couldn’t be more perfect. More data is being moved than ever before, from HD media files to full-color catalogs to electronic health records.  Rapid transfer of these extremely large files is a need that touches upon almost every industry.

Aspera is changing the way that files are transferred. Aspera’s FASP works “by removing artificial bottlenecks in network transport and freeing up full link bandwidth to end users.” FASP transfers are over 100 times faster than traditional file transfer methods. Large files that used to take 26 hours to transfer electronically now can be moved in just 30 seconds. Saving days of wait time and eliminating network bandwidth related slowdowns increases operational efficiency and reduces cycle times.  The FASP protocol is being incorporated into the IBM Sterling solutions portfolio as well, so companies with these solutions will be able to take advantage of this powerful capability. More details will be shared in the future.

B2B Integration is moving to the 3rd Platform—are you ready?

At InterConnect, Chandana Gopal of IDC explored how the 3rd platform—cloud, big data, mobile and social technologies—is affecting B2B integration. Innovations in the 3rd platform are rapidly being adopted by consumers, driving a new set of requirements for companies producing technologies that previously have existed in the first or second platforms. 

Cloud infrastructure is becoming more prevalent across all applications, including B2B integration. Companies are moving to the cloud because of greater access to resources and infrastructure, less upfront investment, greater scalability, and improved agility.

B2B integration is also being shaped by the incorporation of social features that enable better collaboration with suppliers, customers and clients.  This ultimately improves the customer experience. Along with social, Big Data plays a role in customer experience and B2B integration can help move the data that helps companies improve operations and improve customer service.

The recurrent themes we see in our InterConnect 2015 takeaways are change, speed, efficiency and customer experience. We’ll continue to cover these issues in future blog posts. 

For now, get more information on industry trends and innovations from our complimentary white paper “Are You Ready for a New Era in B2B Collaboration?” or our recent webcast with Chris Hayes of IBM, “Thriving in the New Era of B2B Collaboration.”