EXTOL, a leading provider of B2B integration software applications for both internal and external collaboration, has announced the release of EXTOL Business Extenders, a fully functional subset of EXTOL Business Integrator. Designed and priced to meet project-level integration requirements, Business Extenders can enable companies to quickly solve a single, urgent business problem by providing the flexibility and agility necessary to meet the needs of trading partners as well as internal and external customers.
"The Extender enables IT teams to respond rapidly to business demands, requests, and opportunities; provide visibility to timely, accurate information, and eliminate the custom code surrounding their legacy systems," explained Steve Rosen, EXTOL vice president, Marketing. "It's been very well received because of its price point and ease of implementation."
By providing for the simple and rapid setup, acceptance, and integration of common formats-such as spreadsheets, XML, Web Services, flat files, event tracking and application-to-application needs-Business Extenders enable business managers with ordinary skills to remove the barriers to efficient partner relations. Each Business Extender targets a different set of integration requirements and automates the integration of non-EDI formats with EDI and business integration initiatives without custom-coded interfaces.
After an early look at the concept, Business Extenders was declared a "cool idea" by Lora Cecere of AMR Research, in her Alert Article, "Consumer Products: Cool Ideas of 2H07," dated Nov. 8, 2007. Focusing on the still heavy reliance on Excel spreadsheets in the consumer products industry, Cecere said, "EXTOL, a provider of B2B connectivity, launched spreadsheet integration for remote trading partners. The EXTOL Business Integrator (parent of the Extender) provides inbound and outbound electronic data interchange (EDI), XML, and flat file collaboration through AS2, FTP, Web services, value-added networks (VANs), and e-mail, including integration of spreadsheets with host systems through automated business processes."
One EXTOL customer profiting from the Business Extender is Randa Luggage (formerly known as Badanco), which designs and markets luggage, business cases, and travel accessories under several well-know brand names. Randa relies on 16 different factories in China, all of which utilize Excel spreadsheets, and not EDI. "Every morning we printed out the spreadsheets that came over from China," explained Gino Giombetti, vice president of operations at Randa. "Our EDI coordinator literally had stacks of paper all around her office. Despite our best efforts, there were always delays, data-entry errors, and our sales department consistently fell short on their promise-to-ship commitments."
After speaking with Giombetti, Cecere reported that with a Business Extender, "The company integrated and automated the management of its spreadsheets-each factory has its own interpretation of the spreadsheet for orders, shipment info and such-into its normal EDI processing, thereby eliminating re-keying, errors, data latency delays, and custom programming. The company now has Monday updates from all of its factories."
"Another great benefit," noted Giombetti, "is that our EDI Coordinator now has other duties. She's freed up from the stacks of paper to work on much more strategic projects."