Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/01/24/gxs_and_microsoft_b2b_easy_for_sme/

GXS Microsoft alliance making B2B easy for SMEs

Get set for rapid takeoff

By Peter Abrahams

Posted in Small Biz, 24th January 2007 10:59 GMT

Comment Electronic Business to Business (B2B) communication is an essential component of the infrastructure of any large enterprise. It enables the fast and accurate transfer of data between partners, automating cross business processes and improving supply chain performance.

However, because of the high set-up and running costs, it has not been embraced by the majority of small and medium size enterprises (SMEs), leaving many companies dependent on paper or faxed information to power their supply chain.

The SME market is now beginning to implement B2B for the following reasons:

GXS is a leading worldwide provider of business-to-business integration, synchronisation and collaboration solutions. It has over 35 years' experience. The company operates a highly reliable, secure global network services platform enabling more than 40,000 businesses to conduct business together in an on-demand real time environment. GXS' Trading Grid solutions helps companies, both large and small, connect worldwide with their business partners, synchronise product and price information, optimise inventory levels, and demand forecasts, and speed the overall execution of their global supply chains.

Microsoft, with BizTalk, has enabled SME customers to integrate internal systems and this has provided many productivity and cost reduction benefits.

The Microsoft-GXS alliance has bridged the gap between BizTalk and the Trading Grid by developing a BizTalk Trading Grid Gateway and packaging it as a standard part of Microsoft BizTalk. This means that any enterprise that has implemented BizTalk can easily connect to the Trading Grid and thus to any of the thousands of enterprises already connected.

The solution not only supports the electronic transfer of all the basic B2B or supply chain documents such as orders, shipments and invoices, but also much deeper integration including the sharing of meta data and real time tracking and tracing of business processes.

Although the emphasis of the alliance is to enable SMEs to connect to large enterprises on an equal footing, these innovations will improve processing for every player in the supply chain, providing access to real time information and making paper driven events a thing of the past.

The alliance is much more than just the implementation of the gateway:

The GXS-Microsoft Alliance provides the basis for SMEs to become full electronic B2B players and communicate electronically on-demand with peers, large enterprises and smaller partners. There should be a rapid take-up of this technology as SMEs recognise that the benefits of an integrated supply chain can now be achieved in a simple, cost effective, and Microsoft-compatible way.

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