Integrate all the things: OpenText would like to knit together application data from across company boundaries

ERP, warehousing, sales, accounts, supply chain all working together

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Canada's OpenText has claimed its data-integration platform can bring together information from applications both inside and outside company boundaries.

It said the cloud-based Trading Grid platform has a single API-based connection to knit together application data from ERP, warehousing, sales, accounts payable and supply chain systems. Its library of APIs extends to support external application data into a single layer, built to help organisations improve efficiency and react more quickly to changes in internal operations, as well as upstream and downstream supply chains, the company said.

Known for its content management technology, OpenText was founded in Canada in 1991 and its early search engine formed part of the technology used by Yahoo! search. Since the 2016 acquisition of GXS, a B2B trading platform, it has branched out into integrating supply chain applications and data. That same year, of course, it acquired Enterprise Content Management heavyweight Documentum from Dell EMC for $1.62bn. In 2018, it bought Liaison Technologies, which produces a cloud-based information integration and data management system, and last year scooped up cloud backup and storage service vendor Carbonite for $1.42bn.

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Trading Grid is designed to bring these capabilities together on a single platform. It sells a library of pre-built API connectors and solution accelerators that connect business applications, analytics, social media, payments, and many other systems. Trading Grid also features a library of APIs that customers can consume in their own applications.

Mark Morley, OpenText product marketing director, said: "Historically, we have provided integration services to SAP, Oracle, JD Edwards, and Microsoft applications, taking supply chain information from outside the business through our network, and then convert those B2B transactions into SAP IDocs, for example. But, until now, we've never had the capability to jump between different internal applications: that's one of the reasons why we acquired Liaison."

Bringing these aspects together as the Trading Grid is designed to integrate external supply chain and internal enterprise data in one place. "That's great for companies that want to consider building a digital backbone," he claimed.

Stewart Bond, director data integration software research at IDC, said the concept of unified platforms for data integration was becoming more common. "Technology is only part of the solution in these complex environments, and many leading organisations are also opting for a managed services approach to implementing unified platforms, freeing valuable technical resources to focus on other priority initiatives."

OpenText said its Trading Grid "enables the API economy" using a vast library of pre-built API connectors and solution accelerators. Meanwhile, a Solution Directory and Solution Designer accelerate integrations and time to value with most common business applications. The Trading Grid platform also includes OpenText Lens, which allows users to monitor and manage data flows to improve performance and mitigate risk.

It seems like an interesting move to make internal and external data integration work on a single platform. But for OpenText, it does open up competition on two fronts. On one side, there are supply trading networks such as Ariba and Tradeshift. On the other side, there are middleware vendors such as Mulesoft, IBM, SAP, Information Builders and many more. The jury is out on whether OpenText has the influence to sway both markets. ®

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