Cyclone Commerce eyes transaction data

InfoWorld (U.S. online)

Cyclone Commerce Inc. this week will roll out a new suite of applications designed to allow enterprises to capture real-time content from transactions flowing outside the organization.

The suite is designed to help executives make business decisions regarding supply chain operations faster than the traditional, time-intensive method of building a data warehouse to mine historical information captured via transactional systems.

The suite, known as Transaction Director, captures transaction data “in flight” to monitor potential problems such as shipment delays or inventory problems in real time. It leverages software layered on top of Cyclone’s trading delivery network, allowing companies to connect with customers and suppliers to exchange data over the Internet.

“We’re now providing visibility into actual transaction lifecycle as transactions occur,” said Andy Gage, Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Cyclone’s director of product management. “I am not building cubes. I am giving you the data as it is flying through your network. I can now look at a complete end-to-end business process as it happens between myself and my trading partners for any document type.”

The technology leverages agents deployed as Web services clients that can monitor a directory, gateways, or integration translators to pull metadata from transactions via specific API calls. Agents communicate the data needed to boost visibility via SOAP.

This process is designed to bypass the traditional practices of mining archived data and EDI log files for transaction intelligence long after the transaction has been routed via a complex supply chain. Therefore, companies can more quickly reconcile product shipments with purchase orders to ensure timely product shipments and payments as well as boost customer service by being able to instantly answer common questions pertaining to shipment times.

The technology allows enterprises to understand, for example, how a consolidated gateway is performing in terms of volume, how much business is conducted with partners, and how many documents were exchanged, Gage explained.

Many enterprises are struggling to gain visibility of transaction data outside the company’s four walls to manage by exception, said Jon Derome, an analyst at Yankee Group in Boston.

“The Transaction Director seems to provide some of that capability by getting a view into the transaction flow…and exposing that view through a browser,” Derome said.

“That can be pretty powerful. Typically what companies do now is…put information in a data warehouse and go back and mine that information. With Transaction Director…if a customer calls and asks why a product is late you can say it is in transit or it will be there on this date.”

Eckerd Drugs is rolling out Transaction Director to allow the Largo, Fla.-based operator of pharmacies to more quickly pinpoint points of failure in transactions with its 3,000 supplies, said Bryan Prosser, Eckerd’s e-commerce system manager.

“It’s quicker to find out the status of a file,” Prosser said. “It eliminates a lot of the specialized skill sets needed to research individual file errors or points of failure. It helps our managed care area, our pharmacy area look at the interface and see here’s where the file failed so we don’t have to start back at the origin.”

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