I'm very sorry, but this time I decided against covering the session selected by ARIS Community members. A panel discussion about enterprise architecture management is probably interesting, but I usually struggle covering a panel discussion in a live blog. Instead of just relisting some broad statements done, I decided to get to another customer presentation. I'm now sitting in a session, where Mr. Eros Merlini of Swisscom gives an overview of their Conextrade system, the leading Swiss electronic B2B marketplace. This system is build using webMethods technology.
Swisscom is the leading telecommunication provider in Switzerland with almost 20,000 employees. Mr. Merlini himself is working for Swisscom IT Services, which takes care of integrating and operating complex IT infrastructures. This business unit got around 3,000 employees.
Conextrade is a marketplace for purchasing industrial and consumer goods. For this marketplace, Swisscom provides several services like:
It is the aim of Conextrade to link all trading partners to a single platform and to provide unified services on this platform. According to Mr. Merlini, the stakeholders and their major goals of a customer using this marketplace are:
CFO - lower costs and legal certainty
CIO - one interface to all business partners and little investments
CPO - simple connection of all suppliers and customers
If a customer decides in using the marketplace, the customer connects its systems to the existing interfaces of the platform. A one-to-one integration between trading partners is not done, because that wouldn't be manageable for the marketplace provider. Instead, each user only integrates once with the platform and all information exchange like sending invoices between trade partners are done by the Conextrade platform.
They did some case studies about possible cost savings by using their platform. For example, a large Swiss bank was able to reduce their costs for invoicing by 50% using the Conextrade service. They started building this platform in 2000. They built this platform following the software as a service model using webMethods ESB, trading networks, and later also using CAF. Mr. Merlini explains that they usually have already 95% of the features required by a new customer and only need to develop a small portion. To Conextrade, around 20,000 companies are connected. Conextrade itself also connects to other international electronic marketplaces. In that way, a company using Conextrade can trade with around 200,000 other companies.
I think Conextrade is a good example of a very successful IT system, which you usually don't know unless you work in this specific domain. For me, it was a good decision to attend this session.