Electran/UC Links Net.Commerce with Back-End Applications

As more companies with ERP systems become e-commerce enabled, many are now focusing on the issue of integrating all of their applications. Looking to capitalize on the growing popularity of IBM Net.Commerce--particularly in the AS/400 market--Electran Corp. (Larkspur, Calif.) has announced a new connector to its middleware family, Electran/UC. The new universal connector integrates Net.Commerce with back-office ERP applications.

"Integrating the front end with the back end is a huge market," says Jeetu Patel, VP of research, Doculabs (Chicago). "The trend is that companies don't want to build applications from scratch, they want to leverage all their applications."

The combination of Electran/UC and Net.Commerce gives companies running business applications on midrange and mainframe platforms an integrated e-business solution. Electran/UC uses e-business XML extensions to support universal connectivity. In the case of the AS/400, it connects through 5250 or JBDC with the ERP system.

Electran/UC allows enterprises to integrate host-based applications with XML- and non-XML-based systems. It also eliminates the need for C++ and Java coding in order to connect Net.Commerce to host-based applications.

"More companies worldwide are looking to rapidly integrate back office applications with e-business capabilities," says Christopher Herron, the president of Electran Corp. "Electran/UC with the new XML capabilities eliminates the need for Java or C++ coding to enable enterprise application integration (EAI). Application connectors developed using Electra/UC are fully reusable and scalability is assured since Electran runs on any Java platform."

According to Rob Wynden, engineering manager, Electran Corp., one of the reasons for developing the new connector was positive feedback from its AS/400 customers. "A lot of AS/400 customers were asking for this because the vast majority are using Net.Commerce," says Wynden. "We expect Electran/UC to be very popular in the AS/400 market."

Electran has added new scripting support for XML to its newest connector, providing complete compatibility with any existing HTML editor.

Without Electran/UC, Wynden says companies have to spend a lot of time and money to link Net.Commerce with their back-end ERP systems. "You need a lot of engineers, because many programs had to be written to connect the two," he says. "Electran/UC lowers the skillset of the person doing the work, because XML is very easy to configure."

Although Electran/UC is applicable for business-to-consumer transactions, it is mainly used for business-to-business transactions, says Wynden. Electran/UC allows trading partners and authorized employees to conduct business using real-time, online transaction management data from the back-office business applications. The users can also access information such as credit balances, inventory levels and order status through a standard Web browser. "We satisfy business-to-business transactions," Wynden adds. "If a business partner places an order via Net.Commerce, the servlet will automatically enter it into the ERP system."

Other features in Electran/UC include: the ability to work with any application that is queue enabled, an XML based tag set that provides rapid implementation of industry specific Vendor Templates, debug and trace facilities, and security options that allow sensitive data to be encrypted within the scripts.

Wynden says one of the key features of Electran/UC is its ability to adapt to various changes an ERP company makes. "Eighty percent of the market has made modifications to their systems to fit their specific needs," he says. "No matter what they are, Electran/UC can is still compatible with every ERP product out there."