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Implementation (Technology) Options

Basics of Implementations: New Business Processes/New Business Document

Special Notes:    

    Identify Trading Partner for New Process
    Establish/Update Trading Partner Agreement
    Requirements Definition
    Assess Requirements for Service Providers
    Assess Requirements for User Interfaces
    Are Changes Needed to Back-end Applications?
    Are Changes Needed to Gateway?
    Are there process-specific Messaging  (Transport and Routing) Requirements?
    Testing and Validation
    Move to Production
Back to Basics of eBusiness Implementations

These steps assume that you are implementing a new business process and/or new business document(s) with a trading partner who has already done a previous implementation with you.  Such an implementation has a higher probability of success than one where both trading partner and business process are now.  An implementation that is both a new business process and a new trading partner is feasible, and is not uncommon.  For example, the first eBusiness implementation of any kind is both new partner and new process.

  1. Identify whether their are potential partners available with whom you can implement the business process.

 

 
  1. Select a trading partner for the initial implementation of the business process.
  2. Ensure that the both partners support the same version of the chosen standard. 
  3. A new business process implementation is easier if the trading partner has already been implemented on another business process. 
  4. If both the trading partner and the business process functionality are being implemented at the same time, it will be more difficult to determine whether testing problems are because of the partner or because of the process.  A well-thought out implementation plan is crucial for success.
 
  1. Determine if adjustments are needed to the trading Partner Agreement.
 
  1. Assess requirements.
 
  1. Review industry standards for the business process.

 

 
  1. Develop and/or document your company-specific business models.   Your goal is to implement business processes that are compliant with industry standard models.  You may want to model your as-is business process, in order to develop a migration plan for moving from a proprietary process to a standard process.
 
  1. Review industry standards for the business documents used in the process.

 

 
  1. Review industry standards for the business documents used in the process.

 

 
  1. Review industry guidelines - both business process recommendations and transaction/message guidelines.

 

 
  1. Review several trading partner's business process models and mapping specifications.  Identify differences between industry guidelines and your partners' specifications.
    1. Discuss terminology associated with the business process and make sure all parties mean the same things when they use words.  This is critical.  Many a project has been delayed or scuttled because of polysemy.
  2. Develop a strategy for handling differences between standards, industry guidelines and your major trading partners' specifications. 
    1. You may decide on a plan to ask trading partners to change their process.
    2. You may decide that you need to make changes that will maximize your opportunities for deployment.
    3. You may decide that there's a legitimate case to be made for requesting a change to an industry guideline or to the standards themselves.
  3. Even if you are the seller in the business relationship, develop/document your own  trading partner mapping specifications.  These should based on and compliant with standards and with industry guidelines.
  4. Develop maps needed to translate outbound and inbound business documents used in the business process.
    1. In the past, most new maps had to be developed from scratch.  Today products are available that provide base mappings between many major standards.  The base mapping can be customized for a specific implementation.
 
  1. Determine if an existing network connection/service provider will be used, whether changes are needed, and/or whether services need to be obtained from additional providers.
 
  1. Determine requirements for user interface(s). 
 
  1. User interfaces to back-end applications
  2. User interfaces to web applications being provided to partners
 
  1. Develop required functionality in back-end business application, including interfaces for integration.
 
  1. Extracting outbound data.
  2. Processing and storing inbound data.
  3. Long term benefits can be gained by making any necessary modifications to the application which will allow you to utilize standards and industry guidelines without customizations.
 
  1. Determine if any changes are required to the gateway.
 
  1.  If the gateway is well-designed, adding new business processes and business documents should be just a matter of installing new business process specifications and/or new transaction maps.
 
  1. Determine if there are any process-specific requirements for messaging and transport.
 
  1. Perform testing and validation.
    1. The testing requirements can vary.  It may start with a gateway-to-gateway connectivity test with the partner, and then may proceed to an application-to-application test.  There may be multiple test cases for some business processes and/or document types.  All partners should agree on acceptance criteria - what constitutes a successful testing cycle.
    2. For web applications, test all functionality with any widely available browsers that may be used to access the web application.
      1. Test with multiple versions of each browser. 
      2. It may turn out that the application on works with certain versions of certain browsers.  A decision needs to be made about whether to change the interface to be more flexible, or to require users to have specific versions of specific browsers.
    3. Confirm the results of testing with the trading partner.
 
  1. Move-to-production.
    1. Complete the Trading Partner Agreement first if it is not already completed.
    2. Register the partnerships in the local gateways or update status from 'test' to 'production.
    3. Perform any required cleanup and setup tasks for the back-end applications.

 

Last updated 02 March 2003