A Visual Explanation of DataPortal™ vs. EDI – Our Data Sharing Infographic

A Visual Explanation of DataPortal™ vs. EDI – Our Data Sharing Infographic

In the past, sharing complex data over the web in a quick and efficient manner was a daunting, and often times, overwhelming  process. Until now! We’ve developed an easy to use, web based software application that takes the stress, aggravation and expense out of sharing complex data over the web. Meet DataPortal™. To help demonstrate the simplicity of DataPortal™ and why it is the best solution for your data sharing needs, we’ve put together this amazing data sharing infographic that will walk you through the ins and outs of DataPortal™. We cover the basics from what sets DataPortal™ apart from other data sharing tools like EDI to how DataPortal™ works and who has has success with it. Scroll down to learn more » Embed This Image On Your Site (copy code below): Courtesy of:...

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DataPortal vs. Traditional Database Replication

DataPortal vs. Traditional Database Replication

With the growth in complex global supply chains, the sharing of complex business data, often in the forms of relational databases, has become one of the most in-demand business needs over the last ten years. The desire for raw government and private sector data to be shared across multiple platforms has only increased since 2009, when President Obama put laws in place requiring the data be made public. While Obama’s bill does a great job in mandating the kinds of information that needs to be made public (contracts, audits, inspector general reports, etc.), it is rather vague with regard to details on how the information will need to be provided. According to experts John Wonderlich, Policy Director at the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation and Jim Harper, Director of Information Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, in order to provide any value in the information being shared, the entire back end database needs to be shared. It is impossible for any person or organization to determine how others will use, analyze or cross-reference the data being provided so making the data, in its raw format (relational databases) available is essential. DataPortal helps companies meet this need with database sharing using cloud technology that is a vast improvement over traditional database replication. DataPortal provides instant and effortless data sharing over the web, allowing multiple recipients to receive the same full database by simply clicking on a URL. DataPortal also keeps data in standard database form and works across multiple vendors, platforms and operating systems. The tool also offers a more flexible and efficient alternative to traditional Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) by eliminating unnecessary conversion of data, as well as the costly set up involved with EDI. Data is transferred from a DataPortal server to any supported database system (including MS SQL Server, Access, Oracle, DB2, MySQL and Firebird) using a DataPortal client – either Applets, that do not require installation, or Applications, which must be installed but provide more features than the simple Applet client. How does DataPortal Differ from Traditional Database Replication? With traditional database replication, when data is updated at the source, it must ripple through all replicated databases before the update can take effect. This is time-consuming and can cause conflict if multiple updates are being conducted at the same time. With DataPortal, the data being updated is read and written directly to and from the database without the unnecessary...

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DataPortal Eases Data Sharing Burden for Supply Chain Management

DataPortal Eases Data Sharing Burden for Supply Chain Management

When a major aerospace manufacturer needed help bringing new suppliers on board, it turned to DataPortal. This manufacturer works with hundreds of suppliers sourcing specialized components ranging from custom fasteners to sophisticated avionics.  In the fast-changing aviation industry, recruiting a cadre of suppliers who can meet demand quality specifications while ramping production quickly at the right price is critical for success. Yet this manufacturer was finding it difficult to even evaluate prospective suppliers, much less start doing business with them. Just sharing information about the details of future production plans and designs required each potential supplier to go through the lengthy and expensive process of implementing an electronic data interchange (EDI) system. As an attempt at more agile data sharing, the manufacturer started providing order data that could be viewed on Web pages. However, many orders involved thousands of items and Web page data could not readily be processed by business applications. The order data really needed to be delivered where it could be directly accessed by business applications – through sharing a relational database. The manufacturer, and we, thought there had to be an easier way for the supply chain to be managed. Our solution was an easy-to-use Web portal that would allow a potential or actual supplier to log in and easily see the manufacturer’s future orders. This portal provided data on both short-term needs as well as future, six-month forecasts to give all potential suppliers the widest view into the manufacturer’s needs. Our work with this customer was one of the first uses of DataPortal technology for sharing relational databases over the Web. Across industries, more and more trading partners are sharing more and more information – everything from production plans to engineering change orders to media files – outside of traditional EDI or ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems. In these days of just-in-time inventory, short product cycles and relentless cost pressures, they must share this data quickly and efficiently. Our DataPortal software enables secure, instant and effortless sharing of relational databases in their original, relational form across the Web. It’s as easy as sharing a URL, with no programming, configuration, firewall modification, data conversion or even client software installation required. The need to recruit new suppliers is only one of the use cases  DataPortal fills. It is, of course, just as useful for a specialized supplier who can meet a custom need for a global...

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Are You in EDI Hell – And Can You Escape?

Are You in EDI Hell – And Can You Escape?

If you’re a major retailer or manufacturer – or sell to one – chances are you have had, or still have, EDI (electronic data interchange) software running somewhere in your organization. EDI can be useful and necessary, such as when your trading partner requires it. It works less well if you must pull the data you’re sharing from a relational database, and your trading partner must restore it to its relational form on receipt. In those cases, keeping the data in its original structured database form is a far more direct and efficient solution. EDI also requires extensive configuration and coordination with your business partners. This extra cost and effort can make it harder for you to bring on new suppliers who could help your business – or to sell to new customers attracted by your innovation, quality and low costs. That’s a burden you can’t afford. If you can answer “yes” to any of the following questions, we suggest considering an alternative to EDI as a way to share supply chain information with your business partners. 1) Does it take weeks or months, rather than minutes or days, to bring on a new customer or supplier? Buying and deploying EDI software, reconfiguring your internal systems and agreeing on data sharing methods with a new customer or supplier is a long, tedious process. This not only eats up expensive staff time, but makes you harder to do business with. In an age when speed and agility is everything, you owe it to yourself to see if there’s an easier and quicker way to share order and production databases with new partners. 2) Do you find yourself turning away potential suppliers – or customers – because it’s just too hard to share data with them? Rather than go through the cost and delay of agreeing on how to use EDI, many customers or suppliers simply give up on new business partners. This is especially true if the customer needs parts or raw material ASAP to meet a sudden surge in demand. In this age of anywhere/anytime data access, you should make your partnering decisions based on business, not technical, considerations. 3) Are you bogged down in negotiations when you should be sharing data? Using EDI requires agreeing with every new trading partner over everything from which firewall port to use to appropriate network and security protocols. That doesn’t count the...

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The Agility Tax: The Hidden Price of EDI

The Agility Tax: The Hidden Price of EDI

If you’re a large manufacturer and need access to a rich Web of suppliers — or a supplier looking to sell to a major manufacturer — you know the critical importance of keeping your costs down. But you also know that one cost that can damage your business the most is not being able to share databases quickly enough to take advantage of a new opportunity. This agility tax kicks in when, say, an auto parts manufacturer finds itself short of a specialty heat-treated connector due to a burst in sales or an earthquake near their overseas supplier. If its IT systems can’t easily share the databases of production forecasts and parts it needs with potential new suppliers, production will stop and it will lose sales to its competitors. The same is obviously true for potential new suppliers, who may be able to beat the incumbent on price or quality, but can’t bid for the business because it would take too long to share the required databases. EDI: Right Answer, Wrong Problem Often, the legacy system standing in the way of new business opportunities like these is EDI (electronic data interchange.) Most major manufacturers, suppliers, shippers and retailers (not to mention government agencies) have used EDI for decades to eliminate the use of paper in common business transactions. Despite its name, EDI was designed not to share data in the form of relational databases, but to share standard business forms such as purchase orders, invoices, shipping notices and carrier-to-carrier waybills. It does a good enough job of solving that problem, assuming you and your business partner have enough volume to justify its expense and complexity. But if you need to add new business partners quickly – say, in the wake of a strike, natural or man-made disaster that takes a key supplier offline – EDI is not a good way to quickly share relational databases containing the production and order data you need to ramp up quickly. To know why, it helps to understand what it takes to implement EDI. EDI Under the Covers EDI is a software interface that sits between the different computer systems, and the different data structures, used by the sender and receiver’s systems. That means both parties must buy, configure and maintain EDI software to convert the sender’s form or data into a standard EDI transaction, and to convert the form into a format...

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What You Don’t Know About Database Sharing Could Hurt You

What You Don’t Know About Database Sharing Could Hurt You

If you’re not part of the corporate IT staff, should you care about the nitty-gritty of how your organization shares complex relational databases? The answer is yes, if you are: A Fortune 2000 organization that could better fill rush orders if it could bring new suppliers on board more quickly. A small, specialty supplier that could sell to more, and bigger, customers if it could easily access their production forecasts. A growing business in an emerging market that needs to avoid the complexity and expense of electronic data interchange just to share business data. A CFO who could understand his business better if his financial analysts could more easily access and drill into raw financial data. A Big Data service provider that could make more sales if it could more easily share its insights and data results with its customers, or Any organization that could cut costs or increase sales by doing a better job analyzing data. Why “Relational” Matters If you’re storing any substantial amount of information about customers, distributors, suppliers, raw materials, products, sales, costs or profits, it’s probably in a relational database.  This “relational” capability is critical because it allows you to explore the relationships among different subsets of the data in unpredictable ways to meet new challenges. Let’s say, for example, you’re a sales manager for a retail chain trying to understand why sales fell so far in January. You suspect it’s due to a flu outbreak, and knowing the answer could help you better track future flu outbreaks and adjust stock and promotions accordingly. You have your business analysts compare county-by-county sales of specific products with state data on county-by-county instances of the flu. This is the type of ad-hoc query that’s so important to the business, and is the core function of a relational database.  Even just sharing production forecasts between a customer and supplier require a relational format so the customer can compare suppliers on metrics such as price, on-time delivery and quality. Yet it is exactly these business-critical relational capabilities that most current database sharing approaches strip away – or preserve only at a cost that is too high for most customers. Key Requirements Retaining table structures is important because database queries require them. Comparing specific product sales per store against county-level flu levels might require one table listing sales per store, another listing flu cases per county, and yet another table...

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