Understanding webMethods io B2B

Overview

The webMethods.io B2B is Software AG’s secure, format-neutral, business-document gateway that recognizes and processes documents that are exchanged between partners. Through webMethods.io B2B, you can exchange business documents with the partners in your network to relay production information.

webMethods.io B2B allows you to create a B2B network, which is a group of organizations that have agreed to exchange business documents. Participant organizations might include strategic partners, buyers, suppliers, and marketplaces (for example, Ariba Network). These participant organizations are referred to as partners.

Business documents that partners typically exchange include purchase orders, order statuses, purchase order acknowledgments, invoices, and other domain-specific documents. webMethods.io B2B enables your corporation to connect to other organizations to form a business-to-business (B2B) network.

webMethods.io B2B does not require that all partners in the network use webMethods.io B2B or Software AG software. Each of your partners could use their own software to communicate with your instance of webMethods.io B2B. If you have buyers, suppliers, or strategic partners who use other software, you can add them to your network by creating partner profiles for each of them. Partner profiles contain information about how to connect to the partners and share information.


In the following figure, the partner in the center is referred to as the hub of the network or the enterprise partner. The other partners are referred to as spokes. The hub hosts the network and the spokes participate by interacting with the hub. A partner does not have to be exclusively a hub or a spoke; it can be both. It can be a hub of its own network and a spoke in another partner’s network.

hub and spoke model diagram

webMethods.io B2B satisfies the following business needs:

Understanding the Terminology

The following table lists all the terms associated with webMethods.io B2B.

Term Description
Activities A log that webMethods.io B2B maintains to record the activities that occur within webMethods.io B2B. Modifications, updates, activities related to document exchange are typical entries on the Summary page for Transactions. For example, an activity entry is made when you modify partner information, or when webMethods.io B2B processes documents, or when you perform administrative tasks.
Channel A channel forms the basis of communication in webMethods.io B2B. It encompasses a variety of underlying protocols such as HTTP, AS2, and so on to facilitate document exchange. All transactions among partners therefore leverage the underlying transport and exchange capabilities of channels.
Comment Add or update a comment associated with the document. For example, if multiple users are responsible for handling documents that have processing errors, you might want to add comments to indicate that you are working on resolving an issue and the steps that you have taken.
Outbound Channel A method for delivering a document to a partner. For example deliver a document using HTTP. webMethods.io B2B supports delivery by using receiver’s preferred outbound channel.
Business Document A business document (for example, purchase order, acknowledgment, confirmation) sent to webMethods.io B2B. You define exactly one type of business document for each document you expect to receive or send.
Enterprise An enterprise is a special partner that typically represents a corporation, also known as the hub, local partner, or sponsor.
Functional Acknowledgment A functional acknowledgment (FA) is a transaction set sent by the receiver of an EDI transmission to the sender, acknowledging that the message has been received and its syntax is acceptable. Functional acknowledgments do not indicate that the document has been processed by the receiver.
Functional acknowledgments are generated only for inbound documents from a trading partner. Functional acknowledgments are not created when a document submission is internally tested using the Test Document feature, or when a document is submitted to webMethods.io B2B by an integration.
Inbound Channel A method for receiving a document from a partner.
Identity The value of the identity type within a document. Several identity types are available in webMethods.io B2B. For example, if the identity type is a DUNS number, the identity is the actual value of the DUNS number.
Profile A webMethods.io B2B object that contains a summary of information about a corporation that is part of a B2B network. A profile holds details about a corporation such as identities, connections, certificates, contacts, and addresses.
Partner User A partner user is an entity authorized to send business documents in webMethods.io B2B.
Processing Rules A webMethods.io B2B object that contains a set of actions that determine how webMethods.io B2B must process an inbound document with specific the criteria.
Partner A partner is a participant organization in your B2B network. It could be a strategic partner, marketplace, buyer, or supplier. Each partner requires a profile. You can exchange business documents with the partners in your network to relay mission-critical production information.
Preferred Outbound Channel A partner’s preferred protocol through which it wants to receive documents in webMethods.io B2B.
Reprocess When you reprocess a document, you send the document back through the processing rules. For example, you will reprocess a document if the document was processed by the wrong processing rule.
Note: If you reprocess a document for which the document attributes were not saved, the document will not match with processing rules that use that criteria. Instead, the document matches with another processing rule, such as the Default rule, and performs the processing actions defined in that rule
Resubmit When you resubmit a document, you send the document to webMethods.io B2B as a new document. For example, you might resubmit a document when the document does not match any type of business document. When you edit a document and resubmit it, webMethods.io B2B creates a new instance of the document, and continues to process it while the original document remains unchanged.
Service execution Call an integration that is designed using webMethods.io Integration or any other integration software.
You can use one of the following service execution modes to call an integration
  • Synchronous. Before performing the rest of the processing actions, webMethods.io B2B waits for the service to complete before returning to the caller that sent the document for processing. You can further track this type of service execution result in the Course of transaction section.
  • Asynchronous. webMethods.io B2B continues with the remaining processing actions immediately. If there are no subsequent processing actions, webMethods.io B2B returns to the caller that sent the document for processing. You can further track this type of service execution result in the Course of transaction section.
  • Reliable. The Reliable execution mode allows webMethods.io B2B to automatically retry failed integrations by creating a task to track the completion. When webMethods.io B2B attempts to execute an integration and if the integration execution fails, retries the integration execution subsequently until it succeeds or until the maximum retry limit. If the integration execution reaches the maximum retry limit without succeeding, webMethods.io B2B marks the integration execution task as failed icon.
Tasks webMethods.io B2B creates tasks internally to monitor service execution (if the service execution mode is set to Reliable) or for delivering the document by using receiver’s preferred outbound channel.
Transaction An end-to-end business-to-business document exchange corresponds to a transaction in webMethods.io B2B. Irrespective of the type of documents, channels used, a transaction is a neutral runtime aspect of a business-to-business document exchange flow.
Validators Different types of validators are available to validate records, composites, and fields of a business document. You can validate:
  • Records and composites using conditional validators.
  • Fields using either length or code list validators.

Lifecycle of B2B Assets

The assets you create on webMethods.io B2B are referred to as B2B assets. These assets undergo transitions in a specific manner as depicted in the following image.

Lifecycle of b2b assets

Enterprise Profile

An enterprise is a special partner that typically represents a corporation, also known as the hub, local partner, or sponsor.

Click Set up my B2B Enterprise on the welcome screen to open the guided wizard to set up the enterprise.

You can only modify details of an enterprise profile but cannot delete it.

flow of activities in B2B Cloud

Channels

A channel forms the basis of communication in webMethods.io B2B. It encompasses a variety of underlying protocols such as HTTP, AS2, and so on to facilitate document exchange. All transactions among partners therefore leverage the underlying transport and exchange capabilities of channels.

All AS2 communication is Drummond TM certified in webMethods.io B2B.

Inbound channels. Operates by listening to any inbound communication. The B2B enterprise receives documents on all the endpoint URLs you created.

Outbound channels. Sends the document to the intended partners in webMethods.io B2B. A partner must have a preferred outbound channel through which it prefers to receive documents.

Channels performs certain validations on receiving a document:

The following table lists the channel capabilities:

Intention Activity
If the partner needs to only receive documents from webMethods.io B2B Create an outbound channel and associate it with the partner. The partner must have a preferred outbound channel.
If the partner needs to only send documents to webMethods.io B2B Create a partner user for the partner and associate the partner user with an inbound channel.
Sending a document to webMethods.io B2B requires the partner user’s credentials to authenticate the document exchange.
Points to note:
  • Barring the SFTP-IN channel, you can make all other channel types Partner-specific.
  • If sender information is not available in the payload, and when the document is submitted using a partner-specific channel, then the sender information is retrieved using the channel-partner association.
  • If the receiver information is not available in the payload, and the document is submitted using partner-specific channel, then the enterprise is considered as the receiver. For details on how to make a channel partner-specific, see Creating a Channel.

Partner Profiles

A partner profile holds details about a corporation such as identities, connections, certificates, contacts, and addresses.

Partners can send and receive documents to webMethods.io B2B for processing. After processing documents using processing rules, the business documents are delivered as defined in the processing rule.

In webMethods.io B2B, users associated with the partner are the entities that authenticate a document exchange.

To create a partner profile, you must minimally define an identity for that partner. An identity primarily identifies a partner in webMethods.io B2B. The combination of identity type and identity value must always be unique for a partner.

You can add as many partner profiles as you want. Software AG recommends that you keep this information up-to-date.

Important: webMethods.io B2B does not process or utilize any personal information (email ID, role, address, telephone details and so on) for any purpose.


Partner Users

webMethods.io B2B accepts and processes the documents from a partner only if it has a user associated with it. The user credentials of a partner user are used to authenticate a business document exchange in webMethods.io B2B.

Business Documents

Business documents are documents that you and your trading partners exchange. For example, purchase order, acknowledgment, confirmation, and so on. A business document specifies criteria that an inbound document must meet to match the document type, document attributes to extract from documents that match, and processing actions to perform for those documents. You must define at least one document type for each document you receive or send.

webMethods.io B2B supports the following types of documents:

EDI documents webMethods.io B2B supports a comprehensive list of leading industry-standard EDI documents using a single click. You can choose from a variety of EDI documents such as X12, UNEDIFACT, and so on, to receive or send business documents from your partners depending on the standard, version, and transaction type. The default documents that appear on a new instance of webMethods.io B2B are a list of group, envelope, and other native EDI documents.

XML documents webMethods.io B2B supports XML documents. You can use an XML document to define the structure of a document that is created from an XML node. You can define different types of XML documents. For example, you might define documents that represent purchase orders or acknowledgments. For XML documents, you define variations of documents; for example, you might define purchase orders in cXML, OAG, and CBL.

Flat File documents webMethods.io B2B supports Flat File documents. You can add, identify, process, and optionally validate them.

Channel-Partner-User Association

Processing Rules

Processing rules specify how you want webMethods.io B2B to process the inbound documents and the specific actions to take after a document matches with the specified criteria. For example, you might want webMethods.io B2B to execute an integration defined in that rule and then deliver the document to the receiver that is identified in the document using the receiver’s preferred outbound channel.

For each document that webMethods.io B2B is to process, it performs a processing rule lookup to determine which processing rule to use. It does this in the sequence of the processing rules that you specified on the Processing rules page. webMethods.io B2B matches information from the document with the criteria you specify. After webMethods.io B2B locates a matching processing rule based on the criteria, it performs the pre-processing actions you defined for that rule and performs the actions that you specify in the matching processing rule.

When an inbound document arrives, webMethods.io B2B recognizes the type of business document, and extracts the sender ID and receiver ID attributes. After which the extracted sender and receiver attributes are matched with the list of existing partners.

When a document is to be processed, webMethods.io B2B matches the sender with the sender specified within the document being sent. webMethods.io B2B uses the sender identified within the document to lookup the sender’s profile to ensure that a valid partner user is associated with the partner to send the document.

processing rule diagram

Monitoring Transactions

An end-to-end business-to-business document exchange corresponds to a transaction in webMethods.io B2B. Irrespective of the type of documents, channels used, a transaction is a neutral runtime aspect of a business-to-business document exchange flow.

You can search, view, and monitor transactions using the simple search capabilities.

Monitoring enables you to:

webMethods.io B2B provides better availability support for the product and infrastructure. This allows having multiple replicas for paid tenants. This capability ensures a new processing node is assigned as soon as the current processing node fails.
Note that this is only a high availability support and not failover support. This means that the transactions in-flight may fail and those may need to be resubmitted or reprocessed. Any new transactions will be successfully processed on the newly assigned node.