Low-Code B2B Integrations with Anypoint Partner Manager

  • Overview
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  • Transcript
Aridam Kumar,
Technical Product Marketing Manager


Take a closer look at how Anypoint Partner Manager provides a seamless interface for B2B integrations. A low-code and configuration-driven developer experience that helps accelerate partner onboarding, real-time connectivity, and end-to-end traceability ensure messages can be traced across processes and APIs with Anypoint Monitoring, full lifecycle transaction visibility across message types ensures operational excellence, and hybrid connectivity via EDI and APIs ensures consistent onboarding and visibility.

With Anypoint Partner Manager, MuleSoft’s cloud-based solution that modernizes how an organization exchanges business transactions with its B2B partner ecosystem, organizations can seamlessly integrate with partner ecosystems, simplify partner management, and provide visibility into all B2B transactions — EDI, API, or 3rd party connections such as VAN/3PL — through a single interface.

Anypoint Partner Manager allows users to:

  • Accelerate Partner Onboarding: Operationalize partner integrations in days instead of weeks and democratize data across IT and LoB
  • Create Hybrid Integration via EDI and APIs: Extend back-office enterprise application networks with trading partner ecosystems through traditional EDI or modern API channels
  • Unlock Full Lifecycle Transaction Visibility: Improve business and operational insights through visibility into the full lifecycle of business transactions
  • Obtain Real-Time Connectivity and Traceability: Connect to any systems, applications, and data sources, and trace transactions across the workflow

Aridam Kumar (00:06):
Anypoint Partner Manager is MuleSoft's cloud-based solution to modernize the way your organization exchanges business transactions with your B2B partner ecosystem. Anypoint Partner Manager helps accelerate trading partner onboarding, simplifies partner management, and provides visibility into all B2B transactions, EDI, API, or third-party connections such as Van-3PL included all through a single interface. Today we will take a look at Mythical Supplier, which is a consumer goods company selling products to hundreds of B2B customers. They have built their application network following an API led approach, connecting their core ERP, SAP and other systems such as Slack. We will see how they use Partner Manager to automate their end-to-end B2B order-to-cash workflows of their hundreds of partners. We will see four who are exchanging B2B transactions via different protocols and message formats. Partner manager takes care of validating, transforming and routing transactions and interconnects with the process and system APIs all while providing rich visibility and end-to-end transaction traceability

Partner Manager makes it easy to configure our company's profile via a configuration-driven experience. Creating a new endpoint, such as an AS2 receive endpoint is simple and does not require working with the Anypoint AS2 connector. Instead, it can be done right from within Partner Manager. Partner Manager also provides rich information right from this view. Let's take a closer look at the orders process API. All of the incoming purchase orders from customers in different formats such as X12, Edifact, or custom XML and JSON are all translated into Mythical's internal purchase order JSON format and sent to this endpoint. With a single click, users can see all of the dependent message flows, helping to understand the dependency of configurations and assess the impact of any changes. All of the setup and authentication credentials for the endpoint are also shown here. This makes the configuration and maintenance of endpoints easy and transparent.

Similarly, message types can be created from the available options and a variety of formats, versions, and message types are supported. Partner Manager also provides a simple way to extract important information from any field within the data payload, such as a purchase order number or invoice number. Users can define custom message attributes and then import a DataWeave script that contains field mapping. Here is an example of an outbound AR invoice, Accounts Receivable that is, where the custom attributes definition is extracting the invoice purchase order, and sales order numbers from the payload.

Now let's take a look at the configuration of mythical partners. The partners page shows all partners in the current organization and provides a configuration-driven experience to onboard new partners or create third-party connections such as VNs. Selecting a partner from the list takes you to their profile. Their contact information can be updated from the about link, and unique identifiers, certificates, and endpoints specific to this partner can be viewed and configured within the profile.

Partner manager also supports specific EDI message validation settings, delimiter characters, and more for inbound and outbound transactions. Once our company profile and partners have been configured, the next step is to set up message flows, which are the routing configurations, specifying how a message is received, validated, transformed, and delivered to the target. Since we configured the partner and endpoints earlier, users can simply select preconfigured endpoint information and reuse it across partners and flows. For example, when Alp sends an X12850 message, the configurations in this flow are used for the validation, transformation, and routing, and a functional acknowledgement can be sent with a simple configuration. When data is received by a message flow, it first needs to be transformed and mapped to the correct format and structure.

Data mapping can be done using DataWeave, Anypoint Platform's powerful graphical data transformation language. To help get started, a number of data transformations with DataWeave are available as templates and examples on Anypoint Exchange. For example, the B2B ed, I order-to-cash example on Exchange has reference mappings that are common for order-to-cash transactions. DataWeave provides an intuitive graphical mapping experience with the same interface, whether the mapping is for APIs and integrations on Anypoint Platform, or for EDI messages. Next in the message flow is the target message type and endpoint. For all inbound orders, regardless of the source protocol or message type, the target will be the internal purchase order JSON structure and the endpoint will be the process API for inbound orders.

Similar to inbound message flows, creating outbound message flows is a four-step wizard-driven experience. Here is the outbound accounts receivable invoice message flow for Alps where the backend process API is sending the accounts receivable invoice JSON file when an invoice needs to be sent to a customer. Partner Manager dynamically takes care of identifying the routing and transformation logic to convert the data into X12810, or add Edifact Innovic or a custom XML JSON format based on how the customer wants to receive the transaction. When the data is ready, it is sent to the partner directly or via a third-party VAN connection through a standard protocol like AS2.

Now that we understand the low-code experience of onboarding partners and creating B2B integrations and flows, let's look at all of this in action. Beginning with our first partner, Alps Inc. Let's send this X12850 purchase order from Alps Inc. through the configured AS2 connection. As we can see, Partner Manager validated the incoming EDI data, transformed it to the internal JSON structure and called the process API. This in turn called the system API to create the order in SAP, and a Slack notification was sent upon completion.

On the Partner Managers side, each of these interactions are tracked in real-time. The activity page shows all transactions exchanged with business partners, such as the 850 that we sent via AS2 to Alps Inc. Inside this record, the custom attributes extracted from the payload are shown as well. The source payload is what was sent by the partner, and the target payload is the transform data sent to the process API.

The backend system then sent a purchase order acknowledgement in JSON format, which again, the partner needs in an X12 format, so Partner Manager translated that into an X12855 before sending it to Alps. Finally, the system sent an advanced ship notice and an invoice, and each of those records displays the custom attributes, such as the invoice number. A critical part of supporting B2B integrations is the ability to search and trace a certain data field, such as a purchase order number or shipment ID. The custom attributes filter in the activity page can be used to search for a specific transaction. For example, if the accounts team searches for a particular purchase order to research a discrepancy, the system will return every transaction associated with that purchase order number. Associating the purchase order number with logistics transactions will also allow order fulfillment to display here as well, providing a full end-to-end view and making it very easy to search the full life cycle of an order.

The end-to-end processing of B2B transactions goes beyond what happens within Partner Manager as the process and system APIs orchestrate the workflow. Anypoint Platform's monitoring capabilities allow transaction tracing across all layers as they process through Partner Manager and the APIs. For example, we can use the transmission ID from this inbound 850 record to search for all related activity in Anypoint Monitoring, including the entire processing chain and logs from partner manager services and the process and system APIs. Here is when the inbound AS2 app run by Partner Manager received the transaction from the partner, and here's the entry when the process API successfully called the SAP system API to create the sales order.

Now that we have seen how Alps, Inc. uses the X12 format over the AS2 connection, let's take a look at how Partner Manager makes it easy to configure integrations across other communication protocols and formats as well. Let's send a few of these transactions from various partners and see how consistent the entire experience is. First off, we have Bluestone, a partner based in Europe, and they used the Edifact standard to send and receive orders and information. Let's send this Edifact order to Mythical supplier just like we did with Alps Inc., but recall that Alps Inc was using the X12 standard. Regardless of the standard used, the experience in Partner Manager is consistent, and here we can see the Bluestone order with the payload and selected attributes.

In an order-to-cash scenario, it is important to support a variety of communication methods to expand the scope of your business. Partner Manager also supports API-led communication over the HTTP protocol. Let's take a look at two other partners, Nile and Raintree, who send JSON and XML messages via HTTP.

Thanks to the seamless integration with the Anypoint Platform, HTTP APIs can be created and managed in API Manager. Then you can simply specify the API ID in Partner Manager when creating the HTTP receive endpoint. This means that the APIs can be managed by Anypoint Platform's industry-leading API management features and can be secured using the out-of-the-box policies provided in API Manager. On the B2B message flow side, the experience remains consistent. Here is a message flow that processes the incoming XML purchase order from Raintree over HTTP and uses the DataWeave map to convert this into Mythical's internal JSON purchase order. At the end, the target message is the JSON formatted purchase order sent to the same orders process API to which orders from the other partners are sent as well, despite those orders coming in over the AS2 protocol in either an X12 or Edifact format.

Let's take a look at this in action. By sending a JSON purchase order from Nile and an XML purchase order from Raintree to the HTTP endpoints we have configured. As we can see, the activity view tracks transactions. Regardless of the communication standard and the same process, API can process the transform payload from all vendors. Users can then filter by message type instead of the standard used and ensure that they see all related transactions providing invaluable end-to-end business insight into our company's relationships regardless of communication protocols and formats. Anypoint partner Manager is a complete B2B integration suite with a low code experience enabling line of business users. The API-led connectivity approach and full integration with the Anypoint Platform offer real-time connectivity with partners and backend systems end-to-end visibility, and search capabilities enable business and operational users to view and trace transactions across the full lifecycle, and with the coexistence of EDI and API communication, organizations are truly prepared for the future.

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