Tag Archives: Smart Mapping

The End of Mapping is Here… Almost

A recent blog post by Steve Keifer, titled “The End of Mapping (in B2B Integration)”, asks why B2B translators can’t automatically identify and map source-to-target fields. Well, the answer is they can – at least EXTOL’s translators can. Our customers have been saving countless hours on mapping activities using EXTOL’s design-time automation technology for more than a decade!

With the Advanced Automapper feature in our EXTOL EDI Integrator for IBM i (EEI), our customers simply select a reference map, and the Advanced AutoMapper will compare it with other maps using the same files, generating a new map with the appropriate data fields. It is a very effective tool for the majority of customers, who have multiple trading partners, but trade the same or similar documents. Each new trading partner can be on-boarded much more quickly, eliminating most of the manual and repetitive mapping tasks. Continue reading

e-Business Integration Mapping Approaches and When to Use Them

When implementing an e-business integration solution, whether it is cloud, data, application-to-application (A2A) or business-to-business (B2B), there are always common activities that have to be performed.  One of those activities is creating the data transformation maps.   This is usually the most complicated and time consuming part of the integration process.  In an attempt to reduce time and effort required to create these maps, different approaches, both manual and automated, have been tried and tested.  Let’s take a look at some of these methods and which circumstances to use them:

Manual Mapping

One available approach is the process of identifying the source and target data formats, then manually mapping the rules for the transformation.  Unlike the old conventional method of coding, current integration middleware solutions usually employ some form of visual drag-and-drop functionality.  This is the most common, but also the most time-consuming approach.  Manual mapping can be used for building new transformations, especially when no similar map is available to use as a starting point. This approach can also be used when implementing a brand new integration middleware solution, or when there aren’t any other available options.  Examples of this are when new applications and trading partners are integrated into the solution or, when brand new document formats from external integrations are introduced.   Continue reading

Is Data Mapping a Solved Problem?

Many IT professionals believe that data transformation and mapping are “solved problems”.  After all, mapping tools have been around for over 20 years, and thousands of IT organizations use them in integration projects every day.  “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, right?

What belies that attitude are the missed integration project deadlines, runtime exceptions, customer chargebacks, vendor scorecard deductions and other business problems that can be traced to data transformation mapping practices.  Mapping is also the single most costly integration activity, accounting for up to 75% of some integration project costs.  Yet few project teams focus attention on ways to improve mapping efficiency and accuracy. Continue reading

Smart Mapping: Matching and Rule Generation

Ok, so you recently read a few posts about automated mapping, specifically Smart Mapping and you’re thinking to yourself, “Awesome!  I love it when computers do useful things for me and make my life easier… But what does Smart Mapping actually do?”  Well, the simple answer to that question is it does two things, matching and rule generation.  Now you’re thinking “Oh, right….  Well, what does THAT mean?”  Fear not, I will explain.

But before I do, it is important to understand that Smart Mapping is initiated from and runs in the EBI Ruleset Editor.  Those of you who are familiar with the EBI Ruleset Editor already know what rules are and their role in mapping.  Those of you who are not familiar with the EBI concept of rules and the Ruleset Editor may want to refer to Greg Inns’s scintillating blog “It’s all about the Model”.  In it, you’ll find explanations of what rules are and how EBI uses them to get data from source to target. Continue reading