Now that the payload is in the appropriate format, you are ready for Step 3—transmission of the data to your business partner.
There are many different Internet protocols that are able to transmit messages (payloads) between companies. The available protocols offer a range of choices to meet different performance and security needs. One way to think about the different options is to compare them to the options offered by the postal service for sending a piece of physical mail. You could send a postcard, which is very inexpensive but offers no privacy, as anyone who encounters it can read the contents. You could enclose the contents in an envelope. But envelopes can be easily opened by anyone handling them. Furthermore the envelope could be accidentally misrouted to the wrong address. Would you put a check for $10,000 in a plain envelope and send it via the postal service? If the contents of your letter were sensitive or critical you might want to receive delivery confirmation. The confirmation might be passive in the form of being able to track the location on a website. Or, the confirmation might be more active, such as a proof of delivery that is sent to you.
Some contents are too large to stuff in an envelope. Instead, a box might be required. If the contents were valuable you might want to secure the interior with special packaging. Furthermore, you might want to insure the package, which would provide financial compensation if it was damaged, lost or stolen.
A long list of network protocols such as AS1, AS2, AS3, AS4, FTP, FTP/S, S/FTP, OFTP, HTTPS, MQ and EBICS are available to support B2B integration. Each of these offers a different combination of security, performance and reliability to appeal to different users.AS1, for example, is a protocol based upon the SMTP (Simple Mail Transport Protocol) that is used for email transmissions. AS1 enables users to take an EDI or XML document and stuff it into an email before sending it across the Internet. AS2, is another protocol that is based upon HTTP (Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol). HTTP is the protocol used to transmit website content such as HTML and images between the browser on your computer and the web server hosted in a remote data center. AS2 enables users to take an EDI or XML document and stuff it into a web page format before sending it across the Internet.
Which transport protocol should you choose? Again, much as with the payload you may not have a choice. Your customers may dictate which protocol (e.g., AS2, FTP) you must use to send data. To accomplish this you will need to ensure that the B2B integration technology you are using supports the transport protocols your customers wish to communicate in.
Again, the good news is that you can tell your vendors exactly which transport protocol they must communicate in.