CASE STUDY

ChannelApe

ChannelApe Embeds RSSBus Connect, Enables Customer EDI and MFT





Through their suite of powerful APIs, ChannelApe provides a complete toolkit for direct to consumer (D2C) brands. From mom & pop shops to scaling companies with millions of customers, their suite is the preferred solution for building a web store, connecting warehouses, managing product catalogs, and handling inventory & order management.

The Opportunity: Adding Value and Customers with EDI and MFT

For many ecommerce and warehousing brands, electronic data interchange (EDI) and partner file exchanges are a core part of doing business, particularly for those selling to major retailers.

These companies need to automatically:

  • Pass live purchase information from their websites to their warehouses for order processing
  • Send inventory updates to their retail customers
  • Exchange purchase orders and invoices with partners
  • And meet EDI document standard requirements

As a leading SaaS ecommerce D2C platform, adding EDI and managed file transfer (MFT) capabilities would help ChannelApe fill a key need for their customers. Their vision? A seamless user experience, where their customers could easily handle core EDI and MFT functions without ever leaving the ChannelApe ecommerce platform.

But EDI and MFT weren’t exactly their development strong suit.

The Challenge: Adding File Transfer & Mapping Without Reinventing the Wheel

While adding EDI and MFT would help ChannelApe better serve customers, they didn’t want to waste time reinventing the wheel.

Their options were to select an external solution or face the prospect of building EDI and MFT capabilities themselves, which would take hundreds of development hours, costing thousands in certification fees and interoperability testing.

The reason development would be so expensive? EDI and MFT require flawless adherence to strict file standards and file transmission protocols that can quickly become quite complex. In many cases, EDI and MFT tools are governed by regulatory bodies, such as The Drummond Group, which certifies AS2 file transfer software. Each new certified solution is verified against every other Drummond interoperable product, requiring stringent testing and continuous maintenance.

In addition, the specific integrations ChannelApe wanted to add included intricate translations between XML and EDI X12 document standards, with files commonly transferred via secure protocols, such as AS2, FTP, and SFTP, among others.

Instead of having to develop their own middleware layer, ChannelApe sought a powerful, modern EDI solution with an API that could embed directly into their product suite.

They needed a tool that would:

  • Do the work for them with a ready-made middleware layer they could plug in
  • Eliminate custom coding for EDI standards, MFT protocols, security, and AS2 retries
  • Work with their existing infrastructure
  • Offer an extensibility model that would allow them to deliver custom business logic on top of the middleware
  • Allow them to embed these capabilities into ChannelApe to avoid customer confusion

In 2017, after researching solutions, including EDI and MFT tools from some of the largest technology brands, ChannelApe opted for RSSBus Connect.

The Solution: Running EDI as Microservices in Containers

RSSBus Connect provided a modern EDI and MFT solution for Channel Ape’s ecommerce toolkit. After purchasing our affordable starter license, they had their engineering team run RSSBus Connect for in-house EDI and file transfers. Upon seeing success for their internal use case, ChannelApe successfully launched embedded EDI with one of their clients, acquired a full license, and started adding more customers.

Simplifying Complexity with Certified EDI and MFT

RSSBus Connect is built specifically to meet all major EDI standards, including X12, while also handling XML and other modern file formats. It also strictly adheres to all requirements for popular file transmission protocols, such as AS2, and is Drummond-Certified.

As ChannelApe tested RSSBus Connect, they found it simplified the complexities of sending, receiving, and exchanging EDI documents over secure protocols.

"RSSBus would pass documents from XML to X12, and then just drop them off with AS2. That was crazy difficult for us, but RSSBus just made it easier. Once we drop off documents, everything else is handled," said Michael Averto, CEO of ChannelApe. “It’s the same thing in the opposite direction. Customers can send X12 documents over AS2, which converts into XML. Now, it’s just easier.”

Nimble Deployment through Docker Containers

In addition, its universal deployment options and modern, API-based architecture gave RSSBus Connect the versatility to fit ChannelApe’s existing application infrastructure. They conveniently run RSSBus Connect XML, X12, AS2, SFTP and other connectors as a suite of lightweight microservices — all through Docker containers.

RSSBus Connect is a lightweight application that comes in two editions: Windows and Java. The Java version runs as a .war file and can be deployed to any Java Servlet container, such as the popular Apache Tomcat. The universal-platform Java edition makes it easy to deploy and host RSSBus Connect in almost any environment, including Docker containers. That flexibility made RSSBus Connect the best fit for ChannelApe.

"We’re historically a Java shop, and our other services run inside of Docker," Averto said. “When I saw RSSBus Connect could run as Java on Tomcat, that was the main reason we tried it. RSSBus has made it much easier for us to scale and handle upgrades. We can basically just bring up a new container and change the load balancer out.”

Unlocking the Power of Modern EDI with Microservices

RSSBus Connect is a lightweight tool intentionally built to support a nimble microservices architecture. The RSSBus Connectors can be run as a suite of microservices, providing discrete connections and enabling data flows to support versatile, unique configurations.

In addition, RSSBus Connect comes with powerful developer APIs, making it fully extensible, so ChannelApe could instantly call RSSBus Connectors into their platform.

ChannelApe set up their APIs to communicate through the RSSBus Connect developer APIs. As a result, their customers never even have to leave their platform to easily send, receive, and exchange files.

This powerful combination unlocked the raw potential of EDI and MFT for ChannelApe customers — all with minimal development.

"RSSBus Connect has been pretty easy to set up and get going. We really appreciate that it comes with an API that can easily be extended, so we can add capabilities into our tooling."

— Michael Averto, CEO, ChannelApe

The Results: Millions of Messages Exchanged and Counting

Two years on, and the SaaS ecommerce platform has found RSSBus Connect is a lasting, modern, and affordable EDI solution.

RSSBus Connect features are used frequently by ChannelApe customers who need EDI or MFT connectivity.

"We handled about 2 million files in 2018, but that could be counted as double or triple because of the translation ports," Averto said.

One of the big reasons for their success? Reliability.

"It’s been really rock solid for us. We just made it through a pretty big holiday season without any issues at all," Averto said.

In addition to handling EDI exchanges, RSSBus Connect is playing a key business role for ChannelApe and is part of their 2019 growth plans, as they are exploring adding more RSSBus Connectors to handle more transactions.

"RSSBus Connect has helped our business focus on solving the core problems of D2C supply chains rather than rebuilding proprietary connections and transports for EDI and MFT."

— Michael Averto, CEO, ChannelApe







Simplify your Integration Today with RSSBus Connect

RSSBus (www.rssbus.com) is a leading provider of data access and connectivity solutions, specializing in the development of data integration technologies for realtime access to online or on-premise applications, databases and web APIs.

Our flagship product, RSSBus Connect, is used by more than 100,000 customers worldwide and is the only Drummond Certified AS2/AS4 solution that is completely free for use with a single trading partner.


Download Now





* RSSBus and the RSSBus logo are registered trademarks of RSSBus. All other product names, trademarks and registered trademarks are property of their respective owners. All company, product and service names used in this website are for identification purposes only. Use of these names,trademarks and brands does not imply endorsement.