Transmitting data over the Internet involves two facets: messaging agents and security. Data and messaging tools enable the Internet-based exchange of transactional data between different buyers and suppliers in the e-procurement marketplace. To do this, transactions are sent via the Internet as “messages” and then integrated into a supplier’s or buyer’s back-office system, enabling financial postings that coincide with the receipt, payment, and invoicing processes. Data messaging tools are also used to cancel transactions and log failures when messages can’t be delivered within a predefined time period or following a specified number of attempts. The most important aspect of the messaging tool is that it enables real-time communication between buyers and sellers.
Coincidentally, security is an important aspect of any Internet transaction. Protecting a buyer’s confidential financial information and ensuring that only designated buyers have access to supplier product information is critical to ensuring confidence in any e-procurement system.
Maintaining an e-procurement system involves configuring and monitoring performance usage, average response time, transaction sources, and traffic patterns. To maximize the benefits and strategic opportunities e-procurement systems offer, this information should be used to analyze growth patterns, session times, and ultimately to fine-tune the system’s performance to fit specific market communities or technical environments.
Once an e-procurement system is up and running, it’s important to monitor traffic and system securityon a day-to-day basis. Inadequately designed transaction engines can result in poor marketplace performance, lack of scalability, breakdowns in security, and, ultimately, frustrated users.