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How Amalto uses Platform 6

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Founded in 2005, Amalto Technologies provides innovative enterprise-level solutions enabling B2B integration and electronic document exchange services, automating master data and transactional data flows between clients’ internal solutions (ERP, CRM, billing software) and their trading partners (customers, suppliers, logistics providers, banks…) or cloud solutions like Salesforce and SAP Ariba…

Over the years, Amalto developed a strong relationship with flagship customers like Chevron, Iron Mountain, Clean Harbors, Suez, Thales, and many others. The typical Amalto client has revenues ranging from a couple hundred million dollars to a few billion dollars.

While the majority of clients leverage Amalto to streamline their Order to Cash process thanks to the integrated submission and reception of electronic transactions (like Purchase Orders, Advanced Shipping Notices, Invoices…), others focus on areas like Procure to Pay, system integration or logistics.

But regardless of the scope of business processes, transaction types, connected trading partners and systems, Amalto has always been applying the same approach: for each client, Platform 6 is used to develop a custom B2B application based on the client’s requirements and to run it in a private cloud mode (Amalto hosts a set of dedicated Platform 6 instances for each client).

Over the years, this approach has proven to be very flexible, secure and efficient. It also paved the way for Platform 6 to become the solution you know today:

  • A solution created by developers for application developers;
  • A solution to build apps able to support complex B2B scenarios, involving integration with external systems, data transformation, enrichment and validation, workflows and user interactions, etc.;
  • A solution with a proven stability and performance track record.

More recently, Platform 6 was also enhanced to be blockchain-compliant and blockchain agnostic, making it the perfect solution to build, package and run decentralized, enterprise-class, blockchain applications. These new features are already getting significant interest from leading Amalto clients willing to leverage innovation to keep their competitive advantage.

Platform 6 is now available for any organization to develop and market their applications, and, like Amalto did, grow a strong business with a loyal customer base and a solid stream of recurring revenue.

The Genesis of Platform 6

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It all started in 2006, when we founded Amalto Technologies, a B2B integration service provider, helping major clients automate the flow of business documents between their internal solutions (ERP, CRM, billing software) and external systems – trading partners (customers, suppliers, logistics providers, banks…) or cloud solutions (Salesforce, SAP Ariba…).

 

From a middleware to a platform

We initially developed a middleware, able to support back-end system integration and the exchange of electronic business documents. Over the years, it grew into a full platform that allowed Amalto teams to build and run high-end B2B transactional applications matching very specific and elaborate client requirements. Platform 6 was born.

Applications developed on Platform 6 support complex document processing (data validation, transformation, enrichment, orchestration), a wide range of options regarding secure connectivity and they benefit from a responsive design web interface providing end users with the ability to run reports, display dashboards, handle workflow tasks – and, obviously, search and display transactions, etc.

 

The low-code platform for decentralized transactional applications

Amalto experts always keep close tabs on innovation and early on investigated how blockchain technologies would fit in the enterprise world and B2B integration space. The team soon realized that, with a few additional features, Platform 6 would be the perfect solution for developers to build and package enterprise-class decentralized applications leveraging blockchain.

Therefore we decided to grow the scope of Platform 6 scope in a few directions:

  • Adding the ability to integrate with leading enterprise blockchain frameworks, starting with EthereumAllowing to easily package a developed application and install it on any Platform 6 instance (this was not needed before as each application developed by Amalto is specific to a particular client, therefore does not need to be distributed)
  • Creating a mechanism that supports a freemium business model while enabling organizations publishing Platform 6 applications to generate revenue from the usage of their published apps.

With these additions, Platform 6 now offers a unique solution for a startup, a systems integrator or any organization with development skills to build and package an enterprise-class decentralized application in a few days or weeks, then to install it and run it on any Platform 6 instance.

And in case you were wondering, Amalto is leveraging Platform 6 more than ever!

What Makes an Enterprise Application

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If ten CIOs were asked what an Enterprise Application is, they would probably offer ten different definitions! But they would also converge on a few critical elements of what makes anEnterprise Application: security, scalability, robustness, IT standards adherence…

According to Techopedia, an enterprise application is “a large software system platform designed to operate in a corporate environment such as business or government.”
The “large” part of the definition is a question of perspective and does not matter, really, but the fact that the application operates in a corporate environment is critical. An enterprise application must therefore meet the IT standards of that environment.
Software development expert and author Martin Fowler offers a more functional definition: “Enterprise applications are about the display, manipulation, and storage of large amounts of often complex data and the support or automation of business processes with that data.”

 

Minimum set of services

Technically speaking, a number of capabilities must be addressed by enterprise applications. They include for example:

  • Users & permissions: sets users rights to view any object, run any transaction and set administrative rights. These rights are defined in an enterprise directory such as Active Directory. Therefore the enterprise application needs to be able to connect to this directory, to implement role-based access control (RBAC) permissions and to integrate with enterprise single sign-on (SSO).
  • Organizations: defines the organizational structure and the assignment of users to these organizations. Assignments are used by workflows and filters.
  • Payments & charges: whether through a wallet system or by plugging into transactional payment systems, defines how users pay to use the application

From a functional standpoint, referring to Fowler’s definition, one can add:

  • Data structures (tables, files), to store and leverage the data managed by the application or that controls its behavior.
  • Workflow, for supporting processes that require user actions (review, approval…).
  • Events, to define and implement routing and mediation rules.

Depending on organizations, further requirements may exist related to data governance,privacy, redundancy, scalability IT policies, systems used, etc. Enterprise architecture rules may also govern the way the application is built (micro services, APIs, n-tier, etc.) and how it is maintained.

Bottom line, enterprise applications are complex beasts. Before even starting to write code for the application’s logic, the developer must consider a whole set of underlying requirements that may very well represent a lot more work/cost than the actual business logic!
This is why developers often leverage development frameworks or platforms, that provide access to the foundational capabilities required by enterprise applications. These frameworks are varied in types, functionality and technical depth. Among the most well known, we could list for example J2EE, Ruby, Spring, Angular, Eclipse, CUBA, Zend, Sensio – and of course Platform 6.