Integration as a Service at Office Depot

Office Depot Inc. is looking for ways to increase revenue and boost
market share in this slowly recovering economy. For the Boca Raton,
Fla., retailer of office supplies and services, keys to achieving those
goals include retaining its most valued customers and creating an edge
over its competitors.

To that end, the retailer is using a software-as-a-service (SaaS)
integration platform from Hubspan Inc., Seattle, to handle transactions
with its business customers.

Prior to using the application, Office Depot’s sales department was
hampered by the fact that it couldn’t support all of the transaction
preferences desired by many of the thousands of business customers the
retailer works with on a daily basis, says Glenn Trommer, director of
e-commerce and implementation services at the company. “In some
instances we were not able to satisfy portions of the orders from our
customers,” Trommer says.

The reason for this was a lack of integration between systems used by
Office Depot and those used by many of its customers. This proved to be
a competitive disadvantage, because other online office suppliers were
able to support these types of transaction preferences, and therefore
fulfill orders.

Officials at the company considered building an integration application
in-house, but that would have been too costly and complex, Trommer
says. They evaluated software-as-a-service integration offerings from
multiple vendors, focusing only on SaaS solutions because they made the
most economic sense.
   
The Hubspan Integration-as-a-Service offering came closest to meeting
Office Depot’s needs, from a cost, performance and customer service and
support standpoint. Furthermore, the vendor was knowledgeable about the
online retail business. In addition, Office Depot was impressed with
Hubspan’s list of clients, which includes Boeing, Barnes & Noble
and Dell.

The service is centered around a secure, multi-tenant technology
platform that supports business transactions regardless of differences
in applications, technologies or protocols.

In addition to conventional batch or file-based business-to-business
integration, the service provides what the vendor calls
“Straight-Through Integration” for better and more sophisticated
connections with customers. Different documents and tasks can be
unified into a single set of request-response transactions across
firewalls and multiple IT systems, according to Hubspan.

“Hubspan helped us take specific customized transaction sets and format
them into something Office Depot can accept from a purchase order
standpoint to fulfill orders,” Trommer says. “That gave us a
competitive advantage we didn’t have before.”

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