Many of StrikeIron's direct customers integrate our various API-delivered data services into applications, Web sites, and business processes entirely on their own, usually with a single line of code or two - a testament to how easy this is to do. These product offerings available on the Cloud can be integrated into anything that can consume a SOAP or REST-based Web service (which is just about anything).
However, StrikeIron has also developed technology integration partnerships with many of today’s top software and Internet solutions platforms, solutions which are all enhanced by integrating Data-as-a-Service capabilities from StrikeIron.
Having these capabilities, such as real-time address verification, email verification, sales tax rates, foreign currency rates, SMS text messaging, and phone verification, pre-integrated into various other platforms that are already in use by large customers every day can be a very compelling solution. It is a win-win-win scenario for our customers, partners, and our technology.
One such partner is Informatica. Informatica has integrated several StrikeIron services for the purposes of contact data validation within its Informatica Cloud platform, as data validation is a very important step in the integration of data between various platforms. These services can be used via the Informatica Cloud StrikeIron plug-in, or as directly integrated within the Informatica Cloud platform per our most recent partnership. In the latter case, some of our services are available for use simply by checking a box directly within Informatica's Cloud application. This makes it very easy to have high quality, validated data arriving at a target destination, having been cleansed as an intermediate step while in transit from its source. You can view a recorded Webinar here.
A recent ComputerWorld article mentioned how Mohawk Fine Papers uses cloud-based services to sell its products on Amazon.com. The company has generated tens of thousands of dollars by creating business processes in the cloud.
Mohawk discovered our Foreign Currency Exchange Rates Web service. This Web service provides "up-to-date currency exchange rates to Mohawk's on-premises ERP system at the time of invoice for international orders." It easily keeps track of foreign exchange rates for 160 currencies. This service provides both current (updated every 30 minutes) and historical foreign exchange rates.
Mohawk cites recent projects, including the one with StrikeIron, responsible for "producing new revenue opportunities and millions of dollars in savings."
Thanks to low cost and short integration time, cloud-based Web services make it possible to reap big benefits.
What are your thoughts? Is this really the end of massive IT architectures?
When Oracle releases version 7.1 of its NetBeans IDE, 8 different StrikeIron Web Services APIs will be pre-integrated into the development environment. This makes it easy to build applications that leverage StrikeIron functionality and its real-time data sources. All of the underlying data sources are updated and maintained within StrikeIron's data center utilizing its IronCloud platform. Since the interfaces, behavior, and data structures are the same across all of StrikeIron's APIs, it makes it very easy to build sophisticated applications that leverage these external data sources, and without the corresponding cost traditionally associated with procuring, updating, and maintaining these data sources internally.
The 8 services to be included are:
Foreign Currency Exchange Rates (160 currencies updated every 30 minutes)
North American (US & Canada) Address Verification (CASS & SERP)
Global Address Verification (240+ countries)
IP Address Lookup
Reverse Phone Lookup
SMS Text Message Alerts (Supports 600 carriers in 60+ countries)
Sales and Use Tax Rates Complete (US & Canada)
Using the IDE, these Web services can easily be integrated into Web applications, business processes, Websites, and enterprise software applications, and anywhere else where SOAP-based Web services can be consumed.
Version 7.1 including the integration will be released soon. The nightly development build of the NetBeans IDE 7.1 that includes these services can however be downloaded and installed now from here: http://bits.netbeans.org/download/trunk/nightly/
There are several great reasons for integrating live foreign currency exchange rates into applications and Websites, especially since it is so easy and cost-effective to do.
For example, Melissa Smith of retailcustomerexperience.com reported this month
that online retailers are seeing as much as a 25% online sales gain by showing prices in local currencies when utilizing a visitor's browser or IP address
to determine location.
Also, companies with a global presence can track expenses such as media costs and the corresponding sales revenue associated with those media costs using current exchange rates, especially when the expenses are being paid out of foreign accounts. Using accurate daily rates prevents these costs and sales numbers from being misleading due to global currency swings, or specific currencies trending up or down over certain periods of time. This also enables decision makers to better gauge success or failure with international advertising campaigns.
This is not only true with advertising costs, but any international sales or accounting reports can have a degree of consistency to them when they are unified using a single, accurate currency rate. This is important because (and especially lately) fluctuations between the US Dollar and the Euro for example can be 5% or more in a given month, and can see 20% fluctuations in a year. This is also true of many other currencies relative to each other as well.
One possible solution is to manually obtain current foreign exchange rates from the Web and plug them into your Website content management system on a periodic basis. However, this can be a hassle, requires manual work, and if not done often enough can lead to serious accuracy problems.
Another is to screen-scrape rates from various Websites via a script of some kind. This may cause legal complications, as well as run the risk of scripts breaking and having to be re-implemented when the source Websites change.
There are also other vendors offering currency rate tables via CSV files for purchase that also require these rates to be stored, managed, and maintained and can add significant process complexity into application or Website development cycles.
The best way to integrate foreign exchange rates (as with most data that changes frequently) is to utilize a SOAP or REST-based Web service where the current rate is retrieved wherever and whenever it is required for a calculation. This ensures the greatest possible accuracy, and eliminates manual processing and the costs associated with maintaining, storing, and updating currency rate tables. It also requires no hardware or software to be purchased, and essentially enables the plucking of currency rates from the "Cloud" when required. It is benefits like these that are causing the current surge in cloud computing.
And since this approach uses an API, the currency rates can be integrated into anything that can consume a Web service, including popular SAAS applications such as Salesforce.com, ecommerce applications such as Magento, and into smartphone devices such as the iPhone and Android platforms. And, depending of course on the platform, the integration can be achieved with just a few simple lines of code.StrikeIron's Foreign Currency Rates Web Service API
carries current exchange rates for over 160 currencies that are updated every thirty minutes throughout each business day. These rates are aggregated from a variety of global banks and currency markets. Historical rates back to 2004 based on the London close are also provided.
There is a lot of commerce occurring around the globe. When it can be simple, straight-forward, and cost-effective to implement foreign currency rates into any application, Website, or business process, using them ought to fall into the "no-brainer" category.