The title if this paper may be somewhat misleading: it is about data exchange and the ability to share information but, specifically, it is about those exchanges and that sharing taking place outside the confines of your organisation. Technically speaking we would say that it is ‘outside the firewall’. In other words we are talking about sharing information with third parties of various types, whether these are other organisations, partners, agents, customers, resellers or whoever.
There are a number of reasons why you might want to do this, depending on the type of organisation you are, and the first section of this paper will attempt to highlight some of the benefits that can be derived from this sort of data sharing. Rather than discuss this from a purely theoretical perspective we will illustrate what may be achieved by means of some use cases. Note that all of these use cases are reallife examples and are not simply conceptual.