K3 Server Is Making Enterprise Application Integrations More Efficient, Reduces Work By Half

How is data moved between systems? In the enterprise environment, point-to-point application interfaces are either handled with expensive and cumbersome utilities or, more likely, with custom code…and frankly, a lot of manual labor. BroadPeak Partners has a better idea. The company is today introducing its application known as K3 Server, a system that aims to disrupt the traditional enterprise interface market by making it easier for I.T. to build, and for end users to tweak, the way code is handled, transformed, reconciled, mapped and enriched as it moves in between systems.

BroadPeak is a software consultancy formed in 2006, whose founders have backgrounds in energy trading and capital markets. The idea for K3 Server came to them last year, when they saw the difficulties in how trades were being brought off an exchange and managed for one of their clients.

“It really wasn’t about retrieving trades from that exchange,” explains co-founder Vivek Pathak, “it was about moving data from one system to another system effectively, in a way that was transparent for the business users, and that had fail safe mechanisms to alert when things went wrong (as always does in big tech enterprises), and to give a way for a simple business user to manage the logic of that integration thereafter.”

And so K3 was born. But the product isn’t just meant for moving data off an exchange – the technology BroadPeak designed can be used for anything. Containing 140 open source components which are initially put to work by in-house I.T., the system can be purposed for moving and managing data between just about anything, from data stores in price repositories to electronic health records.

The system offers three main functions: transparency (allowing you to see what data goes through and what fails, so you can act upon that), mapping (field x in System A maps to field y in System B) and rules (if data meets this criteria, then take this action).

For IT, K3 Server means they no longer have to re-invent the wheel every time they need to translate data between two systems or develop a failover routine, for example. The framework allows them to call up the component instead of coding these pieces from scratch every time they’re used.

But while the main data highway, so to speak, is set up by IT, the interesting thing about K3 Server is how the data is handled afterwards. In a traditional environment every little tweak or adjustment would have users scrambling back to developers with a change request. But K3’s “Rules Manager” offers a GUI interface that lets end-users customize their own “if/then” statements for how the data needs to be enriched afterwards (add this reference, set this field, e.g.)

Pathak says that in early beta testing, the GUI was simple enough for an end-user to handle, even though this was someone for whom using an Excel spreadsheet was considered a technical feat. Plus, the company claims that using the K3 Server system instead of traditional processes results in a 50% reduction in deployment, operation and maintenance of enterprise integrations. And who doesn’t love less work, right?

Given BroadPeak’s wide client connections from their consultancy practice, they’re not worried about signing up their first users. However, others interested can sign up to beta test here. For those waiting for the public launch, it’s very close, we’re told, and the system will then be licensed on a per-server basis, renewed annually.

BroadPeak bootstrapped their efforts, spending around $500,000 on K3 Server’s development, and is not looking to immediately raise funding.

Disrupt Q&A

Judges: Adrian Aoun, Fritz Lanman, Dave Samuel & Michelle Zatlyn

MZ: What are the benefits of this?
A: Fast to deploy, really after replacing custom code. Market is around trading, primarily. Can move 130K trades per second through K3. Benefit to business: gets data to right place at right time.

AA: You know it’s not just about wrapping data, it’s about taking actions on data. How much extensibility is in the UI? And what happens when you pass the limits of that?
A: Have 65 integration patterns, plus open source components. We know that in the future we need to create UI transparency into those integration patterns.

FL: Which verticals are being targeted?
A: Trading is a great place to start, because there’s a low tolerance for losing data. Also looking at healthcare and CRM.

FL: Risks in sales process?
A: Developers are used to developing their own stuff. Wish I could say it’s been easy. Sales cycles are about 6 months.

DS: More about the team?
A: Trading biz and tech for long time. (See above)

AA: Is it easy to pitch CIOs?
A: Most boring part – mapping – is the bane of CIOs, they’re backed up all the time.