The global supply chain has shrunk in every aspect. Business boundaries are fast loosing relevance. In the 21st century, businesses are expected to shake hands with entities far away in distance and culture. But there is a business reason to collaborate. IT integration (data and process integration) is a key enabled to such collaborations. There is a significant standardization effort, which is happening globally. For instance XBRL reporting, e-Procurement portals architectures, advancement in EDI, industry data architecture models all indicate the drive for extended enterprise interaction and the role of IT in making such collaborations.
Business enterprises have increasing need for their system to talk with each other along the supply chain and the extended enterprise. Given the surge as well as the diversity of applications within and outside the enterprise, most of the integration efforts are getting complex in nature. The situation demands businesses to focus on developing the right ‘integration architecture’ at a conceptual level and then a realization strategy that focuses on the implementation of the data and knowledge integration.
Our experience and research guides us to understand the need, which in turn assists us to carefully structure the integration efforts within and between the enterprises.
Focus on ‘process’ and ‘data’:
In its granularity, the interfaces and integration reduces to set of data and processes (flow) between the enterprises. In our engagements, we focus on the level of collaboration and its properties.
Architectures are best representation of a result; in short, it is a miniaturization of complex relationship. Developing data integration architecture provides the clarity to the realization team.
Current advancement in technologies allows the development of re-usable capsules based on ‘service oriented architecture’.
Integration design & development
There are best of breed applications that provides seamless benefits to business houses in their focused areas however, businesses are set of management processes that need seamless flow of information between and amongst the different units (and hence applications). In such instances, robust integration between the applications will help to balance the benefits of ‘best of breed’ applications and the need for ‘creating seamless business flows’.
When we defined our integration services, one of the core philosophies was to “provide a consistent end user experience” which means, the integration should focus on objectives like:
- Eliminate redundancy
- Focus on data quality (minimize reconciliation)
- Improve business intelligence
In our view, a good integration effort can result in significant cost reduction of replacing existing technologies (due to lack of interaction between the diverse applications).
Middleware & web services implementation
Service oriented architecture (SOA) in its simplest form means “ability to diverse processing and delivery applications to talk to each other without human intervention”. This is an important requirement of large enterprises and other organizations that require significant interaction with its stakeholders. SOA brings in efficiency through automation and aids a quick deployment life cycle, thus helping organizations to reap the first mover advantage. From an end user perspective, it provides consistent multi-channel interaction and provides accuracy and service response.
We aim to help our clients, who have invested significantly in large scale IT applications to realize responsiveness through structured implementation of middleware and web services. The benefits to clients are:
- Extend the life cycle of current applications investment while delivering superior customer service
- Provide extended enterprise interaction with other supply chain partners
- High return on investment through enhancement approach than replacement approach