Enterprise Application Integration
-- Shaurya Babu
- You have an existing custom-built ERP software (built on Oracle).
- You want to add a new module to enable online purchasing and integrate
this with the existing sales, inventory control and accounting modules
of the ERP package.
- Youre looking at Microsoft due to cost implications of using
- You would also like it to be future proof, and to be able to integrate
with vendors and clients software applications that are being developed.
Before going into an in-depth analysis of how this can be done, it would
be wise to get familiarized with some of the buzzwords in the industry
In today's dynamic and turbulent business environment, there is a strong
need for the organizations to become globally competitive. The survival
guide to competitiveness is to be closer to the customer and deliver value-added
products and services in the shortest possible time. This, in turn, demands
integration of business processes of an enterprise. Enterprise Resource
Planning (ERP) is such a strategic tool, which helps the company gain
a competitive edge by integrating all business processes and optimizing
the resources available.
Supply chain integration
It's the Holy Grail of business-to-business commerce. will help you remotely monitor all your staff cell phone activities. With it, you can
give your company's suppliers an up-to-the-second view of your production
needs, manufacturing operations, and even product development. That lets
suppliers deliver their stuff to you exactly when you need it -- and it
lets you reduce production time, costs, and the amount of expensive inventory
you're keeping around. The first step to the development of an ERP software
is to capture all aspects of a business model. A useful approach is shown
in the figure below.
Clearly, business models must change, particularly in today's rapidly
evolving business climate. Companies find themselves with a difficult
choice, accepting the status quo, and risking competitive stagnation or
redefining their business model, a journey fraught with potential disaster.
Despite the inherent difficulties, many leading companies are making radical
changes to their core logic of value creation.
As they do so, we consider them to be advancing on the continuum shown
in the figure below, which serves as a road map to the change journey.
Maximizing the value of any supply chain involves first integrating supply
chain operations within the company itself, for instance, making sales
and logistics operate together with the customer in mind. The second step
requires collaboration with vendors and customers, for example, on shared
forecasts. The final level is synchronization of the supply chain into
one logical enterprise, operating it as a fully linked and optimized capability
from suppliers to customers. But a further analysis of the subject would
deviate from the problem at hand so lets move to the next most important
tool in providing a solution for you, EAI.
This is a concise introduction to EAI concepts and strategies for IT
managers, systems architects, software developers, and all those charged
with heading up their companies' EAI initiatives.
Implementing an EAI solution consists of 8 major steps
- Identifying sources of data
- Building the enterprise metadata model
- Process integration
- Identifying application interfaces
- Mapping information movement
- Selecting and applying the technologies
- Testing and
The next question would be how to use enterprise application integration
to solve problems in an organization
- By defining the specific problem
- Choosing the best among the several types of architecture and
- Working with the best implementation technologies available
Unless there is a universal computer system or technology stops evolving,
there will always be a need for IT integration. Integration has been a
solution to the business problem of connecting dissimilar systems for
many years. In the last year or so, it has gained growing acceptance as
the prerequisite for CRM, Supply Chain Management and other e-Business
initiatives. In the past, integration has been avoided because it was
viewed as difficult, costly and often hard to justify with realistic Return
On Investment (ROI) estimates. However, with the functions contained in
the maturing CRM e-Business products, costs are easier to calculate, and
consequently, so is ROI. The business benefits provided by integration
are now more easily justified.
Now that we have all the processes lined up, lets have a look at
the all the tools available on the market targeted towards projects just
BizTalk Server 2000
BizTalk Server 2000 offers a suite of tools and services that make building
business processes and integrating applications fundamentally faster.
You can quickly implement secure, reliable trading partner relationships
independent of operating systems, programming models, or programming languages.
- Build Dynamic Business Processes
The BizTalk Server infrastructure helps you to quickly integrate, manage,
and automate dynamic business processes by exchanging business documents
among applications within or across organizational boundaries. With
all of the tools companies need for business process orchestration,
BizTalk Server helps you build processes that span not only applications,
but also businesses, over the Internet. Graphical tools make it easy
for business analysts and application developers to model and implement
solutions for your business.
- Easily Integrate Applications and Business Partners
BizTalk Server 2000 makes it easy for developers to integrate applications
and businesses. Business analysts and application developers benefit
from a host of rich graphical tools for building XML schemas, performing
schema transformations, establishing trading partner relationships over
the Internet, and tracking and analyzing data and documents that are
exchanged. With support for XML and standard Internet technologies,
BizTalk Server 2000 extends the features of traditional e-commerce and
electronic data interchange (EDI) to entire e-commerce communities.
- Ensure Interoperability by Using Public Standards
With extensive support for public standards and specifications such
as XML, EDI, and HTTP, and with security standards such as public key
encryption and digital signatures, BizTalk Server 2000 ensures the highest
level of interoperability and security with your applications and business
Commerce Server 2000
Commerce Server 2000 offers users a less complicated and less time-consuming
way to build tailored, effective e-commerce solutions. By providing the
application framework, together with sophisticated feedback mechanisms
and analytical capabilities, Commerce Server allows you to quickly develop
sites that optimize the customer experience, encouraging repeat business
and forging tighter partner relationships.
- Build Effective, User-Centric Solutions
Commerce Server 2000 provides the critical e-commerce infrastructure
needed to build an effective online business. User profiling and management,
product and service management, transaction processing, and targeted
marketing and merchandising are all integrated to create a comprehensive
system customizable for your specific needs. Build customer and partner
loyalty and increase profitability with an integrated personalization,
merchandising, and buying system that provides the foundation for effective
business-to-consumer and business-to-business solutions.
Commerce Server 2000 includes the critical components for building or
extending your online business. Functionality is combined to manage
product and client information, and to streamline and refine online
business processes. The Profile, Targeting, Product Catalog, and Business
Process Pipelines systems function together seamlessly to enhance the
user experience by delivering one-to-one marketing capabilities.
- Faster Time to Market
Slash time to market without sacrificing functionality and customization.
Commerce Server 2000 reduces the complexity and the time required to
build, deploy, and maintain tailored, effective electronic commerce
solutions. From fully functional out-of-the-box starter sites, a comprehensive
software development kit (SDK), to administrative tools, Commerce Server
makes it easy for you to create sites quickly that are tailored to meet
your business needs. Pre-built applications for sell-side business-to-business
and retail e-commerce provide the framework and business processes that
can be readily tailored or extended with in-house development or the
industry's largest selection of third-party add-ons.
Commerce Server 2000 gives developers the power to quickly build and
deploy effective e-commerce sites, providing administrative tools that
simplify and centralize administrative tasks. The Commerce Server 2000
platform also offers many areas where independent software vendors (ISVs)
add value such as credit card validation, taxation, shipping & handling,
content management, and Business Internet Analytics (BIA).
- Empower Business Managers
Give those accountable for the business the control to manage the online
business day to day. With Commerce Server 2000, business managers have
the control to maximize the effectiveness of their online site. Empower
your business managers to close the loop with customers and partners
by giving them both the decision support they need and the real-time
feedback loop the loop that enables them to be responsive to
the ever-changing needs of customers and partners. By closing the loop,
business managers offer highly personalized and relevant content to
your site users. This converts browsers into buyers and ultimately impacts
your company's bottom line.
Commerce Server 2000 incorporates advanced business analytics and centralized
management that empowers business managers to quickly respond to changing
Application Center 2000
Application Center 2000 is Microsoft's deployment and management tool
for high-availability Web applications built on the Microsoft Windows®
2000 operating system. Application Center 2000 makes managing groups of
servers as simple as managing a single computer. This overview addresses
high-level information on Application Center 2000, touching on application
management, software scaling, and mission-critical availability.
- Simplified Application Management
Application Center 2000 empowers developers and Web site administrators
to deploy applications quickly and easily while minimizing the in-depth
application knowledge requirements. This in turn reduces the complexity
and cost of operating a scalable, highly available application.
- Software Scaling
Software scaling increases the capacity of an application by adding
servers. While hardware scaling requires expensive, specialized servers,
software scaling can be achieved using standard off-the-shelf servers.
In addition, with software scaling, the relationship of cost to added
capacity is close to linear.
Application Center 2000 simplifies software scaling using an idea called
clustering. Although many different technologies have described themselves
as clustering, the fundamental idea is a simple one: a group of servers
used as a single, unified resource. By bringing the servers together
into a cluster, many servers can be managed as easily as one.
In the past, software scaling was a time-consuming and resource-intensive
operation. With Application Center 2000, creating and running a group
of servers is designed to be as simple as operating a single server.
- Mission-Critical Availability
Application Center 2000 is designed so that any server may be brought
down without affecting the availability of the application. There is
no single point of failure. This means applications can have the necessary
mission-critical availability using off-the-shelf hardware.
Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2000
Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2000 provides secure,
fast, and manageable Internet connectivity. ISA Server integrates an extensible,
multilayer enterprise firewall and a scalable high-performance Web cache.
It builds on Microsoft Windows® 2000 security and directory for policy-based
security, acceleration, and management of internetworking.
ISA Server comes in two editions, Standard Edition and Enterprise Edition.
Both have the same rich feature set, although Standard Edition is a stand-alone
server supporting a maximum of four processors. For large-scale deployments,
server array support, multi-level policy, and computers with more than
four processors, you will need ISA Server Enterprise Edition.
Read below for more information about how ISA Server provides secure
Internet connectivity, fast Web access, and unified management.
- Secure Internet Connectivity
Connecting your networks to the Internet introduces security and productivity
concerns that require your business' valuable technology resources.
ISA Server provides your organization with a fast and comprehensive
means to control access and monitor usage, freeing your network administrators
to respond to your business' and customers' needs. ISA Server protects
networks from unauthorized access, inspects traffic, and alerts network
administrators to attacks.
ISA Server includes an extensible, multilayer enterprise firewall featuring
security with packet-, circuit-, and application-level traffic screening,
stateful inspection, broad application support, integrated virtual private
networking (VPN), system hardening, integrated intrusion detection,
smart application filters, transparency for all clients, advanced authentication,
secure server publishing, and more
- Fast Web Access
The Internet offers organizations exciting productivity benefits, but
only if access to Web content is fast and cost effective. The ISA Server
Web cache can maximize performance and save network bandwidth resources
by storing and serving locally cached Web content. This allows employees
to work faster and improves bottom line performance by reducing your
purchase of additional Internet access.
- Unified Management
By combining enterprise firewall and high-performance Web cache functions,
ISA Server provides a common management infrastructure that reduces
network complexity and costs. Whether opting to deploy as an integrated
system or as just a firewall or cache, you get the benefit of integrated
management. ISA Server is tightly integrated with Windows 2000, providing
a consistent and powerful way to manage group access, configuration,
- Extensible, Open Platform
Security policies and imperatives vary from organization to organization.
Traffic volume and content formats also pose unique concerns. No one
product fits all security and performance needs, so ISA Server is built
to be highly extensible. You will find a comprehensive software developers
kit (SDK) for in-house development, a large selection of third-party
add-on solutions, and an extensible administration option.
The technology used for the development of the new modules for the existing
ERP software, the level of reintegration required within the supply chain,
the ROI are all factors influencing each other. The market is wide open
with a number of vendors offering solutions for every type of requirement
and which one suits you best can be best decided by weighing cost and
The wide spread change over to Internet driven ERP software, the
reliability and security of transactions over VPNs (Virtual private
Networks) and the advancements they offer over more traditional systems,
all show that the scene has never been better for an EAI.
In addition to Enterprise Application Integration, we offer services
like Business Process Engineering and Porting Legacy applications to the
web. Please contact us here
for more details.
Innovative solutions for your enterprise resource requirements.