I N T E G R AT I O N
Dynamic Integration: Methods for Automating Change in Complex Business Relationships
A Pervasive Software White Paper
Table of Contents
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Integrating Challenges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mapping Reuse and Automation in Integration Scenarios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Real-Life Use Cases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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Contact/Trademark Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Introduction The vision of automated integration methodologies as the natural next step in business relationships is implicit in many technology initiatives, such as SOA (Service-Oriented Architecture) and Web services and dating back to industry standards like EDI, HIPAA, etc. Data is now exchanged rapidly, and maintaining a static approach to integration creates a severe and unnecessary drain on IT budgets. “Hard-wired” integration solutions simply can’t keep up with complex collaborative schemes involving diverse data formats, business applications, database systems, connectivity methodologies and operating systems—all of which are subject to change at any time. The difference between conventional integration scenarios and those that contain at least a portion of automated functionality can be measured in dramatic cost savings, enhanced operating efficiency, more profitable customer and partner relationships, and long-term business stability. The long-range view clearly indicates that automating integration will eventually become the norm, and static methodologies the exception. Organizations that take advantage of automated integration capabilities can gain a competitive edge in their respective markets by offering faster, more flexible ways to establish durable interfaces with their customers and business partners. As the global economy creates interdependencies, dynamic integration helps make the connections that drive vital relationships.
Integration Challenges Integration challenges can be large in scope and highly complicated. A typical basic integration scheme might involve linking in-house inventory and accounting applications to an online payment processing system. Larger integration scenarios could be much more complex, requiring multidimensional pathways among several layers of customers, partners and consumers in order to manage a range of high-level business functions. Regardless of size or complexity, integration scenarios are vulnerable to even the slightest change occurring at any time or at any point along any linked systems. In fact, a wide variety of change can occur in even a single business relationship. For example, a company’s customer can be expected to frequently alter the way it formats its business data for delivery or the way that it deals with returning data upon receipt. Consequently, the company must repeatedly adapt its own systems in order to effectively interact with this customer’s information and meet the customer’s business needs. Further, the customer likely utilizes business systems and software from diverse providers, who in turn might alter their way of doing things periodically. Even along a single customer pathway, change is inevitable. Stress and variation will be the norm, and integration technologies must be designed to deliver the right results under these conditions. Change is magnified across multiple pathways too. Every customer is unique, running its own set of software systems, following its own business processes, and offering its own set of services—all of which are subject to subtle or massive change at any time. For example, a large customer base presents a wide range of data exchange formats that must be smoothly integrated with a company’s internal data exchange standards. Amid the change are evolving governmental regulations that can impact reporting requirements, data formats and other factors that must be incorporated into an integration scenario. Regulatory mandates and industry standards covering data are growing more common and include HIPAA, HL7, ACORD and others. Integration solutions, thankfully, are taking hold. Companies and organizations can design effective dynamic integration schemes that can accommodate ongoing changes of this scope in a timely, cost-effective manner. Dynamic Integration
ISV and SaaS Integration Challenges Independent software vendors have their set of own integration challenges, depending on the types of software they provide, the kinds of customers and partners they work with, and the industries and business models they support. Migration and growth ISVs regularly face the challenges of migrating new customers to their software from competing products. They must meet these challenges quickly and thoroughly because profitability depends on how easily and quickly customers can expect to get critical financial information up and running in the new environment. Over time, ISVs and SaaS (Software as a Service) vendors need to be able to address the range of competing software systems that exist today and new competitors that emerge. In addition, they require increasingly agile and efficient design, deployment and runtime integration methodologies that can permit fast implementation of product enhancements and new services over time. ‘Last mile’ solutions Automated integration will play an important role for ISVs offering SOA/ESB (Enterprise Service Bus) platforms enabling enterprise integration for businesses and organizations. To maintain profitability over time, these ISVs require flexible integration techniques that will allow them to quickly and economically build custom adapters that can connect constantly changing application and system end points to the backbone Service Bus. This is especially critical in the case of non-standard applications, systems and data formats (including legacy and proprietary platforms), in which “out of the box” technology is often short on solutions. Companies in this category also need a way to add new capabilities, such as Web services, without having to start from scratch. Challenges such as these, as well as changing market requirements and customer requirements, can be addressed effectively with a dynamic integration approach that has already factored change into the integration equation. Broad data integration services ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) providers and similar service environments face their own set of integration challenges. To operate profitably, these companies cannot afford to develop custom code for every new customer. They also must create an agile application environment that can cope with the constantly changing data sources and targets typical in these systems. Integration methodologies could also need to be extendable to other functions, such as extracting data from disparate sources for business intelligence, connecting in real time to a broad range of additional applications, or helping to automate B2B supply chain interactions and data exchange outside the firewall. Dynamic integration techniques can ensure the financial and technical viability of current and future development strategies.
Mapping Reuse and Automation in Integration Scenarios Pervasive’s integration capabilities allow users to automate change in system-to-system interfaces by permitting the reuse of code for key functionality. The extent to which data integration automation is possible depends on the applications, business processes, software and hardware found in a given technology environment. Some degree of automation is almost always possible, and in many cases, an extremely high percentage of functionality within a particular business process can be set up to operate in an automated manner. This permits non-technical personnel to implement many critical system changes “on the fly,” without having to wait for developers to create or revise the underlying system code. Automated data mapping and automated business process flows can dramatically reduce development time and costs, create better efficiencies and productivity, and substantially increase the effectiveness and reliability of integrated systems. Automated data mapping builds a high level of resilience into integration schemes by transparently responding to and incorporating changes in source and target data formats. With the large number of different data formats in use today, this kind of dynamic response to change is an essential factor in long-term profitability for any business or organization in which systems interact with outside technology platforms, especially on a large scale. Automated business process flows contribute to the automated integration model by allowing linked systems to quickly accommodate small or extensive alterations in how data is used at either end of the source and target interaction. Together, automated data mapping and automated business process flows can smoothly accommodate high numbers of system changes in a large-scale integration scheme, turning a potentially disruptive, costly environment into a reliable, versatile platform for longterm business growth. Business benefits include: • Lower total cost of ownership (TCO) • Dramatic return on investment (ROI) • Faster diversification and expansion of products and services • Higher revenue potential within a shorter time frame • Greater stability in the midst of advancing technologies, changing business practices among customers, and general ups and downs in the international economy. • Easier to use as non-technical personnel can learn to implement many critical system changes “on the fly,” without having to wait for developers to create or revise the underlying system code.
Real-Life Use Cases Each organization has a unique approach to customer and partner relationships, along with highly customized methodologies for ensuring that its enterprise infrastructure fully supports those relationships. The two use cases below provide insight into how a specific business requirement can be translated into an automated integration solution that not only solves business problems, but also produces huge cost savings.
Intuit Builds QuickBooksÂŽ Customer Base Using Automated Software Conversion Consider the case of Intuit, a leading provider of business and financial management solutions, including popular QuickBooks software. The company is constantly migrating new customers to QuickBooks from a variety of competing accounting platforms. Intuit turned to Pervasive to help solve some difficult conversion challenges. Challenge Intuit required a fast, cost-effective way to get new customers up and running in QuickBooks. Dissatisfied with existing migration methodologies, the company sought a conversion solution that could migrate a minimum of 5,000 customers within the first year of operation. Technical Problem All conversions were being handled by a small internal team that was able to implement only about 16 migrations per month. In addition to the excessive development time required to write new code for each customized conversion, the migration process itself could take up to five days for completion. Business Problem Customers were lining up at the door to switch to QuickBooks from other accounting programs, but Intuit couldnâ€™t accommodate a high percentage of them. Substantial revenues were being lost as customers wandered off to other providers. Furthermore, developer time was expensive, bloating the cost of migrations, and lowering the profitability of each conversion cycle. Solution Collaborating with the Intuit team, Pervasive developed a self-service conversion solution within three months. Embedded dynamic capabilities now allow customers on diverse platforms (the first conversion engine covers many versions of a major competing product) to quickly migrate themselves into the QuickBooks environment. Due to the flexibility of the solution, automated conversions from other accounting packages to QuickBooks will be easy to implement over time.
Results Conversions now take about 15 minutesâ€”100 times faster than previously. In fact, in the first two weeks of product availability, the solution handled three times as many integrations as had occurred in the entire past year. At the end of eight months, 8,000 migrations had been completed. Overall development needs have been dramatically reduced, and little or no ongoing support is required. Most importantly, Intuit has been able to efficiently expand its markets and maintain a low total cost of ownership for conversion technology.
Overview of Embedded Solution 4) QuickBooks Conversion Results
1) QuickBooks Import Option
2) Initiate Embedded Engine 3) Execute Conversion Process
API Integration Engine
Overview of Data Flow
Transformation maps incorporate 500 business and validation rules
Eloqua Links Customer Marketing Data to Salesforce.com In another case, Eloqua, a closed-loop marketing SaaS provider, generates lead data for over a thousand customers. In addition to integrating its services with customer platforms, it also must create links with third-party customer relationship management systems and other similar providers. Challenge Eloqua needed to effectively integrate customersâ€™ lead data with the Web-based CRM services provided by Salesforce.com. Technical Problem Conventional data mapping techniques would have required a huge amount of IT time for ongoing maintenance after the initial integration process was completed. Data format changes occurred frequently among customers, and every change would have required programming changes at the Eloqua end to ensure that data was fed correctly into the Salesforce.com systems. Business Problem It didnâ€™t make good business sense for Eloqua to commit a large portion of its ongoing IT budget to accommodating repeated changes in the integrated data flow, especially since these changes were beyond Eloquaâ€™s control. Solution Pervasive dynamic mapping technology allowed Eloqua to create a simple Web-based interface that customers can use to quickly generate new data maps whenever necessary. The technology works transparently, and changes are incorporated behind the scenes on a schedule specified by Eloqua. The efficient code permits Web pages to come up differently for each customer, so that customers see their own formats automatically.
Results Eloqua has realized enormous savings by eliminating excessive IT expenditures associated with system maintenance. Since the automated data mapping process is very simple, each customer is only slightly impacted. Traditional on-premises CRM systems Firewall
Pervasive integration agent
Hosted (SaaS) CRM systems Internet Connections
Salesforce Oracle Siebel On Demand CRM MS CRM NetSuite
Summary Automated integration capabilities are key to maintaining profitability for ISVs, SaaS vendors, BPOs, ERP providers and others requiring rapid deployment of applications and services. As they seek growth and agility in the face of unpredictable markets and frequent technology challenges, organizations can quickly, reliably deploy highly flexible integration solutions with automated design time and runtime integration capabilities â€“ all at a fraction of the cost of more conventional integration techniques. Dynamic integration methodologies give ISVs, SaaS vendors, BPOs, ERP providers, corporate IT departments, or virtually any organization utilizing todayâ€™s advanced technologies, a simplified way to manage relationships among customers, partners, consumers, and intra-organizational applications and personnel.
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