In our blog Use Cases for Your Integration Suite - Maximize Your Investment we outlined the many use cases for integration suites. Different than past, out of the box, purpose built applications for specific integration duties, integration suites are more like integration development tool kits. With the tool kit base functionality, integration framework, and organization specific transformation and business process coding, these tools are capable of providing a much wider array of integration solutions than purpose built predecessors.
Here are some of the non-traditional use cases mentioned in the last piece with a deeper dive into each.
Clients who have looked to get more out of integration infrastructure investments have utilized integration suites to develop some unique solutions. Here are a few that we have assisted clients with...
ETL - Extract Transfer and Load
Integration suites have been used to compile data from one to many sources (internal or external), transform the data, and port to a destination system for loading. This is much like an EAI process but in this case more integrating or updating of data warehouse and database applications. ETL use cases can be regularly executing production processes, or a one time event in the instance of a systems conversion/consolidation that results from acquired or merging organizations.
VANs, AS2, and client based file exchange protocols offer you options in file exchange, however integration suites also offer users the ability to act as their own VAN, mailbox, or file gateway hosting communication sessions with their business network for better visibility, control, and security of data.
Trading Partner Portals
With web services, integration suite infrastructure and functionality you can provide your business network, from the integration savvy to mom and pop partners, access to your infrastructure for self service inquiries, transactional exchange (web EDI), and file exchange (upload/download). Portals can also be created to allow internal line of business access for inquiries, error resolution, and file/transaction re-queue/re-send.
ESB - Enterprise Service Bus
SOA based integration suites have also been used to route messages between complex application systems with large numbers of real time message delivery and transformation requirements.
Supply Chain Visibility
Integration suites, with extended visibility enhancement, can offer insight into supply chain events from order to cash coupled with transportation events related to inbound/outbound product flow. With integration coding events occurring outside your integration suite can be coupled with that data and intelligence flowing through your integration infrastructure to provide supply chain insight. SLA and FYI alerts can be configured for proactive notification of internal personnel or contacts within your business network.
High Availability Architecture
If your business network has an "always on" requirement and/or a mix of batch and real-time transformation and message delivery requirements, an integration suite deployed in a clustered manner in the right architecture can support your requirement where many other integration tools can not. Co mingling batch and real-time integrations is possible, yet risky, given that bulky batch files can impact the immediacy of real-time transformation/integration requirements. Properly architected environments offer batch and real-time systems their own resources and load balancing can consolidate both on a system temporarily for maintenance and such yet still supporting the "always on" requirement.
What integration solutions have you developed with your tool that are a bit out of the mainstream? We would like to hear your feedback!
Contact us for more about the use cases above, and consider the offer below for projects in the planning stages or that are already in motion.