Spatial world chants the EAI mantra
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The globalization of Business segments and rising battalion of e-commerce is driving a change in the Business Process logic. The major propellers for this revolution are business rationalization through ROI, Mergers and Acquisitions, limitations of Legacy systems and short-term business goals with shorter life cycles. Consequently, there are continuous amendments to the business requirements. To meet this change we need to streamline the Business Processes by integrating diverse systems within the enterprise and beyond. The cost-effective configuration for this process is realized by loose-coupled Integrations using Enterprise Application Integration.
There are various EAI definitions, which developed from time to time based on theories and hypotheses.
A congruent definition for EAI:
“EAI institutes a basic framework of Technology to coherently hook up disparate systems into single entity that renders Information sharing between organization, partners, customers and other stakeholders.”
Evolution of EAI
Primitively Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems were promoted for providing tools to perform business analysis. Then came the requirement to leverage existing applications in the ERP tier. The answer came out as Enterprise Application Integration. Thus, EAI is more a User-Driven market. Companies are moving their framework from intra-business to inter-business model focusing on large-scale integration of data and business process. However there is missing link called ‘Geography’. In order to establish a true Integrated Business environment it is imperative to add the ‘Geography’ dimension also.
Enterprise Integration solution is classified into five levels of Integration.
Business Process Integration
- Business Process Integration
- Application Integration
- Component Integration
- Data Integration
- Platform Integration
Business Process Integration is the highest level of abstraction and manageability. This integration enables business directors to define, change and manage information flow across various applications. Several Vendors are providing process models developed through graphical modeling interface. This solution can be a part of the whole EAI or an add-on.
GIS also represents a Business component like other business units that enable the provision of Business Services. There is a big move away from traditional GIS applications to specific spatial tied applications. Integrating GIS with day-to-day operational applications such as Outage Management Systems (OMS), Work Management Systems (WMS), and Mobile dispatch is an example, when it comes to Telecom industry.
Application Integration draws closer to real-time integration. The structure of Application Integration involves basic platform integration, data translation, transformation and rules based routing, Application interface integration and applications themselves. This is applied when there is sharing of data among applications.
For example, to upgrade an Address Management System for the analysis of, say, crime patterns or voters registration, the problem is extra efforts are required in integrating a wide variety of old and new custom and COTS(Commercial off-the shelf) applications and also support the future Web-Enabling. A single, flexible platform ensuring connectivity and data integrity across the constantly changing hardware and applications is required to maintain the real-time network. In fact most of the people are moving to several more loosely coupled databases managed by different major applications like ERP or work management or GIS. Then Application Integration of these systems handles data flow between the heterogeneous systems meeting the above constraint.
Component Integration provides easy coupling of new services to the existing ERP packages and legacy systems. This is effectively managed through Application Servers.
Component Integration helps in adding GIS capabilities to other enterprise information systems such as Outage Management, Customer Information, and Enterprise Resource Planning.