What is an online platform without the power of integration?

The online Cloud-based sales, purchase and supply chain solutions are increasingly in vogue. These environments often are a solution for a particular domain area within companies such as sales (CRM, Marketing), purchase (contract management, catalog management,) or distribution (transport management).

With the rise of these Cloud-based solutions there is a growing need for flexible integration solutions. Not only is integration with the backend systems of companies, customers and suppliers crucial for an optimal connection with business processes. But another form of integration arises – a Cloud-2-Business-2-Cloud integration.

When companies support their CRM process with a Cloud-based solution data from this solution (customer, product and order information) will be funneled to the corporate sales and production system.

For products that are manufactured by a company there will be a need for components that have to be purchased through the Cloud-based purchase environment.

When it comes to products that a company buys from third parties the sales orders from the online CRM solution should be channelled to the online purchase environment.

The complexity of all connections that companies have to handle increases with the emergence of more and more service-oriented solutions – in a private or public cloud or on-premise.

The foundation to keep all of this up and running in the coming years are process-driven and model-based integration solutions with a small server and memory footprint. Solutions which do not require a fast processor and much internal memory. This calls for solutions that do not need a Web server (Apache Tomcat, JBoss, etc) but run as a virtual machine on operating systems without interruption.

A little spider in the network of applications a company uses which ensures that everything is and remains constantly connected. When a connection goes down still holds the data (no loss of information), continues to support the work of other applications, and waits for the line to become operational again to transmit the preserved data.

Integration Process Modeler = the modeling tool used to model business processes - supply chain processes from a high level (descriptive) to a low level (executable). With the modeling tool business processes are modeled using BPMN2 and DMN, data models and integrations with UML and screens with user interface diagrams. The services provided by the Servants are associated with the process elements during modeling.

Process Engine = a small server – memory footprint engine that runs the models defined using the modeling tool and makes the operational results of the process visible through a web-based monitor. This gives direct insight in the performance of each process step, the input and output parameters of each step and the bottlenecks – lead times of processes.

Servants = are building blocks for initializing the features available in the Library and make them available as services. During modeling the functions of different providers can be selected from the Libary. The initialization consists of activating the function of a provider and ensuring that the input and output parameters are delivered or processed from whithin the process flow.

Libray = the library of functions of different solution providers. A function is not a complete ERP system but just the functionality to create a sales order and the data model that belongs to a sales order. It is in principle possible for the creation of an order to use the function of provider X and for the delivery of the order the function of provider Y.

The number of process-driven and model-based integration solutions with a small server and memory footprint is limited. On request I can tell you more about it.

Side note: Banks in recent years have noticed that the guarantee of continuous availability with solutions that depend on Web servers or virtual machines is not easy. The performance of Web servers have to be monitored and updated continuously. These solutions impose heavy demands on the hardware, networks and software. A small footprint integration solution reduces this dependency.

Transport companies and also retailers need to interface with technical systems such as on-board computers and POS systems. The presented integration solutions not only handle the integration of business applications but can in principle provide integrations between all kinds of systems.

Tags: Process Modeling, BPMN2, e-Business, e-Invoicing, e-Procurement, enterprise service bus

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