Tag Archives: IT

When to Consider an Integration Platform

As businesses grow and evolve, so do the internal applications, systems and processes they depend on to run their operations. In addition to IT changes, they also encounter changes with departments, people, trading partners and other internal and external responsibilities. The impact of these changes is often not realized until it reaches a “Critical Point.” The Critical Point could be anything from performance degradation of both systems and people to losing business because of it. Some of the contributors could be the processes, the flow of data or even the format of the data being exchanged between internal and external applications (including cloud) and trading partners. This may signify the need for an Integration Platform in your organization. Factors that affect the need for an Integration Platform are specifically:

·Organizational changes – There may be people leaving, new people being added to your company or departmental responsibilities shifting. When there are organization changes at this level, domain expertise can be lost leading to process paralysis.

·New trading partner mandates – To start doing business with a new trading partner, you must accommodate their data and communication requirements.

·Customer retention – To keep current customers, accommodating their business requests is critical and may include modifications to the data format or a new format implementation.

·Executive mandate – New directives may have been received from the executive team to consolidate all redundant data and/or siloed applications.

·Business process improvement –Improving performance and efficiency of your business processes may require redefinition of the processes that move data throughout the organization and to/from trading partners.

·Systems modernization – The current implementation may include many legacy solutions for each partner or application that is reliant on fragile custom coded solutions. Consider modernizing systems to remove the dependency on custom coded solutions.

·Automation – Automating the transfer of data between your applications and partners would improve reliability and data safety.

·Electronic transfer – Compliance with certain e-commerce or government mandates could drive an opportunity for innovation.

If any of the above factors are occurring in your organization, it is time to consider adding an Integration Platform to accommodate the changes before your systems reach that “Critical Point”.

Justifying EDI Change in Your Business

If there’s one thing IT leaders understand, it’s change.  Business changes are a given, and almost no one in IT is working with the same set of technologies they were using five years ago, much less ten or fifteen years ago.  Managing change is a core IT skill.

Even changes that are essential to business operations must compete for budget dollars, however.  And the vast majority of IT spending goes to maintaining existing systems.  That means investments in new IT capabilities and improvements must compete for a small slice of the IT budget.  And spending money in one area means not spending it in another. Continue reading

Mobile Form and Function: A New Way of Getting Things Done

You are enjoying a beautiful summer weekend afternoon relaxing in the park and then the chaos lets loose.  Your cell-phone starts ringing, not the soft timbres of your favorite Sci-Fi show, but the Red-Alert alarms from Star Trek’s Enterprise.  No, the Klingons and Romulans haven’t attacked, it’s the hot line from IT Support center.  There are problems with a critical system that has stopped communicating.  The problem affects the company both internally and externally; orders can’t come in, invoices aren’t going out and manufacturing doesn’t know what it should be building.  Literally, this system failure may have just given everybody the day off, and you the opportunity to start a new career as a Sherpa taking rich adventurers up the face of Mt. Everest. Continue reading

EDI or XML: Which Do You Choose?

Many considerations must be assessed when deciding on a standard format for exchanging information electronically with trading partners.  Two of the more widely used document standards are Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and Extensible Markup Language (XML).  Of course, when doing business with buyers and larger partners it is generally necessary to comply with the requirements of those trading partners.  However, it is good practice, and demonstrates good business sense, to be proactive and develop an in-house (internal) data specification (and format) that will provide an option for smaller partners to comply with.

Questions must be answered before best decisions can be made for your needs.  Continue reading

Supercharging Your SQL Statements

Structured Query Language (SQL) is a database computer language designed for managing data within relational databases. The most common applications for SQL are actions (calls) on the database using SELECT, UPDATE, DELETE and INSERT (data) functions.  SQL can provide many other database calls that will contribute to the reduction of user programs.   SQL includes built-in functionality that can help format and calculate data during any of these database actions/calls.  Below are some examples of using SQL functions to accomplish these processes. Continue reading