No business application can stay an isolated island for modern day businesses. Tying
systems together becomes an important business need. Connecting software applications
is however more than just exchanging byte.
Application Integration needs can arise intra-company or inter-company. Over years
organizations develop myriad systems, possibly on different platforms, and using
different technologies, to address the needs of different business practices. As
organizations mature and business processes evolve, these systems come closer and
need talk to each other to enable automation of the business processes.
Business process automation (BPA), business process management (BPM), and similar
other names are essentially attempts at addressing this challenge. For Application
Integration, two scenarios are most common. First - connecting applications
within a single organization commonly referred to as enterprise application integration
(EAI). Second - business-to-business (B2B) integration - connecting applications
in different organizations.
Alletec’s Application Integration practice helps customers integrate their
internal applications, or integrate their applications with those of their customers
and suppliers to boost productivity and ensure data integrity. Alletec leverages
the Microsoft’s technologies – including BizTalk server – to achieve
The figure below (source: MSDN) shows a simple example of the core BizTalk Server
engine applied to an EAI problem. In this scenario, an inventory application (may
be on an IBM platform), notices that the stock of an item is low and so issues a
request to order more of that item. This request is sent to a BizTalk Server orchestration
(step 1), which then issues a request to this organization’s ERP application
(Dynamics or any other) requesting a purchase order (step 2). The ERP application,
sends back the requested PO (step 3), and the BizTalk Server orchestration then
informs a fulfillment application, perhaps built on Windows using the .NET Framework,
that the item should be ordered (step 4).