Enterprise Integration Research Paper Sample
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Introduction to the Enterprise Integration (EI) 3
Needs of an Enterprise Integration 4
Why Organizations Need Enterprise Integration? 4
The Specific Needs or Requirements of Enterprise Integration 5
Identification of the Right Information or Data to be shared 5
Deliver the right Information at the Right Place 6
Flexible Information Updates to Magnify Actual State of Operations 6
Coordination of Business Processes 6
Organizing the Enterprise and Adaptability to External Environment 7
Benefits or Advantages of Enterprise Integration 7
Gaining Customer Insight 7
Improve Customer Satisfaction 8
Reduction in System Complexity 8
Reduction in Administrative and Maintenance Costs 9
Increase in Business Productivity and Security 9
Efficient Information Exchange 9
Increased Agility 10
Challenges faced during Implementation of Enterprise Integration 10
Other Technical Challenges and Concerns 11
Best Practices Followed in Enterprise Integration 12
Introduction to the Enterprise Integration (EI)
In a technical field of Enterprise Architecture, the concept of Enterprise Integration emphasizes the study of different Information technology perspectives such as electronic data interchange, system interconnection, distributed computing environments and product data exchange. Enterprise Integration is one of the key and major concepts in Enterprise Engineering that provides accurate information at the right time and place. By doing so, Enterprise Integration enhances communication between machines, computers and people as well as brings improvements in their efficient co-ordination and co-operation .
Enterprise Integration aims to combine and connects internal/external business processes, people, technologies and numerous organizational systems to make sure that the right processes and the right people are able to gain access to the right resources as well as accurate information at the right time . Enterprise Integration stresses upon optimization of business operations and activities in a world which is, now-a-days, considered to be full of largely unpredictable change accompanied by continuous uncertainty.
As wide varieties of changes are introduced not only in a single manufacturing entity and across sectors but also in a highly uncertain set of virtual or extended enterprises, Enterprise Integration helps the senior management and business executives to make accurate decisions in a quick and timely manner. Enterprise Integration also encourages the early adaptation of innovative products and expansion of business operations to respond to emerging opportunities and underlying threats in the competitive marketplace. The major objective of Enterprise Integration (EI) is to provide accurate and timely exchange of information in a consistent manner across different business functions or departments for supporting tactical and strategic business’ corporate goals in such a manner that is seamless.
Needs of an Enterprise Integration
This section attempts to specify two different concepts as to why any organization needs Enterprise Integration followed by another concept of what actually the needs of Enterprise Integration are. Both of these distinct concepts highlighting the need approach from different perspectives are explained in detail in the following manner:
Why Organizations Need Enterprise Integration?
An Enterprise or organization is built on the solid foundation of numerous customized applications which are normally acquired by a third-party being a major part of any legacy system which operate in multiple tiers of numerous operating systems (OS) platforms. In today’s competitive business world, it is not astonishing or difficult for any business to have multiple websites related to subsidiaries and geographical locations as well as may have countless departmental solutions.
Enterprise Integration has become a necessity for every business organization because this activity is performed with a goal of supporting common business processes (whether internal or external). Enterprise Integration is also needed by every corporate entity to share useful and accurate data across multiple applications for which organization wide application integration is important to make timely and economically feasible business decisions.
Enterprise Integration is necessary to be implemented in every organization because business applications, when integrated, must be efficient enough to provide secure, timely, reliable and accurate data sharing between different applications. In designing and during deployment of multiple integrated solutions, Enterprise Integration provide flexibility and agility to every organizational application for adapting changing business needs, without getting bogged down in time-consuming, complex, resource-intensive and costly coding .
The Specific Needs or Requirements of Enterprise Integration
After specifying the reasons for which an organization needs an Enterprise Integration, it is necessary that the specific needs of this activity should be highlighted or identified as follows:
Identification of the Right Information or Data to be shared
This dimension of Enterprise Integration needs requires every departmental manager to have a precise understanding and knowledge of specific information needs and the data supposed to be generated by multiple operational activities of an organization. Enterprise Integration requires that the knowledge repository should be structured in a manner that represents an accurate model of every organizational operation. Such knowledge management and information identification must be able to describe organizational aspects of operational activities, administrative and product information; resources needed as well as facilitate what-if analysis for optimization of business processes.
Deliver the right Information at the Right Place
This dimension of Enterprise Integration needs require that integration platforms and information sharing systems should be efficient enough to handle handling information sharing across diverse business environments which consist of different operating systems legacy systems and heterogeneous hardware.
Flexible Information Updates to Magnify Actual State of Operations
Implementation of Enterprise Integration requires that the operational data should not only be up-to-date but it must be flexible to adapt changes in business environment originating from changing consumer needs, technological innovations and new philosophies or legislation of the society at large. When Enterprise Integration is implemented, it is necessary that the operational processes, human resources and corporate goals should be modified to adopt the change.
Coordination of Business Processes
Introduction of Enterprise Integration require that the enterprise-wide operations should be precisely modeled in terms of internal and external business processes. Such operations should also be linked with each other so that they could define relationship with each other, organizational resources and information etc. This requirement of Enterprise Integration implementation is not just limited to information sharing and exchange only, instead, this dimension considers know-how and decisional capabilities within the organization for support decision making and evaluation of numerous alternatives.
Organizing the Enterprise and Adaptability to External Environment
The Enterprise Integration requires that managers should have up-to-date requires very and detailed knowledge as well as understanding of both the actual state of the operational activities and complex business environment (society, technology and market etc). Well-structured knowledge must be made readily available for allowing easy access and identification of relevant information.
Benefits or Advantages of Enterprise Integration
After highlighting the reason for which every organization needs Enterprise Integration, it is imperative to mention various advantages offered by such integration activity. This is so because when an organization operates on the basis of numerous business applications and emerging technologies, integrating such applications for information sharing provides competitive advantage and yields higher return of return . Enterprise Integration provide major advantages which includes reduction in operating costs, reduced complexity, improvements in customer satisfaction and experience, enhanced productivity and dramatic increase in the bottom line of financial statements etc. Enterprise Integration facilitates the automatic updating of business applications and underlying technologies so that every user gets consistent results . Other benefits of Enterprise Integration are elaborated as follows:
Gaining Customer Insight
Enterprise Integration provides a competitive edge to businesses as it integrates consumer data to gain insights into customer related information. By emphasizing more on such data analysis into centralized data management systems, managers will be able to gain insights into most profitable customers, consumer purchase patterns, purchasing behavior, frequently bought items and what drives purchase decisions etc. By analyzing such a consumer related data on a regular basis helps customize marketing programs aimed to engage potential and existing customers. Enterprise Integration also helps managers to gain more customer attention, attract more loyalty, enhance marketing effectiveness and increase profitability .
Improve Customer Satisfaction
Through Enterprise Integration, existing business applications and systems could be integrated or blended to identify new and innovative opportunities to fulfill ever changing consumer needs. Since customer demand for self-service approaches to customer services are consistently increasing, integrating business applications through Enterprise Integration benefits the business entity by providing valuable information straight to consumers and representatives which improves customer experience and reduces support costs.
Reduction in System Complexity
As the management of increasing number of complex systems within an organization can prove to be a cumbersome activity, integration of business applications and business processes by employment of Enterprise Integration can facilitate managers and executives to save time and reduce costs associated with management of multiple systems.
Reduction in Administrative and Maintenance Costs
Administering multiple technologies and applications/systems may result in a dramatic increase in underlying costs concerning storage of redundant data maintaining of synchronized information. By using Enterprise Integration Systems, organizations will be able to eliminate data redundancy which brings improvements in cost structure and reduces the maintenance costs.
Increase in Business Productivity and Security
Enterprise Integration allows an organization to reduce manual data entry and processing and facilitates departmental managers to eliminate non-productive activities. This form of improvement not only reduces the likelihood of potential risks of human errors but also encourages staff members to focus more on customer orientation. Integration of Enterprise wide applications and systems also improves security measures to ensure consistent operational activities without any delay .
Efficient Information Exchange
Enterprise Integration facilitates the free-flow of information across different software application running within and outside the business’s own computer systems. By integrating Enterprise applications, data collection efforts can easily be consolidated which eliminates redundancy to gather and store data for decision making purposes. Enterprise Integration gives birth to a single data access point for system users. It causes employees to spend less time in search for relevant, up-to-date and accurate information to fulfill their needs while improving collaboration between departments and people.
One of the major business advantages of Enterprise Integration is that it facilitates an organization in recognizing and responding to opportunities in a quick manner. Enterprise Integration helps organizations to address reputation management issues, dramatic changes in the marketplace conditions, and supply chain disruptions etc by using a single interface.
Challenges faced during Implementation of Enterprise Integration
Since Enterprise Integration manages multiple applications and platforms at the same time across different locations, implementation of an integrated system enterprise wide is not an easy task . Despite this, such a technical infrastructure of introducing Enterprise Integration System is exposed only to a limited and simple portion of complexities or challenges. The true challenges of Enterprise Integration System across technical and business issues are as follows:
The first challenge in implementation of Enterprise Integration System requires a substantial modification to corporate politics. Successful integration of enterprise applications exposes the management to a challenge where the communication should be established not only between multiple computer systems but IT departments and business units as well. With implementation of Enterprise Integration System, there is a challenge that groups should no longer focus on controlling specific applications separately. Instead, each business application in an enterprise should be precisely integrated as a part of a centralized system.
As far as financial implication of application integration is concerned, each application must be precisely integrated to deliver and share accurate as well as reliable information. This is because the management is challenged once the critical business operations and their processing become integrated into a centralized IT infrastructure. Failure to deal with such a challenge leads to misbehaving or a failing integration solution that may cost an organization millions of Dollars by losing revenue generating orders, disgruntled customers and misrouted payments.
While implementation of Enterprise Integration System is quite challenging in itself, maintaining and operating such a centralized solution could even be more cumbersome to an organization. When technologies and applications are mixed for integration, the centralized system makes the implementation, monitoring and troubleshooting a complicated task requiring a consolidated set of skills. The challenge for the management is to acquire those technical skills.
Other Technical Challenges and Concerns
Information systems integration is both time consuming and expensive. Around twenty to forty percent of labor cost in the IT department stem from data storage and reconciliation. Additionally, seventy percent of underlying costs in corporate culture are dedicated in moving data or information from system to system. Despite huge investments are made to resolve the concerns of inconsistency and redundancy, many Enterprise Integration efforts often fail for a number of reasons related to organizational, technical, managerial and migration planning. The technical challenges to implement and introduce integrated system into an enterprise include the following:
Design of existing data warehouse or knowledge repository that cannot be exchanged or shared across applications. The challenge in introducing Enterprise Integration is to design those applications which can address this concern and can share data for decision making.
Legacy systems implemented without proper planning which were not design as per quality requirements. The challenge here is to design the integrated application infrastructure in a manner that promises quick performance, instant data analysis, high security, operational efficiency and reliability in usage.
The organizational and managerial challenges related to Enterprise Integration include the need to attain and maintain sponsorship as well as financial commitment at every hierarchical level of the corporate ladder. One of the biggest challenges facing Enterprise Integration is breaking up of a large into small components so that intermittent and consistent milestones could easily be measured and the communication should be made between people as well as technology systems effectively. This concern is followed by a challenge to understand data and database migration planning in a precise manner so that user concerns could be understood and satisfied easily. While integrating enterprise wide applications, it is challenging to provide adequate personnel training to bridge the gap between the newer applications and legacy systems.
Best Practices Followed in Enterprise Integration
After making a thorough discussion on the needs, benefits and challenges of an Enterprise Integration, it is necessary that this section should highlight some of the relevant best practices being followed today in integrating business applications to make this activity a success.
Since business processes and applications systems may overlap, this may result in hurdles to corporate success and delays in successful completion of value-adding projects. To share data and exchange valuable information, integration of key business processes and applications is a fundamental requirement to build proper engagement systems where thousands of applications are being run at the same time .
Because Enterprise Integration System is a real-time activity, the best practice is to centralize the whole system for effective management and no application or business process should be left alone in isolation. Development of Centre of Excellence (CoE) is another best practice which successful businesses have established to support complex business activities supporting multiple domains. All this is done by central integration of applications, operational activities and service for brining improvements as well as consistency in knowledge sharing.
Another best approach being followed by large multinationals in integration of enterprise wide applications and business processes is the early adoption of cloud computing or cloud-based applications while synchronizing them with other shared applications. Other best practices in management of Enterprise Integration include releasing smart sever shutdowns and availability of intuitive interfaces for handling multiple administrative tasks.
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