Enterprise Product Integration
using BizTalk (Manufacturing)

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Client

Our client is America’s trusted brand in flooring. Their focus is on producing floor covering products for residential and commercial applications in North America and residential applications in Europe.

Requirement

The customer’s IT initiatives were directed towards acquiring best-of-breed products for different functional areas, like ODS, CAMS, Hybris, HANA and Salesforce. They wanted these products to be integrated to support and facilitate their business processes. Some of the challenges that were identified were the synchronizing of data between different systems, reducing redundancy and overheads due to continuously changing business needs.

Tools Used

Technology: CODIT, .NET, SQL server, BizTalk 2013

Products integrated: SAP HANA, SAP Hybris, ODS, CAMS, and Salesforce

Our Scope

Focus worked with the customer towards evolving a long-term strategic roadmap while keeping existing products up-to-date with respect to technology and business scenarios. A phased approach was evolved towards coming up with a single, unified system based on Microsoft technologies and removal of the redundant products.

Simultaneously, Focus worked towards keeping the current integration between various products functional without really modifying the customer’s existing business processes. Focus also adopted a plug-n-play and de-coupled approach towards the integration to prevent over-dependence on any one product and for better security.

Enterprise Product Integration

Business Challenges

Integration of different products towards supporting and facilitating the customer’s business processes posed challenges in the form of:

  • Disparate systems caused redundant data and inefficiency in operation. Synchronizing data between different systems became a significant challenge.

  • Implementing any changes to the system due to continuously changing business needs contributed to high overheads.

Strategic Roadmap

Focus worked with the customer in setting up a phased approach for solving these challenges:

Long Term:

Decision was made to move to a single, unified system based on Microsoft Technologies for managing customer relationships, ERP, warehouses and supplier relationships. A road map was defined with BizTalk Server, Hybris, HANA, ODS, CAMS and
Salesforce for seamless integration and scalability. All the short-term goals were defined to revolve around the long-term roadmap.

Short Term:

One of the major short-term requirements was to keep the current integration between various products functional without any disturbance to the existing business processes. Continuous customization was required to keep up-to-date on immediate business needs. For example, the development of new features or modification of existing features in the ERP software to improve the current process.

Along with maintaining the existing system, gradual removal of redundant systems and replacement of other products with MS suite of products was also done in a phased manner.

Tracking of the deployed assemblies and tracking of messages were challenges that had to be resolved.

Technology Solution

Focus Systems worked along with the customer to deploy Microsoft’s BizTalk Server which helps in unifying the various products (in different locations) and streamlining information delivery among them. BizTalk also manages transactions and communications between external systems.

For seamless product integration, Focus decided to employ an XML based solution using Microsoft BizTalk Server 2013 to facilitate communication between internal systems. BizTalk Server 2013 was used to manage and route the messages between them. This made it very easy to integrate them. It also enabled to decouple them, preventing any one application from depending too much on the other or learning too much about the other (security and independence of each product being the benefits of this approach).

enterprise product integration

BizTalk Server 2013 was also used to simplify and manage communications between order management product and the systems at supplier organizations.

CODIT Transco was used to track deployed assemblies and messages.

Key Benefits to the customer

Focus has been working with the customer for more than a year to help them achieve their strategic IT objectives. From being a vendor, Focus has now taken over the project– working along with customer to define their roadmap, enabling them to meet their IT goals and hence deliver better and quicker results to their customers.

Focus team is the customer’s true extended team with a small onsite presence and the rest offshore, giving them a real and substantial cost advantage. The team is organized into Centres of Excellence (COE), and each COE focuses on one core technology area e.g., SQL Server, Salesforce, BizTalk Server etc. Resources are pooled from the COEs for any backward or forward integration efforts of the each COE continuously works on the latest technology adoption that will support the business process in an efficient way. This ensures that the customer has up-to-date technical know-how to advance their business plans.

For all the integration efforts, Focus adopted the Plug-n-play and de-coupled approach to ensure that any changes made to the system in the future could be easily handled. These approaches also ensure independence of each product involved in the integration and makes for better security.

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