The ability for related parties to exchange data is now expected to be instant. With smaller and smaller sized businesses embracing the cloud, the opportunity to intercommunicate with 3rd party service operations across a far larger geographical area is now normal. Outsourcing across continents exposes the realities of data security. Ultimately, the amount of information that a business exchanges through its telecommunications is decided by the potency of its chosen technologies. It is easy to explore document transfer such as invoices but consider the global insurance industry for a moment. Exchange of documentation is at a far more collaborative level where information may be required for evaluation and opinion which affects the outcome.
The logistics industry could not operate today without accurate, secure and instant transfer of goods information and look-up facilities. Long gone is the carbon copy pick note in favour of GPS tagging and barcode scanning.
You’ve got an overnight API update from a retailer in Norway. That’s great, the prices all update easily, don’t they? Unfortunately the stock codes that your Norwegian supplier uses don’t match your own in the EPOS system so the data has nowhere to land. That wouldn’t be such a problem but for the fact that their catalogue is 17,000 items long and they are one of 68 vendors you work with. That’s not even your toughest challenge, one of the catalogues is in Mandarin and they update at 8.30 am UST (30 minutes before you open for business). Your business lives by its ability to undercut and that means reliable overnight data integration.
This is merely one data integration scenario based on a classic retailer model. Merely upgrading your entire customer facing operation has unique data integration challenges based on your own legacy systems. We fully explore the journey your data takes, like tributary rivers all meeting in a great estuary. In today’s great collaborative world we provide data integration for those who live and breathe their data. Science gets smarter. Engineering gets bigger. Art gets deeper and technology gets faster. We all get closer.
Dev Ops (Development and Operations)
As far as large-scale deployment goes, it is unusual that you will merely implement new software to bolster your working practices. At the very least a hardware assessment is required to identify the operating requirements of your system alongside the new software. A drive towards agile approaches has produced the Dev Ops discipline, designed to shorten development time through the creation of harmony between hardware and software. Your hardware partner needs to be totally at ease with your software to create realistic project sprints and smashing through any black swans that dare to rear their heads.
ESB (Enterprise Service Bus)
Mutually interacting software applications should all work together in harmony. Now back to the real world. You have a standard dashboard-based web interface for your team in .net, reflective of the customer inputs from your ecommerce website. Java enables your ecommerce and UX managers to serve bespoke content to individual customers based on their profile information (from your CRM) with an automatically applied discount (this is a Platinum customer who qualifies for your highest level of discount). Now plug all that in together. There is no way all that will magically align itself into a slick ordering experience for your warehousing and distribution centre. That’s where our heritage in working with legacy systems really stands out. Take a look at this typical Enterprise Service Bus diagram to help you understand the complexities of joining up disparate data sources in different software languages.
IoT (Internet of Things)
Your photocopier now has a mind of its own. To be fair, its not much of a mind and won’t be winning quiz shows any time soon. But it does know where it lives, what it does and how it fits in around the office. In fact, when you are not looking, your photocopier talks to your stationer. At least it does if you have embraced the Internet of Things. A photocopier that orders paper automatically when it runs low. A toaster that knows what setting you prefer for your bagel (Red Dwarf fans will remember Talkie the Toaster). A car park barrier that knows you are pulling up. The IoT will soon pervade every element of everyday life. From domestic appliances to corporate environmental controls. For us at SICL, we’ve been ready for all this for decades. It really isn’t that far removed from a remote server that needs to talk to an overnight batch system. The only difference is that many new devices can now talk to each other… and you.
This software development approach suits many organisations who are operating more loosely connected sources and technologies. Whilst it can speed up your deployment time using fairly lightweight protocols, the services are often very intricate and therefore a high level of security awareness is required to give you the confidence to follow this route.
SOA (Service-oriented architecture)
There’s a lot of heated discussion about service-oriented architecture versus microservices and the simplest explanation we can give you is that you can explore a far more robust self-contained black box approach. Whilst microservices are designed to be oose and fast from a deployment perspective, SOA is more considered although no less granular.