The first step in achieving RTE is to integrate enterprise systems so that data can be made available to users in a timely manner. There have been many approaches to this need:
Integration firms such as webMethods, Vitria, and TIBCO, seeing this issue as an integration problem, naturally offered solutions to integrate disparate legacy systems. This approach includes building different types of topologies such as hub-spoke and publish-subscribe. (The advantages of one approach versus another are beyond the scope of this article.) This first wave of integration focused on integrating systems inside the firewall; for the most part, this strategy has been reasonably successful. Most major organizations now at least have a planif not ongoing projectsto integrate their legacy systems.
Another integration approach comes from business intelligence vendors such as Cognos and MicroStrategy. These firms provide solutions to build large data warehouses to store gigabytes of data (or even terabytes of data in larger organizations), which decision makers can dissect to glean useful information.
Finally, a host of firms attempt to address integration beyond the firewall by using web services. Such firms include Kenamea, Flamenco Networks, Grand Central, and Collaxa. Instead of depending on custom-built adapters, these firms leverage the open standards of web services (SOAP, etc.) to enable communications among enterprise systems.