The Business Imperative for Enterprise Integration
1.1 Executive Overview
Information technology has fundamentally altered the business landscape. In the 1960s and 1970s businesses automated accounting, billing, and other back-end functions. This was the era of the mainframe and the database. In the 1980s information technology provided tools that enhanced the capabilities of workers to be more productive, whether through spreadsheets, word processors, or graphics applications. This was the era of the personal computer and desktop applications. The 1990s opened up communications inside an organization as well as with customers and suppliers. This was the era of the network and the Internet. We are moving into an era driven by the need to improve business processes and to provide increasingly sophisticated capabilities to customers and suppliers to improve how we conduct business. Processing transactions without human intervention, gathering data from multiple sources, and integrating it together or reengineering business processes are the basic requirements for success in today's environment.
The implementation of these applications and systems will be enabled through enterprise integration. In the same way that organizations have mastered mainframes, databases, back-office applications, personal computers, desktop applications, networks, and the Internet, it will be necessary for them to master enterprise integration. How ever, integration has always been addressed as a technology and infrastructure topic. In today's business environment the enterprise integration process begins with business problems. Business groups within organizations are rethinking how they interact with customers, partners, and suppliers; manufacture goods; and operate, organize, and manage the business. Business and IT success are dependent upon integration solutions to enable this business change.
As business problems have different requirements, there are literally hundreds of integration solutions available today. The problem is not whether the technology exists; it's which technology to use to solve the business problem. We designed this book to help companies solve pressing business needs while creating an infrastructure that will enable future business solutions as well.