Nigel Davies, superhero, is our resident expert on the principles of integration. The following are quotes from him:
First, on the need for integration:
“It is very rare for a modern company to do business solely within one industry vertical. For example, Ford Motor Company buys tires from Michelin, but they also buy petrol from Texaco, and office supplies from a retail company such as Staples. Ford should be able to use one purchase order to communicate with all three companies. Granted, the content will be different, but the structure (most likely XML) should be the same.
While the purchase order for the petroleum industry may contain additional information or other terminology than the purchase order for office supplies, the structure and the intent are the same to buy N number of X product at Y cost. If both the petroleum industry and the office supply retail industry used the same bases for their purchase orders, it would be possible for Ford to use the same purchase order business document to buy petrol from Texaco and pencils from Staples.
But this does not complete the picture because this flow of information cannot stop at the edges of the companies involved. The information must also flow back into the business applications that drive these companies. Ensuring common information formats between companies is pointless unless that information reaches the business applications inside of the company that drive the business.”
If this post were Nigel’s voice, he would (I’m thinking) go on to talk about a canonical business language and the alternative ways to architect the coupled approach.
However, today is just to get us all started, thinking about the flow of common information, in and out of business applications, and involving your store.
During August we are planning to have one post every day about integration. We already have commitments on the sharing of information with : review systems, accounting packages, email marketing, CRM, CMS, ticketing and many, many more. If you have a topic you’d like to see included, then please either reply to this post or (if you’re shy) send me an email. If you don’t know my email address, then (a) where have you been for the last six years? and (b) hop online to live chat and ask anyone for “Jo”.
If you would like to contribute by writing about an integration you are involved with, then please, speak up.
Watch this space. Also, please, watch for many other promotions, campaigns, releases and activities in this very special month.