Costly, Painful and Worth It

Von Derek Slater
Werkzeuge zur Integration von Unternehmensanwendungen (EAI) sind enorm kostspielig. Doch ihr Einsatz zahlt sich aus - zumindest für große Unternehmen und größere Projekte.

Quelle: CIO USA

If you order speakers from Bose, your order goes into a system CIORobert Ramrath calls the Common Order Interface. Ramrath's group knitthis custom framework together about three years ago. Two legacy callcenter applications, plus a Web commerce app built mostly withMicrosoft tools, are all linked to an underlying database andconnected to the corporate back-office ERPERP system so your order windsup in SAPSAP regardless of how it was placed. Alles zu ERP auf Alles zu SAP auf

That's the kind of setup for which enterprise application integration(EAI) tools were born. EAI software connects applications through acentral message-routing hub, similar to middleware tools like IBMIBM'sMQSeries. However, EAI tools are also equipped to parse and translatedata, and automatically route information according to businessprocesses. Alles zu IBM auf

Framingham, Mass.-based Bose passed over EAI and built its orderingframework using custom code and SAP's proprietary BAPI integrationlanguage. Ramrath describes the experience as painful; so why didn'the choose EAI instead? EAI tools were less mature back when Ramrathstarted his project. The big kicker was that a robust EAIimplementation can easily cost half a million dollars. That's too muchexpense for a single integration project to bear.

The idea with EAI, of course, is to spread the costs over all yourintegration projects CRMCRM, e-commerce, legacy extractions and everythingelse. That's a nice idea in theory, but cost-justificationspreadsheets are notoriously resistant to theory. "We're alwayskeeping an eye on EAI tools. They're expensive, and the only way youcan justify that expense is if you look way out" into the future,Ramrath says. "We can see it if we compare the loaded cost of doing[multiple integration projects] ourselves.... But there are a lot of'what-ifs' in that cost analysis." Alles zu CRM auf