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Integrating the Enterprise: Sharing Information

Connected Services Framework
It seems obvious that the integration of numerous independent systems and applications should lead to increased productivity and operating efficiency. The challenge, however, is to integrate the systems in such a way that these independent systems continue to function and interact in a robust and manageable fashion. Many companies now provide specialized middleware designed to integrate the various back-end applications and services hosted on legacy systems as well as on PC-based servers.

Using this middleware, the back-end services are made available to specific client applications that can work with the features and information. These systems typically use proprietary interfaces. Though the systems accomplish the integration efficiently, they often lack the capability to be re-purposed and extended as new requirements are introduced.

In addition, because of the tight coupling of services and client applications, it can be extremely difficult to maintain and manage these types of systems. For example, making changes to a back-end feature can cause a ripple effect throughout the system, which forces an update to both the middleware and application software. For large enterprise systems with thousands of users, ensuring that updates are properly applied and deployed consistently throughout the organization can be a serious burden.

A better way to connect and integrate information and functionality while still providing robustness, simplicity, and flexibility is needed. The solution must independently define information services and integrate them with other systems through well-defined, standardized interfaces that are specified independent of operating system and application technologies.

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