10 Elements to Look for to Distinguish Agile Enterprise Integration Software - Slide 6

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AIS cannot rely on XML-based XSLT transformation engines. These require that the data, regardless of its native format, must be converted to XML before it passes through the transformation engine, and must be converted from the XML output to whatever the destination requires. This means effectively that there are two transformations that have to happen, one on either side of the XSLT conversion. Doing this means additional development and additional steps at run time, which will impact performance. It also means that the transformation engine simply cannot coordinate the processing of virtual relationships across disparate systems.

AIS eliminates the classic adapter, which is the source of much re-programming, and replaces it with intelligent “dynamic adapters.” Dynamic adapters, called AppComms, are able to discover the schema from the specific instance of an application as opposed to making assumptions.

We hear so much these days about agile enterprises and agility in software, but what does that mean? An agile enterprise responds quickly to unexpected opportunities, buys companies and spins some off. It changes the product line to accommodate surprise trends, and can change its business processes almost overnight. While the spirit may be agile, the constraining element is invariably the underlying IT infrastructure’s ballast. The word “ballast” is defined as a heavy material used to enhance stability. That was definitely important in the late 1990s and early 2000s when companies needed to consolidate their disperse infrastructures and applications. The integration architectures that are prevalent today came from that era, but the ballast has outlived its usefulness. Organizations simply cannot be responsive when changes in the integration infrastructure are measured in months and years rather than minutes and days.

How are these companies going to keep up with competitors that were invented after the Internet grew up? They must be able to leverage their proven experience and valuable existing applications on a new playing field, and the way to do it is to replace the ballast with Agile Integration Software [AIS].

Stone Bond Technologies, LP has identified the following 10 elements that can help you identify an AIS. Some of these points will be found in special-purpose platforms such as standards-based B2B like EDI, limited scope integration around a particular endpoint like SAP, or SOA platforms. Remember, though, that we are looking for enterprise-level software that suits more than 90 percent of the integration needs of the enterprise, and allows it to keep up with and even outrun the youthful new competitors. You will find that all 10 of these characteristics must be present and working together, in order to deliver the agility your organization needs to be competitive.

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