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While the benefits of integration are unquestioned, its potential is frequently unfulfilled due to unsuccessful or cancelled integration projects. But that can be turned around.



The road to successful integrations is paved with the likes of service- and event-driven architectures, driven to a significant extent by Web services, according to ebizQ Vice President for Strategic Services Beth Gold-Bernstein in the expoQ webinar Integration Best Practices: Mistakes To Avoid, part of the A Managers' Guide to Enterprise Integration series, sponsored by Sterling Commerce.

She outlined the directions to head in, and steer clear of, regarding the technology, processes and people of integration.

One overriding factor: “Success often depends more on how you use technology than which technology you use.”

Still, Gold-Bernstein pointed to the advantages of service-oriented architectures, saying they deliver maximum flexibility for enterprises. An example: Extending browser-based interfaces and alerts to pagers and cell phones requires new common rules and abstraction layers so “the user can receive information how they need it, when they need it, to whatever interface they need it delivered.”

“That’s the idea of a service architecture -- to build these layers of abstraction, so even if you have different underlying technologies, so you don’t have to scrap what you have. The key is reuse what you have, then integrate and extend the functionality.”

And, she added, event-driven systems deliver the most responsiveness.

Gold-Bernstein ran down advantages of numerous components of service-oriented architectures, including user interface services, external integration services, data integration services, translation and transformation, app connectivity, routing/broker services, process management, security and overall management.

She offered a half-dozen tips on technological best practices. For instance: Limit technical dependencies (“Proprietary technology isn’t bad, but you want to limit it, and service-level architecture will help you do that”), curb redundancy (“The more you have, the more you have to manage and keep in-synch”), and centralize security and management (to curb operational costs).

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