In order to deliver Information on Demand, a system must be equipped with robust connectivity along with a broad range of adapters. The topic of adapters used to connect different systems, databases, files and applications has been simmering in the enterprise integration software space for a very long time. However, enterprises are likely to find themselves looking into a caliginous bowl of adapter soup. It can look cloudy, murky, and certainly unpalatable due to the fact that what gets mixed into the adapter soup includes a vast array of ingredients including ODBC, JDBC, CLI, iDoc, JMS, SWIFT, EDI, SOAP, etc. never mind the endless lists of 200+ adapters that every solution seems to tout in a war of “we have more adapters then they do”. Beyond this is the topic of “certification”. Many enterprise applications like SAP, Siebel and Peoplesoft have or had certification processes in place that ensure that integration solutions are doing things the way the application vendors believe is the best approach to connecting to their solutions.
Frankly, the discussion around adapters shouldn’t be focused on how many adapters one has, that’s a given, but on how reliable, efficient, robust, along with how well they operate in a wide variety of data processing modes and velocities, from high-volume batch modes to lower-volume, real-time or on-demand transaction processing. In addition the adapters must provide what I call “frictionless connectivity”. A user of an integration solution is given many choices by a vendor on how they can connect to a system. For example, Siebel Systems (now Oracle) allows a wide variety of ways to connect to their application components. This includes using Siebel Business Objects, Siebel EAI Interfaces, XML and Web Services Interfaces, the EIM interface and even UAN for Universal Application Network. Some enterprise might even want to dig down into the actual data store of Siebel by using ODBC, however this is a risky approach as the data models may change over the course of time. Presented with these options for getting connected can be quite confusing to someone who is new to interfacing to Siebel and for understanding why you may need to use one approach over the other.
To assist a user with achieving the most reliable, efficient and robust path to connectivity, a system should be able to efficiently guide a user through the sometimes complex set of choices for getting connected and present them with both an optimal path and a path of least resistance along with the delivery of appropriate meta data associated with establishing the connection. Furthermore, the interface, as part of its meta data, should indicate the level of certification for a particular application to ensure that it is a valid certified adapter. The interface should also be able to address CDC which stands for Change Data Capture, an approach for moving data that has only changed. A changed data capture system can identify changed records in the operational system and move only those records to the target system. Finally, the frictionless approach to connectivity will go a long way in handling many of the complexities associated with connecting to mainframe systems.
This along with handling many other key features that come with connecting to systems will lead to the creation of frictionless adapters that helps clear the current caliginous bowl of adapter soup that exists.
The Innovation Capitalist
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