Software Integration for SMEs

Written by Thom Leggett

The Problem Software integration aims to solve a problem that started when large companies automated processes that had previously been manual; such as finance or human resources. This in itself was a very successful idea, and sent costs tumbling. However, finance developed an application to fit their needs; HR developed another (incompatible) application, and so on… Unfortunately, this resulted in inconsistent data. For example, ifrepparttar finance and HR applications both required an employee database, it was replicated into each application. With no central source, who was to say which database wasrepparttar 133537 correct one? This not only led to an enormous duplication of effort, but to a large consistency problem.

The previous solutions There were many approaches to solving this problem and they can be broadly divided into three categories: user interface integration; data integration and business process integration.

User interface integration wasrepparttar 133538 cheapest to implement and requiredrepparttar 133539 least change to working practices. The technique was to take allrepparttar 133540 applications and shoe-horn them into one user interface. Unfortunately this was no more than a cosmetic overhaul and did nothing to addressrepparttar 133541 fundamental problem.

Data integration came in several flavours, most significantlyrepparttar 133542 data-warehousing push ofrepparttar 133543 80s and 90s. The idea was to do a one-off analysis of all ofrepparttar 133544 information used by a business, design a centralised database and re-implementrepparttar 133545 applications around it. Unfortunately very few corporations managed to get pastrepparttar 133546 design phase. Lack of decent change management tools and over-ambitious, short-sighted IT directors can take most ofrepparttar 133547 blame for this.

The current solution The solution ofrepparttar 133548 day is business process integration. Unlike data integration whererepparttar 133549 idea was to centraliserepparttar 133550 data and rebuildrepparttar 133551 applications on top; business process integration aims to integrate on top ofrepparttar 133552 applications.

A critical realisation in bringing this about wasrepparttar 133553 existing applications contained important 'business logic' – information aboutrepparttar 133554 processes that ranrepparttar 133555 business. Rather than ditching this altogether why not build a layer on top and in-between that will facilitate integration? This has given birth to a whole new class of software, which has been dubbed 'middleware'.

For Example Supply Chain Integration is a particular type of business process integration that can reap huge benefits (as well as posing big technical and managerial challenges). The basic idea is to remove some ofrepparttar 133556 unknown variables in your business planning and forecasting; by getting as much information as possible from your supply chain in both directions.

The future of mobile gaming

Written by Charles March

Nokia recently released their long awaited N-Gage, putting it head to head with existing devices such as Nintendo's GameBoy Advance, a product that has sold over one hunderd million units and has a huge stock of available games.

In contrastrepparttar N-Gage launches with a handful of games, none of which are original, most of which are based on formats that are several years old.

Whenrepparttar 133536 GameBoy was originally launched it game with a 'killer application' - Tetris. People boughtrepparttar 133537 device because they wanted to play Tetris. When Sega launched their Mega Drive it came with Sonic. There is no such game bundled with, or available for,repparttar 133538 N-Gage.

So does it have a 'Killer Application'; a reason why you and I will buy this device over a GameBoy, orrepparttar 133539 mobile PlayStation in development by Sony?

We see two possibilities; Firstly Nokia are counting onrepparttar 133540 fact that users will not want to carry a phone and a games machine. There is a lot of logic in this argument. We like playing games on our phones and to date these have been lacking. Compared to other mobile phones,repparttar 133541 N-Gage is streets ahead ofrepparttar 133542 competition.

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