Smart information logistics for a futureproof company
Organizations look different than 10 years ago and one thing is for sure: in a few years they will look a lot different than today. The future is uncertain and unpredictable. How do you make sure your company is ready for it?
At Referit we help organizations to set up good and smart information logistics. A solution that allows them to respond quickly and flexibly to any new developments that may come their way in the future. Eelco van der Graaf, consultant at Referit, explains how it works:
Smart information logistics: always and everywhere the right information
Companies collect all kinds of data that they use for their services. About customers, products, employees, orders, invoices, etc… This information is recorded in different places and at different times. By information logistics we mean that the data flows are completely attuned to each other so that employees always have the right information to do their job optimally.
This can be done by creating interfaces between different systems, but you have to do this in a smart way. If you link all these applications directly with each other, you create a huge cobweb in which everything is connected to each other. Before you know it, an uncontrollable jumble of information flows and interfaces is created. As a result, the impact and risk of software changes increases and that is disastrous for the flexibility of your company.
More flexibility through loose coupling
The more complex your ICT environment becomes, the more difficult it becomes to implement changes. The trick is to reduce the interdependencies between systems as much as possible. At Referit we do this by not linking applications directly to each other, but via a separate layer, the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB).
Linking software via a central ESB is a form of “loose coupling”. The advantage of this is that the applications and interfaces do not get in each other’s way. Each application stands alone so that a change in one system has no impact on the other. This makes it easier to implement changes.
How does an Enterprise Service Bus work?
One system sends data to the ESB and other applications can subscribe to it. The ESB ensures that the message reaches the subscribers in the correct format. In this way, each system only needs to create one message that can be used by any application that needs the data. Moreover, it becomes much easier to make changes in your applications. If you change something in one system, you don’t
have to worry about changing it in another. And when a new application comes along, you don’t have to build new links. You connect the newcomer to the ESB and it takes care of the rest.
Flexibility in practice
A while back we did a project for a marketing agency that wanted to expand its range of services and therefore switched to a new application. The implementation was an exciting operation on which a lot depended. In order not to take any risks, the project team decided to put the new system into production while the old one was still running. Via the ESB, both systems received the same data so that users could easily compare the environments. Possible deviations could be quickly detected and resolved. The implementation went flawlessly. Soon the company had enough confidence in the new system to turn off the old one completely.
For large and smaller companies
Setting up an ESB initially costs extra time and money, but in the longer term the investment is usually well worth it. Nevertheless, it is often tempting for companies to link applications directly. This is a pity, because they lose the flexibility to respond quickly and adequately to new developments in the market. Moreover, there are more and more excellent and affordable solutions for setting up good information logistics. Both for large and smaller companies. At Referit we have experience with on-premise, hybrid and cloud ESBs. Often we can achieve a first result in just a few weeks and show that it works.
Would you like to know more about smart information logistics and what we can do for your company? Feel free to contact us. We will be happy to tell you more about it!