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The Integration Struggle

iBASEtThe Integration Struggle

Sep

16

The Integration Struggle

Speaker: Michel Gadbois

Today’s integration struggles are different from those of the past decade. Ten years ago, there was no standard for how manufacturing business software systems communicated. There were no organizations working to create standard definitions for messages between systems. When an organization purchased a system, they used the point-to-point method to figure out how to make systems talk to each other. Pieces of information, known as touch points, were fed from system to system through a vast web of interfaces. The method was a nightmare that consumed 70 percent of an IT budget to maintain.

Today, much of the manual complexity is gone. There are XML protocols for exchanging data, and organizations like ISA95 or OHS predefine the messages communicated. There are no longer many companies with proprietary formats for their messages. Even in the most complicated cases, there is a platform and a series of standards to rely on, and the technology is not as frightening. 

We went a step further to remove the need for companies to build interfaces with Solumina. We did not want them to have to figure out how to bring us into an ecosystem. We were the first to adopt the business integration services (BIS) layer, which is a standard set of interfaces that are built in to our product. BIS allows companies to circumvent building and integrating their system bit by bit. We sell software priced per user that comes equipped with everything an organization needs to run their business.

When a company buys their first license of Solumina, they own all the ready-to-use interfaces. They simply need to start stuffing messages into the queue, and the messages will begin to move. Standard interfaces do, however, predetermine which systems may talk to each other. So when we consider whether a software company can be an MES or OPM for everyone, the answer is, “No.” Different manufacturing environments have different dedicated systems and processes, so to provide plug-and-play software support, we needed to choose the particular industries we could best serve.

We chose complex manufacturing. We did an analysis of the most common systems that needed to be able to communicate and created a standard set of interfaces that enable communication among these environments. Within a few weeks of using our tool, companies can add value.

At the end of the day, in order to compete in today’s digital manufacturing revolution, companies must find a solution to integrate all interfaces into one digital thread. Download our eBook to learn how Solumina can make this a reality.

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