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  • David Blaszyk

Enterprise Integration Services with Azure

Increased competition and the advancing globalization of both process and discrete manufacturing-based businesses are driving numerous clients to adopt cloud-based service platforms to handle the data management issues of today's integrated enterprises.

Cloud-based platforms provide manufacturers (and partners) the necessary ingredients to (re)define the process improvements and cost controls required by our clients at market speed. Business solution architects now have at their disposal the infrastructure and supporting development tools to apply agile, cost-effective approaches when developing technology-based, business improvements (or new features) within manufacturing.

Meeting your manufacturing-focused needs through the careful crafting of cloud-based, enterprise integration solutions.

This article focuses on one of several cloud platforms, Azure. Working with the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, enterprise and cloud solution architects can leverage the evolving ecosystem of IT services to define and deliver focused solutions for the manufacturing market. Enterprise integration services are a key feature of this platform, allowing the IT teams and development staff to quickly manage the massive data consumption, delivery and communication requirements across the entire manufacturing environment. It can access cloud and on-premise based data and systems using secure, reliable transports and protocols. Providing the ideal platform to deal with global and regional data movement activities (workloads). Capable of supporting (and exceeding) global and regional security and compliance requirements. As partner collaboration, process complexity and data proliferation increase, effectively managing and gaining insight from enterprise data will be critical to the future of manufacturing businesses.

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What is enterprise integration services (EIS)?

EIS embodies the strategic and tactical ability to manage (identify, move and locate) data deemed crucial (and necessary) by the customer, internal and external business processes (and systems) at the "right" time, in the "right" place, via a secure and repeatable process. EIS focuses on driving and delivering data to the relevant business processes, business systems and personnel. It also represents a key strategic activity when trying to differentiate your business within the market.

Why enterprise integration services?

Concentrating on enterprise-based integration allows the corporation to keep an active pulse on the daily business operations, determine what is performing well, what is not and the ability to adjust in real-time, using real data. Using data-driven techniques (analytics and dashboards via Power BI) and advanced algorithms (machine learning) developed via industry expertise, one can direct, or re-direct company plans and make the appropriate investments in people, processes and systems.

Today’s enterprise integration scenarios:

Within the daily activities of conducting business with customers, manufacturers are faced with a multitude of business workflows and system integrations that require enterprise integration. The following is a small representative sample:

• Process order information across on-premise SAP systems and Dynamics 365 CRM cloud services when a new order comes in or notification on sales and promotions from vendors

• Access and manage materials and orders within SAP and SAP BW, alongside Dynamics-based sales and opportunities data, hopefully driving new sales based on data gathered

• Business to Business integrations support businesses and enterprises ability to share and exchange information using protocols such as EDIFACTS, AS2, X12

• Gather meaningful data from field-based IoT sensors and then processing them through business-driven dashboards to illuminate current conditions and issues as they arise in real-time

What technologies are important within enterprise integration services?

With Microsoft-based technologies and services, manufacturers and partners can address the increasing demand for automation and process control improvements through the effective use of enterprise integration patterns, practices and services. The following represents the key enablement technologies required for enterprise integration solutions:

Application (system) integration – represents the enterprise integration of numerous business systems that operate in all manufacturers environments including (but not limited to) Enterprise Resource Planning systems, Customer Relationship Management systems, Master Data Management systems, Human Resource Management systems, and others

Data integration (movement, process, and storage) – supports the business workloads requiring data to be moved, processed and stored from one or more systems into destination systems, in a secure reliable manner

Process integration (manufacturing and their supporting processes) – adapts to the specific business processes of the manufacturer, their workflows and business workloads

Infrastructure and Security (Secure transports and networks, reliable and repeatable, scaleable) – provides the conduit of information across reliable, secure networks and business systems

Why enterprise integration services with Azure?

It is expected that outlook for growth in the enterprise application integration will continue to remain bright as businesses continue to search for open and distributed systems/architectures. Microsoft has identified Enterprise Application Integration market ($13+ billion by 2019) as a strategic market for their Azure growth planning and is making equivalent investment in this technology space. To address this market, Microsoft Azure has provided numerous services and technical capabilities specific to the enterprise integration market:

Application (system) integration – Azure supports connection to over 200+ on-premise and cloud-based systems, custom API's and service supported to extend the provided environment, numerous tradeshows and videos to aid in leveraging the diverse platform tools

Data integration – Azure provides several methods to move data across systems (Azure Data Factory, Azure Functions, Event Hubs, LogicApps, ServiceBus, Stream Analytics), each offering a secure and efficient way to process and move the data to the destination environment

Process integration – Azure LogicApps provides built-in triggers and actions so you can create schedule-based workflows, help your application communicate with other apps and services, control the workflow through your application, and manage or manipulate data, and Azure Data Factory provides additional enterprise scale business orchestration, with Azure Functions as a convenient method for customization of the workloads

Infrastructure - IaaS – A modern infrastructure for all your workloads, Secure and well-managed, A cost-effective environment, have made a $10B investment in our data centers in order to develop the infrastructure for all workloads, right now have 42 Azure regions—more than AWS and Google combined.

Security – More compliance coverage than AWS and Google – Azure has over 70 certifications today, Microsoft Azure provides industry-leading security measures and privacy policies to safeguard your data in the cloud, allowing customers to meet your GDPR obligations, using services like Azure Security Center and Azure Key Vault

Enterprise integration services via Azure allows a quick, secure means to reach into and develop a deeper understanding of the diverse business data and systems at any scale, across the entire enterprise – showcasing the true power of Azure cloud-based platform ability to develop timely, cost-effective, market focused business solutions.

What was once the domain of only very large manufacturers and vendors, Microsoft has now enabled ALL sizes and shapes of manufacturing businesses (and partners) the ability to participate and thrive via Azure services by leveraging the provided enterprise integration service technologies.

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