OVERVIEW

Our Customer located in Pennsylvania, provides logistics support, management, and advocacy for clients who need innovative solutions for optimizing their supply chains. These solutions provide better supply chain agility, process efficiency, and reduced costs that deliver competitive advantages to the clients they work with. Effective software systems are integral to this process, requiring unique functionality and resource management strategies to meet their client’s specifications.

JD Edwards EnterpriseOne was chosen as the Customer’s primary enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution for master data management, offering greater customization, operability, and third-party integration than any other platform. This functionality was critical to the success of the Customer’s goals—the JD Edwards Business Services platform was required to extract and aggregate data from independent platforms, several of which were created by third-party vendors that offered no inherent interoperability with the Customer’s chosen platform. To facilitate a real-time mirror connection of data exchange between EnterpriseOne and the warehousing functionality of third-party software Red Prairie, developers at Surety Systems integrated a software “bridge” known as webMethods. This middleware allowed communication between the JD Edwards ERP platform and the independent Red Prairie software that provided the necessary organizational systems for warehousing management and project solutions. However, this functionality alone wasn’t enough to provide the extensive business enterprise functions required by the client.

To provide the communication and interoperability between various Oracle applications and third-party systems, the Customer needed to implement the customizable utilities found in the Business Services module of JD Edwards EnterpriseOne. These standardized web integration tools were necessary to allow comprehensive communication across inventory management, sales confirmations, and data entry that were necessary for the Customer to meet its business goals.

This implementation required a lengthy process of testing, evaluation, and customization before the native transactions and services could be publicly exposed to consumers. Once the project specifications were identified by the consultant, the software team at Surety Systems customized the JDE Business Services module through the middleware bridge to allow these internal functions to communicate with each other. The necessary applications found in the Business Services module of EnterpriseOne were personalized to meet client-specific functions while maintaining operability with the middleware and Oracle applications in use. After its launch, the Customer was able to streamline its business capabilities by using the integrated software for better Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and more efficient accessing of consumer requests. These consumer-facing business functions were an essential part of the client’s supply chain optimization business model. While the connectivity of the middleware bridges contributed to this outcome, the advanced functionality of the EnterpriseOne Business Services integration modules was the primary driver of project success.

 

CHALLENGE

Specific functionality was required to facilitate communication and customize the Business Services module of JD Edwards EnterpriseOne. Reliance on pre-existing software in addition to the new functionality provided by EnterpriseOne created a need for a middleware program capable of using custom code to “translate” the data sent between the two. After this communication bridge was created, the developers at Surety were able to prioritize integration of the specific internal business services needed by the client.

Business Services Warehousing: Challenge

Once this basic operability was established, the developers at Surety began examining which business solution modules could provide the efficiency and agile responses that the Customer required. These outcomes were necessary for the client to expand their business capabilities and implement improvements over time. This provided challenges to Surety’s Software development team, as implementing additional applications to further integrate software creates system slowdown and complication when done incorrectly. Meeting the Customer’s specific business expansion needs while creating service-oriented system architecture was a primary concern for Surety Systems development team. The Business Services modules through the JDE EnterpriseOne platform provided the necessary outlet to meet these goals—the processes of data entry and maintenance were tedious and labor-intensive without specific modules driving their operation. While JD Edwards Business Services offered basic functionality during initial deployment, advanced shipping and clerical services needed to be implemented to allow more diverse consumer capabilities and overall efficiency.

 

SOLUTION

This advanced customization entailed cross-referencing custom tables and interfaces between the internal architecture of EnterpriseOne and the Business Services module to increase the speed and efficiency of the Customer’s business practices. These utilities allowed the internal business services that drove the JD Edwards platform to call on the consumer-facing published business services that contributed to the specific functions needed by the client. Surety System’s development team examined each step of the client’s business infrastructure to ensure that each part of the platform performed optimally during the integration process. This included seamless communication between modules for electronic sales, invoicing, database exchange, and customer monitoring of accounts. While this process was once entirely manual, the integration of Surety System’s multiple platforms streamlined the business solutions into an efficient automated process to better serve the clients that worked with the Customer. Though several of these processes were not typically associated with EnterpriseOne’s standard model of operation, the platform-specific customization from Surety Systems allowed EnterpriseOne to be adapted to the unique needs of the client.

Business Services Warehousing: Solution

Though each platform used required unique and complex coding architecture, writing individualized interfaces for multiple vendors is a time-consuming and resource-intensive process. Rather than spending the time writing custom code for exporting data across each platform, middleware functionality allowed users to transmit the created native data and package it into a transferrable message to be sent between platforms. This allowed for efficient data transfer and internal communication throughout each module of the EnterpriseOne platform. The resource planning and management of the JD Edwards EnterpriseOne platform allowed greater business efficiency and project transparency. These outcomes were achieved while minimizing the input of employee manpower and time usually required to achieve similar goals—Business Services allowed these objectives to be completed as smoothly as possible.

Surety System’s team prioritized operability between the internal Business Services functionality and the published Business Services module. Published Business Services was responsible for interfacing between the third-party platforms and the java layer coding structure. By necessity, this interface had to be very general. The internal Business Services functionality handled the direct communication between java layers and EnterpriseOne. The compiled code in the Business Functions module of EnterpriseOne was responsible for facilitating communication between the platform and other middleware systems. Without this communication, custom code would need to be hand-written and undergo continuous testing to ensure its accuracy. Business Services helped automate this process to allow greater efficiency and accuracy during each transaction. These functions contributed to the overall success of the Customer’s project and allowed EnterpriseOne to function efficiently, quickly, and without the need for sluggish third-party database access.

 

RESULTS

After an assessment and integration strategy was determined for the specific business modules that the client required, the development team at Surety Systems was able to integrate these unique software platforms for better overall client efficiency.

The Business Services functionality leveraged the proven web service technology of the Internet for better exchange of information between platforms. This type of service-oriented architecture was a critical piece of the client’s larger system structure, which relied on efficient transmission of customer information and database access. For example, rather than the old style of credit card verification in which transactions were aggregated and processed at the end of the day, enhanced platform functionality alongside a partnership with third-party service providers allowed for instant card verification for more efficient customer transactions. This type of business-facing flexibility is a feature of EnterpriseOne’s Business Services module and was one of the primary reasons that the Customer selected it for its software upgrade solution.

Achieving these goals was managed through an extensive evaluation of project needs, beginning with an initial interview on project parameters and specifications. After the assessment, rigorous program testing was performed to ensure the discovered parameters were feasible within the limitations of the platform. After testing, the Business Services functionality was put into production on a larger scale to meet the specific needs of the client. This increased service agility was a necessary part of providing a modern customer experience backed by service-focused web solutions.