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ISM Article


1 Apr, 2010 By: Jim Thumma imageSource


Communication is everything. The moment we’re born, the
labyrinth of neurons in our brain starts processing and distributing
information. Strong neural connections help our brains to expand their function
so we can make smart decisions and reach our potential. Our well being relies on
quick, efficient messaging. If the right connections aren’t made early on, our
brains miss vital input that would otherwise instruct or protect us.

Business software integrations are similar, except a
well-conceived integration delivers information with efficiency and consistency
that vastly exceeds human potential.  Integration makes it possible to tap into
the tangle of business processes to get information wherever it resides and make
it useful wherever it’s needed. If the diverse software applications you use
don’t connect at logical points, you miss opportunities for efficiency that
enterprise content management (ECM) and business process management (BPM)
software allow. If you’ve read the first article in this series, you know that
data is the basis of any ECM implementation, helping to drive work and decision
making efficiently across your organization. The number of integration points
and their thoroughness determine how easily and effectively your information can
be pushed and pulled enterprise-wide. Thorough integration assures that data is
available wherever and whenever it’s needed. It helps to drive processes forward
based on real-time information, dramatically increasing accurate messaging and
efficiency. If you’re not connecting your business systems, you’re not engaging
in effective ECM or BPM. Simply said, without thorough integration, you’ve
missed the point.

Benefits of
thorough integration

One of the many benefits of ECM is its ability to secure
files according to rules that you establish. When BPM is added and you integrate
it with multiple systems, those security rules are followed. This allows workers
to access work-related documents based on permissions you set in place.
Integration advances BPM beyond process automation: it draws and pushes data to
and from software applications to where it’s needed, significantly enhancing and
expediting processing as well as making work easier.

It helps workers to:

  • Access information without leaving applications
    they’re using to search for data elsewhere;
  • Retrieve data that’s been stored in other
  • systems and inaccessible for years;
  • Maximize the usefulness of their line-of-business
    software, drawing real-time data and objects into selected applications for
    timely decisions and appropriate action;
  • Leverage existing data to automate processes, enabling
    staff to use their time and talents for more meaningful work;
  • Navigate work efficiently rather than wading through
    multiple logons, passwords, systems, and screens.

partners, and customers can:

  • Engage easily in self service, getting information
    they need (via a portal or website) in a secure, convenient format;
  • Engage in straight-through processing via website or
    portal integration.

Integration makes your information accessible, dramatically
improves turnaround time, and provides you with an in-depth overview of your
process efficiency.

The role of Web

Web services are powerful, which is why they’ve been a hot
topic for several years.  Universal, flexible, and built with a reusable
interface, they work seamlessly and effectively with multiple systems after the
services have been built. 

The universality of Web services means they’re able to talk
to any other application that leverages web services. If you construct a service
that returns an image, that same service can be used with multiple applications
to perform the same function elsewhere. This contrasts with hard-coded
integrations, which are powerful but extremely inflexible, and must be coded for
each individual use or application to work. When a single API service is
updated, all identical services are simultaneously refreshed, making
administration of changes significantly easier.

Jim Thumma is Vice President of Sales & Marketing at
Optical Image Technology. This article is part of a five-part series called
Enterprise ECM: Strategies for Success. For more information on document
imaging, document management, and workflow products visit www.docfinity.com.

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