DALLAS--March 12, 2003--Unified Service-Based Integration Architecture and Distributed Business Process Execution Framework Based on Web Services Standards
i2 Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq:ITWO), the leading provider of end-to-end supply chain management solutions, today announced the introduction of Supply Chain Operating Services (SCOS). This common infrastructure, built on Web Services standards, unifies multiple disparate systems across businesses and spans both Integration Services with real time EAI and bulk data management and distributed execution.
Developed to simplify solution implementation, use and maintenance by offering out-of-the-box industry solution templates, the SCOS is debuting in i2 Six, which is being publicly launched by i2 in late March. The architecture is built on industry-leading EAI and ETL technology with integration components from partners IBM, Informatica and webMethods. Customers using i2 Six can leverage the new architecture to solve problems surrounding the integration of core business processes with existing supply chain, ERP and legacy applications for total supply chain optimization.
"i2`s SCOS architecture and infrastructure represents a compelling step forward in the SCM applications space," said Bill Brandel, research director, Supply Chain Management with the Aberdeen Group. "With Supply Chain Operating Services, i2 leverages Web Services standards to deliver modular application functions that provide connectivity, visibility and ultimately optimization to supply chains. By adhering to the Business Process Network framework, i2 Six provides a differentiated and sound platform for extended supply chain activities."
In order to meet the demands of today`s global economy, businesses are looking to operate more efficiently as an independent organization as well as with suppliers, distributors, retailers and other external parties. Most enterprises operate on multiple heterogeneous systems that run various aspects of their business and integrating these systems is often challenging. However, using the open standards architecture found within SCOS, enterprises could design and integrate their business process workflows internal to the organization as well as integrate with technology applications external to the company. i2 solutions have always focused on leveraging the customer`s existing IT investments, and additional systems within the customer`s value chain -- the SCOS is another step in delivering real-time supply chain optimization.
"In a business environment that is constantly changing, open standards architectures enable businesses to deploy best of breed technologies without being locked into a single vendor. This architecture enables the adoption of open standards and compliance, and i2 is fanatically committed to embracing open industry standards," said Pallab Chatterjee, president, i2 Solutions Operations.
Overcoming the barriers for software integration Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) has long been the default for real-time software integration in the enterprise. SCOS adds batch data processing to complement EAI by enabling bulk transfer of data, operating on data aggregates and efficiently transforming data such as a database join.
The distributed execution component of SCOS is web services-enabled and designed to manage state and transaction integrity across multiple transaction systems. It is also used to manage workflows, orders, inventory, and alerts across multiple supply chain partners. This capability is essential to close the integration loop of supply chain planning and execution across partners with heterogeneous or multi instance transaction systems. All of these capabilities work from a common meta data dictionary, set up to define once and use in any services EAI, Extract Transform and Load (ETL), distributed execution, common analytics services or role-based portals.
"A holistic approach combining the functionality of application integration and data integration technologies with distributed execution is essential for true business process management," continued Chatterjee. "In a real time situation it is often not possible to move and transform data within the constraints of the real time enterprise. This is where i2`s batch, bulk data transfer capability based on ETL technology can make a difference. i2`s dual approach of leveraging EAI technology for real time and ETL technology for batch, bulk data coupled with distributed execution forms the true operating infrastructure backbone for the optimized business."
"IBM is enabling the integration of multiple applications as flexible business processes to deliver the benefits of an on demand e-business," said Sean Poulley, director of business development for WebSphere Business Integration, IBM Corporation. "With its proven, standards-based WebSphere Business Integration technology IBM can support i2 customers as they deploy sophisticated supply chain solutions, which integrate with enterprise applications participating in end-to-end business processes."
In i2 Six, all i2 applications ship out-of-the-box with native connectivity to both EAI and ETL, and the ability to leverage this two-bus approach. i2 applications are Web Services enabled and interact with each other and the rest of the world by providing services or consuming services. Most importantly, application functionality is exposed as services at a level of abstraction and functionality that business users can understand.
"Informatica has forged a strong relationship with i2 over the past two years to enable its unified, standards-based integration architecture. This solution is highly complementary to our companies` joint supply chain analytics offering, which continues to add value to our mutual customer base," said Ron Papas, vice president of business development, Informatica. "With SCOS, i2 is providing an open, best-of-breed enterprise integration solution that is manageable, extendable and easy to implement. As many companies are demanding a robust platform to solve total supply chain optimization, Informatica is very proud to be a part of this solution."
"webMethods has been working with i2 for more than two years to help enable their service oriented architecture," said Jim Mackay, senior vice president, Global Alliances, webMethods, Inc. "The world is moving towards a top-down integration through business processes that leverage multiple underlying application components. i2 is now able to leverage the experience of thousands of supply chain implementations, and webMethods is there to support their deployment in the most robust, open means possible."
The i2 Six graphical workflow tools are designed to allow the business analyst to create and implement workflows and business processes spanning a variety of actors, both systems and humans. Thus, when those processes change due to business events like a merger or acquisition, or outsourcing a function, the business analyst can update the workflows using the same tools and underlying application services.