PeopleSoft Integration Broker

A Businessperson’s Guide

PeopleSoft Technology Whitepaper • May 2003

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© 2003 by PeopleSoft, Inc.

All rights reserved. Printed on recycled paper. Restricted Rights Printed in the United States of America. The information contained in this document is proprietary and confidential to PeopleSoft, Inc. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, for any purpose without the express written permission of PeopleSoft, Inc. This document is subject to change without notice, and PeopleSoft does not warrant that the material contained in this document is error-free. If you find any problems with this document, please report them to PeopleSoft in writing. This document contains or may contain statements of future direction concerning possible functionality for PeopleSoft’s software products and technology. All functionality and software products will be available for license and shipment from PeopleSoft only if and when generally commercially available. PeopleSoft disclaims any express or implied commitment to deliver functionality or software unless or until actual shipment of the functionality or software occurs. The statements of possible future direction are for information purposes only and PeopleSoft makes no express or implied commitments or representations concerning the timing and content of any future functionality or releases.

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PeopleSoft Integration Broker
TABLE OF CONTENTS

Integration Overview The Strategic Value of Integration Our Integration Philosophy Integration Alternatives Integration Broker Overview Example Messaging Process Summary and Benefits

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Integration Overview
IT management has always been forced to deal with the issue of multiple systems and a lack of communication standards, leading to islands of automation, operating unaware of each other. It is this initial problem that created the world of integration technologies. At the highest level, there are three primary areas in which integration technologies (commonly referred to as middleware), function: people, process and data.

The people layer – or user-interface – is primarily concerned with the aggregation and presentation of information. This information may take the form of application transactions, analytical reports, or web content; each of these elements being presented in a user-friendly format based on their specific role based privileges. This level of integration is the domain of the PeopleSoft Enterprise Portal. The Portal aggregates business critical transactions and provides relevant context for more accurate, timely, and effective business decisions. The process layer handles the system-to-system communications critical to the operation of any enterprise. This layer is squarely focused on optimizing existing business processes, and enabling new value-added operations through the powerful use of web technology. Although, we rarely see the system-to-system communications, they are far more frequent and complex than the simple web based interfaces we are used to as users. This challenging venue is the domain of the PeopleSoft Integration Broker. The data layer is primarily concerned with the extraction of key information from application databases and disparate data sources. This data is then warehoused for later analysis, typically using an off the shelf business intelligence tool. Our Enterprise Warehouse product suite enables data level archiving, retrieval, and analysis for the precise purpose of gaining insight into the inner workings and performance of your business. Together, the Enterprise Portal, Integration Broker and Enterprise Warehouse all form part of the PeopleSoft AppConnect product suite. This paper explains the strategic imperative of integration, as well as the major components of the Integration Broker product.

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The Strategic Value of Integration
Since the 1960s, information technology has played a critical role in the life of the organization. Early uses focused on the simplistic automation of manual processes and progressed through the dominance of ERP systems with the business process re-engineering revolution. Today, a new business imperative is on the horizon, and organizations are struggling to meet its demands. That imperative is turning business into real-time enterprises. The real-time enterprise is all about connecting the people that matter most to your enterprise to the information they need, in real-time. Customers, suppliers, and employees are all critical stakeholders in your business, and more than ever, they are central to your organization’s success. Each of these constituents is also in the middle of this move to real-time in their own unique way. Here are some prominent examples: Customers: They have tasted the benefits of real-time business through various leading edge organizations that have chosen technology as a key source of competitive advantage. From immediate financial transactions at an ATM, to on-line order status and tracking via the web, real-time business is highly desirable, and increasingly demanded by end-users. Suppliers/Partners: As key members of your organizations value chain, they are working diligently to become a seamless member of your team. This means facilitating access to changing order estimates and new product information to better manage their operations and enhance service levels. Employees: Internal team members are the lifeblood of your organization, making critical decisions dynamically affects the future success of your firm. No longer can decisions be made “from the gut”, we now have a tremendous amount of enterprise data that can be accessed and analyzed to ensure that the best choices are made in a timely fashion. Some of the early wins are in the areas of planning, budgeting and financial reporting. The move to real-time business is not only desirable, it is unavoidable, but also a challenge exists. The difficulty lies in the complex business processes that connect these disparate groups together to deliver value. The world would be much simpler if these business processes were siloed within a single department, or even a single enterprise. However, the reality is much more complex. In looking at the business processes within an organization, we find that these processes not only span departments and roles, but in many cases, they span organizations as well. The situation is further complicated when we realize that supporting each step in a process typically demands a specific technology. For a single process, data may have to travel between two or three systems and across various private and public networks. It is this issue that must be addressed to meet the demands put in place by the widespread move to the real-time enterprise. The challenge is to connect the distributed data and systems in a cohesive and organized fashion. This cannot be accomplished in an ad hoc, one-off fashion, organizations must confront this difficulty with foresight, and develop an integration backbone that can handle the systems of today, and be flexible enough to incorporate the unforeseen technologies of tomorrow. Without such a plan, a dominant position in today’s market will quickly erode as competitors dramatically improve their operations through real-time enablement. In short, Integration is becoming strategic and critical to marketplace success!

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Our Integration Philosophy
Clearly, business today means working much closer with customers, partners, and suppliers, through the delivery of mission critical information. The challenge is in making this new paradigm a reality in today’s complex IT environments. In the past, organizations built out new systems in an opportunistic way, solving many urgent business concerns, often brought about by competitive pressures. Unfortunately, this has left myriad necessary and disparate systems as islands of automation, all operating in different environments, using differing protocols and running without regard to their affects on the rest of the enterprise. So how do we meet the challenge of the real-time enterprise and integration with this heterogeneous technology landscape? We have two options when confronting this problem; we could assume that a standard will be in place soon to bring together all systems and data, or we could operate as if a single standard will never become a reality. Given the history of information technology, and the fact that much of the value in organizational systems resides in legacy environments, which will never be rewritten or wholly replaced, it seems as if we are left with no choice but to deal with heterogeneity and competing standards as the only true reality. However, that said, some standards have taken hold and will prove extremely valuable in the move to the real-time enterprise; primarily, Internet standards such as HTTP, HTML, and web services standards such as Extensible Markup Language (XML). One can quickly grasp the power of standards when you imagine the tremendous growth in the Internet which occurred over such a short period of time due to a consistent client interface (HTML and a browser) and a standardized communication vehicle (HTTP). It is in this vein that PeopleSoft has chosen to strongly adopt web services. We build each and every one of our products using 100% open Internet technology, and we continue to work to evolve and define the web service standards of the future. Although web services will not be a panacea for the woes of integration, they will play an ever-increasing role in the successful integration of data, process, and people. At PeopleSoft, we also recognize that all integration challenges are not created equal. Recognizing the heterogeneity of IT environments, PeopleSoft has had strong partnerships with leading enterprise application integration (EAI) vendors for years, formalizing many of our EAI partnerships in early 1999, with virtually every leading EAI vendor being certified with PeopleSoft in the past. While many of our customers can use EAI vendors as their central integration infrastructure, PeopleSoft heard loud and clear from our customer base that they wanted us to deliver robust integration technologies in order to lower implementation and maintenance costs. They didn’t want to be forced to purchase a third-party EAI solution for less complex integration scenarios like some vendors, specifically in the CRM space, require. PeopleSoft has listened to our customers and has delivered robust integration technologies with PeopleSoft 8.

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Integration Alternatives
We have discussed the reality that the probable future of enterprise technology involves coping with many competing standards and additional unforeseen IT investments. Combine this fact with the business reality that enterprise applications are essential and organizations are required to have all of the disparate systems working together seamlessly. In recognition of these facts, we must find a way to balance the competitive needs of the business with the internal resource limitations of IT. With that balance in mind, we have found the optimal integration model favors a hub-and-spoke architecture as opposed to point-to-point integration.

Consider for a moment all of the systems which need to communicate and share information: ERP, CRM, SCM, Legacy Applications, and the list goes on and on. In the past, links between these applications were created by hardwiring direct connections between systems. We call this approach, point-to-point integration. The downside to this paradigm is realized when a previously integrated system is updated, or when a new application is added to the environment. The point-to-point model requires each and every connection to be individually and programmatically created. This means that a single addition to the network causes a corresponding, and exponential, development effort. Conversely, the hub-and-spoke model allows for a new application to integrate once to a hub, and leverage the existing connections to the other systems rather than create new ones. This new paradigm is possible, because each and every system communicates directly to the hub, letting it do the work of translating and routing messages between systems using pre-defined rules and definitions. Our mantra is re-use, re-use, re-use. We do not want you, or your consultants having to programmatically build a new connection to a system every time a business process impacts it. Using PeopleSoft’s integration technologies, an application is integrated once to the hub, and the other applications simply publish data to that application, or subscribe to receive data from that application. No additional work is required. This is a tremendous savings from a development, time to market, and maintenance standpoint. Another value that the hub-and-spoke paradigm brings is in terms of adaptability. If there is one thing for certain, it is change. Using the Integration Broker, should an application change the way it stores and transmits information, using the hub-and-spoke model, only the logic within the hub is altered. None of the other systems are even aware of the modification, and most importantly, these other systems do not need to be altered in any way due to the change. That’s flexibility!

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Integration Broker Overview
As we discussed, system-to-system integration is a critical element of any enterprise integration backbone, and the hub-and-spoke model is the preferred integration paradigm. At PeopleSoft, the Integration Broker is our hub to handle those complex system-to-system interactions. The Integration Broker is comprised of four key elements: Packaged Connectors, Intelligent Routing, Transformation, and a Development and Monitoring Environment.

Packaged Connectors All messages entering or leaving the Integration Broker pass through a single mechanism known as the Gateway. The Gateway is delivered with pre-built connectors to receive and transmit traffic using various standard protocols such as HTTP or JMS. More importantly, PeopleSoft provides an environment for the development of new connectors to legacy systems, ERP applications, and other web based systems. In addition, all PeopleSoft applications are built with integration in mind from the start. Whether you have CRM, HRMS, or another product line, we have pre-built interfaces that enable seamless communication between our applications and also between 3rd party systems. Routing Central to any messaging architecture is routing. Routing ensures that the incoming message is delivered to the right receiving system(s), and that the requesting system has the appropriate security privileges. Integration Broker also understands if the message needs to be sent in real-time (synchronous), or if it is deferrable (asynchronous), and manages the queuing of deferrable messages. The queue can even be set-up to handle message delivery based on pre-defined rules that assign differing priorities to message or system types (e.g. always customer order data messages first)

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Transformation Transformation is required to translate a message between different systems. This is much like translating a sentence from one language to another. The meaning of a sentence is the same in French or English, but unless some conversion is performed, neither person will understand the message. Similarly, the Integration Broker takes a system message and converts the data from one system’s format into another’s’. This becomes extremely valuable when you consider the huband-spoke model described earlier. With the PeopleSoft integration Broker, once an application has been mapped once, the Broker enables communication to any other system automatically. In the future, as the mapped system changes, there is only one place to modify the mapping, saving time and money. Development and Monitoring Environment Integral to the Integration Broker architecture is a development and monitoring environment. The development environment is used by programmers to map the complex relationships between systems. The developers determine how the broker should transform and route the messages, taking care to understand the various data schemas, and business process rules that must be managed. In addition, the monitoring environment is a dashboard for the entire messaging process, giving the user a picture of all messages moving in and out of the Broker. From this dashboard, administrators can view original messages, transformed messages, delivery status, or perform higher-level operations such as canceling delivery or resubmitting a message.

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Example Messaging Process
The following example shows how the Integration Broker participates in the exchange of information between systems.

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Summary and Benefits
Real-time business is critical to the future of your enterprise. Employees need it, suppliers require it, and most importantly, customer’ demand it! The only question is, as critical components of your technology infrastructure increasingly lie outside of your four walls ….how do you manage these changes and meet the demands of your key stakeholders? Using PeopleSoft’s Integration Broker technology, complex connections between legacy systems, packaged applications, and trading partners can all be created and managed securely over the Internet. This hub-and-spoke framework eliminates the need for expensive and time-consuming point-to-point integrations between all of your applications, while providing an infrastructure focused on reusability and performance. The end result is an organization ready for the challenges of real-time business. From a technology perspective, Integration Broker is a core element of the PeopleTools Infrastructure. The same industry leading enterprise architecture that runs each and every one of our best-in-class applications includes the Integration Broker product. Whether you are already a PeopleSoft shop, or are considering one of our applications or a 3rd party integration tool, you can be confident that your integration requirements can be handled by the same infrastructure you trust today for your applications. No additional hardware investments, no new software to buy, no new programming languages to learn, no outside consultants to train. This is integration technology that is built-in and built-to last. Now that’s return on investment! For more information on PeopleSoft technologies and our integration products, please visit us at http://www.peoplesoft.com/corp/en/products/technology/index.asp

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