In-Depth

Nominees for Middleware/Application Integration

2006 Innovator Awards ADT's annual Innovator Awards recognize IT development teams who have solved their company's business problems by deploying unique solutions. This year 31 nominees entered their application development projects in the five categories listed below. Each week for the next month, a new category will be added to the mix until the winners -- based on judging by a group of consultants at Keane -- are announced in the May issue of ADT. Tell us who you think should win. Scroll down and vote for the best project in the middleware/application integration category.


Categories

  • Application Engineering

    Emphasizes the use of software engineering tools and practices. Includes the use of Extreme Programming (XP) concepts, the Unified Modeling Language (UML), Computer-Aided Software Engineering (CASE), object-oriented analysis and design tools, automated testing tools, methodologies, project management, process management, configuration management tools and/or productivity measurement tools in an innovative corporate development project.

    Click here to see the Nominees for this category

  • Data Warehousing

    Emphasizes the design and development processes and tools used in enterprise data warehousing projects, including: data mining tools, online transaction processing systems, data extraction and transformation tools, database management systems, universal data management systems, query and reporting tools.

    Click here to see the Nominees for this category

  • E-Business Application Development

    Emphasizes efforts to develop a corporate application architecture that incorporates legacy systems, client/server systems and the Internet. The judges will evaluate how the finished application affects business processes, as well as the tools and technologies employed. This category also emphasizes the use of multi-tier development tools for development of enterprise-wide applications that can include Web-based and wireless clients. Examples include RAD tools, data modelers, visual 4GLs, Java tools, Internet tools, wireless development tools and development frameworks.

    Click here to see the nominees for this category.

  • Middleware/Application Integration

    Emphasizes the use of middleware, integration and messaging technologies within an application architecture. Relevant tools can include transaction managers, object request brokers, RPC-based schemes, XML-based technologies, object transaction monitors, Web services, application integration tools, message-oriented middleware (MOM) alternatives, and publish and subscribe systems. Also emphasizes the use of middleware to link multiple packaged and/or packaged and internally developed applications, and multivendor DBMS systems to allow seamless integration between dissimilar systems.

  • Open Source

    Emphasizes the use of open-source technologies and tools by corporate development teams building internal, proprietary applications or for extending the capabilities of existing systems. Projects that combine traditional development methods with open-source offerings as well as projects relying solely on open-source technologies are relevant to this category.

    Click here to see the Nominees for this category


Nominees for Middleware/Application Integration

Nominee: Accelior/ING Lease

Industry: Financial services

Goal: Automate the order management process and increase distribution channels.

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Business Problem: To compete in the lease management market, ING Lease needed to increase order volume but not headcount.

Application Solution: ING decided to automate its core order management process and increase its distribution channels. Systems integrator Accelior Consulting was hired for the project. The development team decided to reuse the existing infrastructure in an agile, adaptive way. They kept the existing 18 back-end systems in place, re-engineered the Web services layer, built a standardized process layer based on a BPEL (Business Process Execution Language) engine and created a uniform front-end for sales representatives.

After a high-level view from the CIO, and 50 1:1 interviews with business users, the initial business processes were designed on paper, documented in Visio, and then modeled in Oracle’s BPEL Business Process Manager based on XML schemas.

Accelior deployed its own Work Process Manager SOA framework to manage change on all the different layers of the architecture from a central XML definition that represents the business data that is reused on different levels of the architecture. Other tools used to implement the ING architecture were from Oracle’s SOA technology suite—the Fusion Middleware Application Server, Grid Control, and a RAC-based XML database.

The ING project was completed on schedule in 6 months by a 10-member team. The Web-enabled leasing system is such a success that ING decided to roll it out throughout Europe. ING is partnering with Accelior on a similar BPM/SOA project for ING Bank.


click here to read full submission.


Nominee: Defense Information Systems Agency

Industry: Defense

Goal: Eliminate downtime while reducing costs

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Business Problem: The U.S. Department of Defense relies on the Defense Information Systems Agency to manage its information systems. In addition, as the DoD’s primary provider of finance, accounting and supply chain systems services, DISA has no time for downtime.

Application Solution: DISA chose Managed Objects’ Business Service Management software for its ability to seamlessly integrate the agency’s tools, regardless of vendor. That ability translated into providing DISA with an end-to-end view of its systems architecture and the relationships among its components.

Using BSM, the team consolidated the data from DISA’s management systems with a single view on a centralized console. The consolidated view is based on a unique object-model, which aggregates and correlates all of the data from existing heterogeneous sources. DISA now has end-to-end visibility into the health, performance and availability of its IT infrastructure. In the event of a service-related problem, an IT tech can perform a point-and-click drill down to determine the cause and remedy the problem.

click here to read full submission.


Nominee: GeoDecisions

Industry: Hi-tech

Goal: Rebuild a military information system to adapt to changing technology and user requirements.

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Business Problem: What started out as a U.S. transportation and logistics security information display evolved into a global multi-component app used by multiple agencies. As technology and user requirements changed, the existing app became difficult to maintain.

Application Solution: IRRIS uses advanced information technology, geographic information systems and location-based services to equip military users with an interactive mapping interface, which allows them to coordinate and manage assets. The system integrates and displays worldwide infrastructure data, live vehicle tracking, and real-time weather and active route conditions in map format through a secure interface that can be accessed from any Internet-enabled device. More than 1,300 route and port cameras stream live pictures into the system, which updates every 60 seconds.

To rebuild the system, a geographically dispersed team of 32 developers built a framework that supports different databases and mapping engines based on interface inheritance. Building an enterprise Web app using ASP .NET posed a technical challenge. The team comprised of VB.NET, ASP.NET, Java and Visual C++ developers agreed that the use of Visual C# was the best way to bridge the gap.

The new system is a success. IRRIS saved taxpayers more than $15 million in 2004-2005 through improved efficiencies including greater access to critical information, decreased time performing job functions and increased ability to automate many formerly manual tasks.

click here to read full submission.


Nominee: George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates (MFA)

Industry: Education

Goal: Provide real-time data in an easy-to-understand graphical form.

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Business Problem: Integrate information residing in five disparate applications and provide access on a real-time basis. Rapid integration and development was an absolute requirement for its integration platform.

Application Solution: The MFA Executive Dashboard is built on InterSystems Corp.’s Ensemble universal integration platform. Developers leveraged Ensemble’s Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) framework to create an interface that provides physicians with a real-time illustration of their individual performance metrics through a Web browser. As a result, up-to-date information is available on a 24x7 basis.

Ensemble was selected primarily because it has the capabilities that MFA felt would enable rapid integration, development and deployment.

The MFA Executive Dashboard is running on a Windows 2005 platform and utilizes a HP 30 server. The architecture also includes Ensemble and information is extracted from five applications/repositories, including IDX Flowcast, Allscripts TouchWorks, Great Plains financial software, ADP Payroll system and Excel budget databases.

click here to read full submission.


Nominee: MedicAlert

Industry: Healthcare

Goal: Develop a highly flexible, secure system to interoperate with partners and client apps.

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Business Problem: MedicAlert required a highly flexible, adaptive system that would interoperate with its partners and client applications, yet be highly secure.

Application Solution: MedicAlert’s E-HealthKEY System comprises about 20 .NET Web services. Microsoft BizTalk Server 2004 is the process integration and rules engine; Forum Systems is used for perimeter security; and AmberPoint ensures the operational health and address last-mile security requirements for the distributed services. Patient data is stored on a USB memory stick, which patients attach to a keychain to ensure they have a complete personal health record with them at all times. They can view and update their personal medical information through the MedicAlert Web portal or E-HealthKEY, which are in synch with one another. Because the system is built on Web services, it is easy to update, adapt and grow.

click here to read full submission.


Nominee: National Capital Region (District of Columbia and surrounding jurisdictions in Virginia and Maryland)

Industry: Emergency Services

Goal: Integrate data across dozens of operations centers.

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Business Problem: Integrate the public safety and emergency response data of dozens of emergency operations centers across the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia to accelerate the communication of real-time incident and event information, as well as speed NCR’s recognition of public threats and responsiveness to those events.

Application Solution: NCR built CapStat, an enterprise service bus based on Sonic ESB, to connect EOCs across the region. The ESB connects, mediates and controls the flow of information across the architecture. Distributed service containers host integration services, such as a transformation service, at remote EOC locations across the NCR. The service containers can be remotely configured, deployed and managed, reducing the need for EOC IT staff to be familiar with the ESB’s inner workings. In addition, the service containers help ensure reliability across the system, and can host communication brokers where and when messaging horsepower is required to scale the system.

CapStat uses XML to communicate between EOCs, leveraging a common XML format within the bus that can be easily transformed to the formats used by individual EOCs. Because of this, an innate ability to move from one platform to another without consequence is assured, so each jurisdiction could use its existing technology without being forced to change over to anything new.

Other technologies used include a powerful search engine, geographic information system and Web services.

click here to read full submission.


Nominee: Option One Mortgage Corp.

Industry: Financial Services

Goal: Automate and streamline processes to protect business margins.

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Business Problem: The mortgage-lending business is intensely competitive, and OOMC needed to automate and its loan pre-qualification and underwriting processes to protect its business margins.

Application Solution: Option One found its solution in ILOG JRules, an ILOG business rule management system, as the foundation for its automated mortgage pre-qualification system and underwriting system. Using ILOG JRules, Option One upgraded its pre-qualification system, accelerating loan application processing and time to market for new loan products. Option One used ILOG JRules to provide faster turnaround times on loan qualifications and loan approvals, increase decision making flexibility, and improve risk management for regulatory compliance. ILOG's JRules provides a centralized business rule repository that enables rapid changes and has the flexibility to delegate rule changes within IT or to certified business users outside of IT.

click here to read full submission.


Nominee: Washington Department of Corrections

Industry: Penal System/Hi-tech

Goal: Improve workforce management and lower costs.

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Business Problem: Needed a system of record for custody pay and to provide management with real-time information to make policy and fiscal decisions regarding workforce and facilities.

Application Solution: The development team created an enterprise workforce management tool called ATLAS, which is used for employee scheduling and time collection. The new app was needed to replace a “dying” system. The app, which was built using rapid application development tool Sybase PowerBuilder and Emerald City’s Diagnostics Tool (for testing), centralizes 15 data silos into one enterprise, Microsoft SQL Server database. A front-end user interface—Windows XP is the client operating system—resides above a database rules engine, which enables data mining and reporting of key financial data.

The Department of Corrections uses a wide area network the covers the state and is used by other agencies. ATLAS is integrated with the SAP-based Human Resource Management and Gross Payroll ERP systems. Transact SQL was used to rewrite critical business processes to avoid network performance issues. The project was completed by a team of seven, two from the Department of Corrections and five from Emerald City Software. ATLAS was developed and implemented at 15 facilities in 11 months.

With the new system, the Department of Corrections was able to achieve a two percent reduction in gross payroll due to lower incremental costs associated with overtime and absenteeism.

click here to read full submission.


You be the Judge

Judges from Keane chose the winners that will appear in the May issue. Vote now and tell us who you’d choose in the Middleware/Application Integration category.
Judges from Keane chose the winners that will appear in the May issue. Vote now and tell us who you’d choose in the Middleware/Application Integration category.

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