System Integration & SeaConnect
During any new project one of the most important issues in a modern system is integration; with other applications in a client’s enterprise, and externally with other members of the business community.
The aim of Trade Ship is to simplify the project process and provide our clients with a modern integration architecture scalable in meeting a growing companies needs, flexible to adjust to rapid changes, and robust enough to cope with a 24x7 global industry.
Over time complex systems can contain multiple disparate applications, each with specialist functionality required in the day to day business. In global systems this problem is compounded by multiple disparate applications providing the same functionality. The number of data interfaces required to keep the business running increases exponentially, but getting an overview data set for business intelligence becomes difficult. As a new business requirement occurs the implementation and maintenance issues faced also become compounded and the risk of problems increases.
The implementation of a new system greatly improves a client’s enterprise architecture, however with investment in a strong integration platform, the applications or services that run in parallel can be joined seamlessly sharing data in a real time environment.
During a global application roll-out, one of the key concerns is ensuring the stability of the business. This often means multiple systems will need to work in parallel for a transitional period. It is important that the interface framework contains the functionality to simplify the integration strategy, allowing data to be synchronised or control of data to be passed from one application to another.
Another major area of importance is EDI, handling the huge volumes of data modern systems transfer, maintaining the successful partnerships that exist currently, while incorporating a new generic framework, which will centralize all monitoring and handling procedures, and make future trading partner agreements easier to implement.
Trade Ship can provide consultants expert in the integration of multiple applications, service orchestration and the container shipping business. They therefore not only understand the design patterns of modern integration architecture, but also the type of data and its physical meaning and usage.
This provides advantages when understanding the common industry codes used, the structure of a document within a message, and its integration into the receiving application modules (Equipment, Bookings, Documentation etc).
There is a familiarity with many of the regional trading partners (Depots, Terminals, customs) that share data using EDI, and the message sets they commonly use (Whether UN/EDIFACT or ANSI X12). Message suites to global partners such as INTTRA and GT Nexus are also well understood, as are the standard events, logic and mechanisms that trigger the interfaces.
Services that can be provided include; project management, consultancy, development and mapping.
SeaConnect is the Trade Ship enterprise integration product specifically designed for the shipping industry, and providing a solution for
- Application Integration (EAI (Enterprise Application Integration))
- Business Integration (EDI (Electronic Data Interchange))
- Data Integration (ETL (Extract Transform Load))
- Process Integration (EDA (Event Driven Architecture))
One of the key aspects of SeaConnect is its loose coupling and application independence so it can be used with either SeaLiner Enterprise or SeaLiner Standard. Please see the illustration below:
SeaConnect will act as a broker between multiple applications, joining them and allowing them to share data. It can also easily leverage on any other standard industry middleware, such as ESB.
Legacy system Integration
SeaConnect can hold the rules for the distribution of data to multiple legacy systems operating in synchrony during a transitional period, and can enrich data by using key data rules or defaults when data is received.
It can also be used for other applications running in parallel. For example Invoices raised are transferred to dedicated accounting packages or an ERP. The requirements of key industry applications such as SAP can also be catered for.
EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) is the electronic transfer of structured business data from one business application to another, and is therefore fundamentally the same as EAI but to partners outside of the client’s enterprise. SeaConnect provides EDI support for the major messages used in the shipping industry and for both UN/EDIFACT and ANSI X12 standards. Templates are provided in libraries to allow the user to modify for bespoke requirements in the transformation mapping program.
SeaConnect provides a standard framework to allow data to be extracted, transformed and loaded (ETL). This is available to assist external data warehousing, master data management or business intelligence tools (BI).
With cross application data (CAP) interfaces are provided out of the box as these can assist during initial data upload tasks in addition to ETL tasks. SeaConnect will also hold the rules for administration of this data. This may include distributing it across multiple applications in order to maintain synchronisation, or consolidating it, filtering or highlighting duplicates.
Many organisations use master data management (MDM) software to manage all their cross application data. This consolidation has a number of benefits, reducing data volumes, errors, duplication and allows the data to be controlled. With the functionality provided, Sealiner can maintain the master data for a client’s enterprise, with ETL distributing the data to other applications. Alternatively ETL can support an existing MDM suite.
SeaConnect can be used for process integration. In this individual services are integrated using the event driven architecture (EDA) and interact within a business work flow initiating downstream tasks. All this can be monitored using the BI dashboard.
The event generation is triggered from a number of sources. Within SeaLiner it is often the change of a document status (For example a Booking becoming confirmed from entry status).
These events are fed to the event manager, which consumes them and evaluates each for the appropriate task to call, and raises new events for follow up tasks, or places other events on the scheduler if they require a future action.
For example the receipt of an E-Commerce booking could generate an ‘Approval’ event. A user would be required to check and confirm the booking. The ‘Confirmation’ event could then trigger EDI to the depot for empty container release and also notification to the logistics department for container assignment.