PeopleSoft, Lawson To Resell Integration Tools

  • Written By: Steve McVey
  • Published: January 14 2000

PeopleSoft, Lawson To Resell Integration Tools
S. McVey - January 14th, 2000

Event Summary

Two ERP vendors recently signed agreements to resell integration software from Enterprise Applications Integration vendors. PeopleSoft has agreed to standardize on New Era of Network, Inc.'s (NEON) data migration product as the preferred integration tool and deploy the product to customers in its 30 implementation centers throughout North America. PeopleSoft will also resell the NEON product directly to customers for data conversion and ongoing data interfacing from PeopleSoft to other in-house applications. Lawson Software is reselling TSI Software's Mercator integration tools to provide XML integration for its collaborative e-Business applications.

Market Impact

Tools for Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) are becoming more important as companies continue to replace large mainframe systems with smaller, more specialized applications. These tools must be flexible to join software applications from multiple vendors that have different variation in purpose and platforms. The rapid consolidation of vendors in the enterprise application marketplace will have little effect on reducing the number of interfaces required for large IT implementations that span multiple business units. Each year, new applications appear on the horizon that are designed to complement existing applications by automating peripheral processes or enhancing functionality already included. Ultimately, organizations will need to combine these applications seamlessly for maximum benefit. Customer relationship management, alert messaging, and data mining are just a few recent examples. To stay competitive among the growing number of players in the marketplace, EAI vendors will need to explore innovative development approaches for creating conduits that join various applications in their many combinations. Partnerships like those of PeopleSoft and Lawson are a step in the right direction.

User Recommendations

While partnerships such as those mentioned above can save time in getting information about a prospective integration tool, users should not select an integration package based solely on the advice of an ERP or supply chain management partner vendor. Most integration tools have the capability to join data from different packages, even if they do not maintain joint marketing agreements. The differentiating factors lie in the methods by which the integration occurs. Packages for data conversion and transfer should be selected based on several factors, including:

  • Cleansing: Although the data in a legacy mainframe may have worked fine for the last twenty years, the new application may not be able to make sense of its conventions. For instance, the mainframe may make use of global settings that allow its sub-programs to leave out parts of the data, such as facility codes or two-digit century fields for dates. Because of extensive customization, mainframes are rarely amenable to a direct data load by even advanced EAI tools, and a good package will allow the project team to at least identify incompatibilities and suggest alternatives for conversion.

  • Transformation: Whether the enterprise application needs to communicate data to another in-house application, an application at another facility, or a business-to-business marketplace portal, a central issue concerns how the integration tool maps data in one application to another. In addition, the tool should offer programmers the flexibility to construct custom data mapping rules with a high level of complexity.

  • Ease-of-use: Companies frequently find that using in-house resources helps keep project costs down. The EAI tool should be easy to learn with a minimum of training. This also ensures that knowledgeable resources stay around after the implementation phase to maintain the interfaces and upgrade them to communicate with new product releases and installations.

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