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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

March - 2003 - issue > Cover Feature

Next Generation EAI

Evangelos Simoudis
Thursday, February 27, 2003
Evangelos Simoudis
ENTERPRISE APPLICATION INTEGRATION HAS emerged as a distinct and important layer of the enterprise software infrastructure. Packaged EAI software can be deployed—in place of several manual processes and one-off connections––and allow an enterprise to, for example, integrate its marketing automation, ecommerce, order processing, and billing applications thus creating an end-to-end customer management system.

Today application integration ranks among the top three IT initiatives of most any Global 2000 enterprise. However, for most enterprises, EAI remains an expensive and time-consuming proposition resulting in fragile systems. Therefore, EAI tools and methods are still not used widely, even among the largest enterprises where most EAI projects consist of establishing basic point-to-point communication between departmental applications. CIOs recognize the need for a new generation of EAI that will effectively address the shortcomings of existing EAI solutions.

First-generation EAI
EAI emerged in the mid-1990s with the founding of companies such as Active Software (now part of WebMethods), Vitria, Crossworlds (now part of IBM), etc. These companies recognized that application integration represented a significant IT pain (even today enterprises spend over 40% of IT budgets on custom programming to tie together applications) and enterprises desperately needed a systematic way to tackle the problem.

Early adopters of EAI––companies like Motorola, Shell and Morgan Stanley––realized significant return on their investment in first generation EAI tools. This ROI was attributed to the fact that the companies no longer needed to employ a cadre of programmers just to create, maintain and support the homegrown integration software.

Like every other software technology, packaged, tools-based EAI, despite its unequivocal success, is not without its shortcomings:

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