Today was a record day on the system integration front. Today, we worked with an alliance partner and successfully helped them create a demonstration package, running our Accura XV check recognition software in less than one hour! Yes, you heard it, less than 1 HOUR!
This amazing achievement was due to a new C# (that’s “C Sharp” for you non-technical folks) interface using state-of-the-art development tools, sample code and a simplified system development kit (SDK). With efficiency in mind for our business partners, the OrboCAR Bridge Interface (OBI) was born as a part of Accura XV.
The concepts of system integration have changed over the past several years. Twenty years ago, when systems were proprietary in nature, an integration of a new component was typically loosely coupled and poorly architected. Solutions were made to “exclude” 3rd parties, so calling a “User Exit” was typically very limited in capability and difficult to access.
As open systems became the rage in the 90’s, not only did hardware interoperability help, but companies started to look for ways to bring products to market faster with less cost of R&D. Ultimately, technology still limited deployment options, but it was a great start to “freedom of choice”. Today, SOA (Services Oriented Architectures) enable web services to call plug-ins locally or remotely with ease. Couple that with “wrappers” written for ease of deployment, and you have the foundation to re-use code and tie-in practically any application with the other.
A Bumpy Road Travelled
It’s easy to brag about the OBI interface as an achievement which easily facilitates successful system integration, but trust me, the road was bumpy along the way. We’ve found that time to market is not the only driver to factor in when releasing a new interface. It falls a distant second to simply adding additional work. Due to the fact that most companies are “right sized”, any amount of additional work for a business partner can kill a product upon market entry. We’ve learned that to rely on others, you need to be well architected, simplify the approach and support the integration like crazy! (That’s right, we’ll even do it for you if you like.)
In conclusion, no matter which kind of customer, large or small, software integration is a critical consideration to delivering best-of-breed products to the market.