Software AG has announced that 3Com has implemented a realtime business infrastructure for its internal operations using the webMethods suite from Software AG.
By embracing a service-oriented architecture (SOA) to drive its business integration strategy, the technology leader has streamlined core business processes, reduced IT costs, synchronised master data, and secured better realtime visibility into enterprise operations.
Significant improvements in IT productivity are already evident as an initial project, which was designed to improve customer service, moved into production faster and at less cost than budgeted.
"Our webMethods implementation has helped us create a more integrated, realtime business infrastructure connecting all of our global operations. We can now operate more efficiently, collaborate more productively with our partners, and better serve our customers," said Jerry Kelly, CIO and vice president, 3Com Corporation. "Due to our ability to work faster and more efficiently, we have also been able to establish IT as a change agent within the company. Business users are beginning to grasp what is now possible and have raised their expectations accordingly. Thanks to the extensibility of our implementation, we are confident in our ability to meet these higher benchmarks."
3Com's adoption of the webMethods suite from Software AG has had a significant impact on IT performance. A new messaging bus has replaced much of the cost and burden associated with maintaining brittle point-to-point integrations while other time-consuming bottlenecks have been eliminated and obsolete applications and their underlying systems have been retired. Business users have benefited from more reliable access to realtime data, which drives better performance, and from a greater reliance on automated processes for better efficiency and accuracy. Finally, by re-architecting their existing SAP and Siebel applications within an SOA, 3Com can also improve the flexibility and responsiveness to change of its core business systems.
Specific components of the implementation include the webMethods ESB, a comprehensive, standards-based enterprise service bus (ESB) enabling integration and interoperability of applications, services, processes and partners via a single platform; webMethods BPMS, a full-feature process design, execution, monitoring and management platform; and webMethods for B2B, a proven solution for realtime management of extended trading partner networks.
3Com's initial project with the technology focused on consolidating the company's customer support operations to further improve service levels.
Key deliverables of the project included an expansion of single customer view, additional deployment of Web-based, self-service functionality, and extended visibility into the realtime status of third-party providers. Despite the perceived risk associated with the use of new technology to address these business-critical requirements, the initial project was actually completed under-budget with follow-on projects tracking under-budget and with earlier than anticipated completion dates.
A project currently underway calls for the company to update its existing EDI implementation as it replaces legacy technology with the webMethods for B2B solution. This will allow 3Com to further automate end-to-end processes like fulfillment, enhance realtime reporting of order status, and improve overall scalability and reliability.
Subsequently, 3Com plans to expand its usage of webMethods BPMS to further optimise a number of decision-intensive processes, such as employee on-boarding.
The benefits of a SOA-based approach have already become apparent as the company is able to re-use newly created interfaces and services across subsequent implementations. For example, the time required to update partner interfaces was slashed from weeks to hours in a recent project.
"Our selection process was rigorous as we carefully evaluated a half dozen vendors. In the end, the webMethods suite fully addressed our technology vision while delivering the most compelling total cost-of-ownership," said Kathleen O'Neill, director of IT, 3Com Corporation. "Despite this due diligence, we have been pleasantly surprised by the speed of our initial success. By partnering with Software AG's professional services team, we have been able to quickly take advantage of their years of experience. We have also benefited from their global reach. As a result, our internal users have quickly embraced these new tools, which have greatly enhanced their productivity."