This afternoon at Oracle OpenWorld, I attended a great session led by Darrin Pohlman, Enterprise Architect at LexisNexis and MK Rizwan from Infosys.
They talked about the enterprise transformation program at LexisNexis, and the strategic use of technology to enable and drive that transformation effort.
MK started by pointing out the constraints of the single, global instance application strategy. You’re constrained by the vendor’s application architecture, and not all the functionality is best-of-breed across the entire suite. There are inevitable customizations and extensions which pile up over time, which leads to ever-increasing Total Cost of Ownership. It’s difficult to introduce industry-specific functionality, and it takes a long time to introduce new business models or capabilities.
The trend recently has been toward unbundling of the packages through SOA integration such as Oracle’s Application Integration Architecture (AIA) and the accompanying Process Integration Packs (PIPs). Further trends include vendor consolidation – Oracle acquiring Siebel, Hyperion, BEA, etc.
Interestingly, MK mentioned the important of prioritizing master data management, which got my attention, and he mentioned that would be particularly as people started to migrate in the future to the Fusion Applications products.
They went on to talk about AIA, particularly foundation packs, process integration packs and direct integrations. The foundation pack provides shared services, design patterns and standards. It runs on Fusion Middleware.
Darrin discussed the pro’s of AIA: good reference model for building composite applications, standards-based, extensible for unique characteristics of your business, and where Oracle is eager to demonstrate successful implementations. On the con side, PIPs can be tightly coupled, and the versioning of the AIA foundation pack can depend on specific versions of Siebel and other Oracle applications. Also, there are change management considerations of the IT team. There are licensing and maintenance considerations as well.
LexisNexis is an early adopter of this technology but has to plan for multiple upgrades over the next 12-18 months.
The audience was very engaged and asked some great questions during the session.
I found the session very helpful in better understanding the underlying enterprise architecture and technology strategy that LexisNexis is pursuing, and how Oracle’s Application Integration Architecture fits into that strategy, and Darrin and MK did a great job in explaining the pro’s and con’s of the approach and the experience that LexisNexis has had with it so far.