Business Computing and Integration     


Business Computing and Integration - overview


Business computing refers to the IT technologies that power an organization's enterprise, planning, customer management and storage systems, to name a few. Integration is the seamless combination of these technologies to ensure that all hardware and software components interact properly and consistently with each other.

Business computing and integration address the business problems -- and technical conflicts -- that arise when a great number of people in a large enterprise work together on a variety of tasks. Data, for example, which is collected from a variety of sources, may arrive with network-induced errors and must be made usable, or "integratable," across all enterprise systems. Integrated operations make it possible for businesses to do computations on data that may be changing constantly.

Another key integration activity involves converting data to a single format so that interactions between disparate data can be properly described.

IBM middleware is the "connective tissue" that makes it possible to combine different systems built at separate times and places. The goal is to combine them with the least amount of effort and the greatest potential for synergy.

IBM Research has contributed to a number of business computing and integration technologies:

  • Customer Information Control System. CICS is middleware that enables rapid, high-volume online transaction processing. The goal is to treat two simultaneous requests as if each had arrived separately and terminated independently, even though in reality transaction requests occur many times per second and affect many other factors and conditions. In short, CICS technology provides services that extend or replace the functions of the operating system. It is most typically used in financial services companies.
  • Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration. OSLC defines a set of specifications that facilitates the integration of software development and software products and services such as Application Lifecycle Management and Product Lifecycle Management. The point is to make it easier for software developers and tools vendors to work together easily. In short, OSLC enables to growth of a business and technology ecosystem.
  • IBM DB2. Databases early on became a way for applications to store and integrate data compiled at different times. It also allowed changes to data to enable new applications.

Organizations that have profited from IBM's research into business computing and integration include:

  • Monarch Industries, Canada’s largest manufacturer of hydraulic cylinders and custom castings, integrated IBM Cognos' automated forecasting software with its Material Requirements Planning (MRP) systems. The result: Monarch's business insight has gotten 30 times faster.
  • Legal & General, a U.K.-based insurance, pension and investment company, needed to model all company assets at an individual level – a complex task involving vast quantities of data. It also had to gain a deeper understanding of the company’s liabilities. Ultimately, the company combined data about assets and liabilities in order to model the entire balance sheet. The need for robustness and scalability led to the integration of IBM Algorithmics Economic Capital, Enterprise Risk Management and the Solvency II solution (to meet an EU-specific directive). The result: The scenario modelling capabilities allow the company to see the effects of various possible risks on each area of the business.

At IBM, these professional interest communities (PICs) comprise Business Computing and Integration:

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Last updated on July 7, 2014










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Technical interests at IBM Research