Importance of Application Integration

Your company may be forced to take the integration route for a variety of reasons, including better customer care, new competitive conditions, or the need to offer more integrated services.

Needless to say, an integrated application architecture is key to serving the customer seamlessly, especially in e-commerce. This strategy is exemplified by Amazon.com, the integrated seller of books, CDs, videotapes, audiotapes, and other products.

Once an order is placed on the Web site, Amazon.com uses an integrated packing and shipping system via an online connection to the order management system. This system monitors the in-stock status of each item ordered, processes the order, and generates warehouse selection tickets and packing slips. Once picking and packing is done, the package is sent via Airborne or UPS to the customer. The high level of integration in order fulfillment means that Amazon.com can turn its own inventory much more frequently than traditional competitors, who average three to four times longer. This helps keep inventory and warehousing costs down, making them more competitive.