With the latest release of Kourier Integrator, Kore Technologies’ flagship product for data management providing both extract, transform and load (ETL) and enterprise application integration (EAI) capabilities, the process of implementing inbound integration from third-party systems and databases to U2 applications has been improved.
Enhanced Inbound Integration
The new release now makes it easier to map inbound data from either XML or flat files to the U2 system using the same template-based approach that Kourier uses for its outbound data extraction and integration. The new approach reduces and in some cases eliminates the need to write any procedural code and enables Kourier to manage the data validation, conversions, transaction rules and file updates. For more advanced integrations (such as when using an Application Programming Interface), Kourier provides the ability to implement specific business rules, manipulate data and even override file update processing.
“People want to integrate their back office systems with best-of-breed applications,” explains Mark Dobransky, managing partner and co-founder of Kore. “Recently, we have seen a lot of interest in taking back office systems and linking them to salesforce.com and other CRM applications.”
While Kourier Integrator was previously able to integrate data from external sources into Rocket Software UniData and UniVerse [U2] databases, Dobransky described the process as programmer-intensive. “Integrations will always have some element of programming especially when you are doing complex transactions like creating an order or creating a customer because there is a lot that happens when the record is saved to disk in U2 systems. But for simple things like updating a territory on a customer or maybe changing a sales rep assignment on a customer, we have made that very easy to do with the import capability.”
As clients move beyond data warehousing and start using more of Kourier Integrator’s capabilities with third-party applications, the objective is to provide a way to integrate all of those applications to Kourier, said Keith Lambert, vice president of marketing and business development at Kore, "because our goal has always been to provide best-in-class integration.”
The enhanced integration of XML and file-based imports requires very-little-to-no code in some cases. "It is a natural evolution with these companies running ERP since they can’t just run ERP – they may have Salesforce.com or some other system. Now, we can make that bidirectional integration much easier than before," Lambert said.
Increased Java Performance
In addition, said Dobransky, “We constantly look for ways to improve performance in Kourier.” As part of that effort in the latest release, Kore has initiated a new way of moving data from UNIX systems to Windows systems that reduces overhead on the UNIX system.
“Primarily what Kourier Integrator is used for is data warehousing or data replication of U2 data to SQL Server, and most people are still running on UNIX systems so we have to move the data from the UNIX system over to the Windows system where SQL lives and where the ETL activities occur - and to do that we use Java to move the file.” Previously, he said, each time a single file was moved, “we would spin up the Java Runtime Engine but someone pointed out to us that this was a pretty resource-intensive approach, so we created a Java Server Applet that initializes once and then does a very minimal amount of work to actually move the file.” The result is a reduction of the system resources on the UNIX side, improving overall performance.
New Online Help System in Kourier Integrator 4.1
A third key enhancement in Kourier Integrator 4.1 is the addition of a new online help system that is designed to be easy to read and navigate, and works with desktop browsers and mobile devices. "When people look at the documentation on Kourier Integrator, they are surprised at how deep and how useful it is, but some customers have found it difficult to locate information," acknowledged Dobransky.
"We restructured and redesigned the interface with search capabilities and new content to improve the ability for new users to teach themselves - and reteach themselves - how to use the product," explained Lambert. The new global search feature enables users to quickly find what they are looking for, supports wildcards for flexibility, and also enables users to save their favorite help pages in a quick reference list.