Sierra Atlantic tackles rapid app integration

Keeping folks in manufacturing apprised of what’s going on in engineering is critical to business at Tellium Inc. Proper inventory management depends on it.

“If we don’t have an automatic way of transferring data from engineering to manufacturing, we could be purchasing a lot more inventory than we need,” says Howard Shirokman, IT director at the optical switch maker.

To automatically open the lines of communication, Tellium is using new software from Sierra Atlantic Inc. that ties together its product development and supply chain software.

Sierra Atlantic has roots in the services side of application integration. This month the Fremont, Calif. company released two new packaged apps aimed at speeding up the integration process: Supply Chain Management Network (SCMnet3.0), which enables real-time integration between Agile Anywhere product lifecycle management software from Agile Software Corp. and Oracle Corp.’s eBusiness suite; and Customer Relationship Management Network (CRMnet2.5), which offers integration between Clarify eFrontOffice and Oracle’s eBusiness suite.

For Tellium, SCMnet3.0 ferries engineering change orders (ECO) between Agile Anywhere, which Tellium uses to manage its product design and engineering operations, and Oracle 11i apps.

Once a product design is released to manufacturing, the engineers have to notify the manufacturing department each time a design adjustment is made. For each change, the engineering department issues an ECO. Three to five ECOs a week is common, Shirokman says.

In the past, Tellium has tried swapping ECO data manually, but found that method slow and prone to errors.

SCMnet3.0 automatically transfers product data from Agile to Oracle using standard Oracle APIs. It checks for redundancy and alerts users when inappropriate values are entered. “Data integrity is the primary advantage of using an adapter,” Shirokman says.

Tellium started the integration process in April and went live with Oracle 11i and SCMnet3.0 in July. Though it’s too early to put numbers to Tellium’s savings, Shirokman says already the company is saving money with its new system. “We’re starting to see cost benefits already, and we’ve only been live for a few months,” he says.

Initially the company considered using in-house resources to link the apps but found it would be too expensive to create and maintain the technology. “Development time and cost would have far exceeded what we invested in this,” Shirokman says.

Tellium is working now to deploy CRMnet2.5 to tie its Clarify customer service applications to its Oracle 11i apps. Shirokman aims to have CRMnet2.5 up and running by the end of next month.

SCMnet3.0 and CRMnet2.5 are available now. Both support Unix and Windows NT platforms. Expanded middleware support now includes Vitria, Tibco and Java Messaging Service middleware.

Pricing for the software plus implementation services averages US$100,000 for SCMnet3.0 and US$200,000 for CRMnet2.5.

CRMnet3.0, scheduled for release late this year, will tie Oracle eBusiness Suite and Siebel Systems Inc.’s Sales and Service applications.