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World Connect Technology

Topic: WorldConnect Technology
Overview: WorldConnect is the 'glue' to connect to virtually any data base and Application including Wireless Hand held Devices

Integration Solution White Paper


Why has integration become such a hot topic in today's enterprise?

According to a survey of chief information officers, as reported by CIO Magazine, integration is the single largest spending priority for IT organizations today. Simply put: enterprises have underestimated the complexity of application integration, system administration, and maintenance. IT staffs are overburdened with trying to juggle diverse and often vendor-centric application integration while maintaining the costs associated.

Companies are operating under the perceived need to increase real-time visibility and responsiveness to the customer, which has led to too many applications attempting to integrate with Legacy systems. This in turn has left companies with inflexible infrastructures effectively thwarting the initial goal of improving efficiencies and visibility. As a result, there is no adaptable cost effective infrastructure for business processes across the enterprise.

Current best practices theory suggests a seamless melding of a customer relationship management solution (CRM) with an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system will bring the organization the real-time visibility to supply an enterprise with the business-critical information sought. While in theory this would appear to be a logical next step, in reality organizations are more likely to need to integrate a wide range of disparate applications to support complex business processes. These processes typically cut across multiple applications and organizational boundaries and are fraught with redundancies of data and fragmentation.

Companies are painfully aware they are not capable of running one application suite to satisfy all their needs. The typical vendor-centric application has been based on closed proprietary systems. Integrating to these applications becomes a one-way street, once completed there is no turning back and the ability to reuse the integration if the underlying application changes is impossible. This has significantly constrained a company from realizing the full potential of a multi-application integration. The inherent cost to an organization to rollout a new system, recreating each interface along the way is daunting and increasingly unpalatable.

What is an organization to do? Sacrifice best-in-class applications for one-stop shop totally integrated solutions? We already understand that no one-application vendor is capable of supplying a solution to meet the diverse needs of separate and unique organizations and business units. This understanding brings us back to why integration is a hot topic among IT professionals. Devising a solution to the integration challenge has been their top priority with the ever increasing palette of solutions available.

What approaches have IT professionals examined or implemented to try and solve this issue? Let's look at a few:

1. Proprietary Integrated Suites

Vendors, mostly with core competencies in database or ERP solutions, propose to supply the organization with one-stop shopping. This integrated suite of applications, encompassing CRM, ERP and supply chain management (SCM), is meant to outfit the organization with an all-in-one package managing the front office to the back-office. Inherently there are limitations to this approach:

  • Does the suite provide the organization with complete functionality?
  • Does the suite supply the organization with all the applications needed?
  • If not, has the suite been designed to allow for easy additional integration?
  • Is the suite best in class across all applications?
  • Does the suite solve the issues of visibility across the enterprise?
  • Does the suite consider the customer or the vendor, i.e., does the company need to scrap all previous IT investments to accommodate the new suite?
  • Does the suite deliver strategic advantage to the organization?

The list continues but the point is, this approach fails to deliver what the vendor promises and leaves the customer in a potential worse off scenario than when the initiative started.

2. Point-to-Point

As the title indicates, this approach attempts to interface each application with every other application it needs to communicate with. While this seems like a logical approach, at first, when you calculate the number of interface points required, you quickly realize this is a time consuming, expensive and unwieldy proposition. As the number of applications to interface expands, the number of interface points jumps dramatically, calculating the points using the equation (n x (n-1))/2 will demonstrate just how quickly this approach becomes unmanageable. Let's complicate this one more step, what happens when you upgrade an application or replace an application?

3. Information Bus

Realizing the point-to-point approach to be difficult to manage, at best, organizations have sometimes opted for the information bus approach. The information bus is used to bring together the various applications in a common network by acting as a backbone. Again, in theory, this would seem to be a logical approach since it eliminates the need for an interface point with each application by each application. The shortfalls of this approach lie in the extra customizations needed to allow the bus to work across multiple applications in the network. Essentially, the customizations sit on top of the application and direct it to work together with the rest of the applications to support the various business objectives.

Failings of this approach include:

  • Developing expensive custom programming
  • Lack of scalability of the custom programming
  • Time consuming

A more palatable approach

ABT is a solutions provider that has contemplated this issue extensively. ABT has asked the same questions the IT professional has asked, how do we make multiple applications work together without delay or exorbitant expense while providing the visibility, flexibility and functionality demanded across the enterprise? Not only this, but how do we accomplish this while achieving best in class technology and leveraging business advantage? ABT has developed its standard-based interface protocol, WorldConnect, to meet the integration needs of today's highly dynamic business environment.

Keeping the customer in mind, WorldConnect is a solution that tackles today's complex integration problem throughout an organization and its diverse business units in a cost-effective way. It is scalable to the limits of the organization and leverages the proven integration technology of industry leading integration server technology vendors.

Utilizing XML standards, WorldConnect allows for a vendor independent environment. Diverse applications can be deployed across the enterprise to meet business critical processes with little integration challenges. The result is a solution that delivers a low total cost of WorldConnect ownership while speeding deployment, increasing visibility and reducing customizations. With, deciding on best in class applications throughout the organization is now achievable without sacrificing functionality or slowing down system-wide deployment.

ABT continues to design it application software with the customer in mind. Designed on an open architecture and technology to support integration, ABT is uniquely suited to deliver this solution.


  • WorldConnect is built to provide complete end-to-end business solutions with minimal customizations
  • Supports business process across the entire enterprise
  • Extends and modifies these processes to quickly adapt to changes in today's business environment, including changes within the organizations strategies or customer requirements
  • WorldConnect is based on XML and Web Services standards supported by the leading vendors of integration server technology
  • WorldConnect is tailored to for industry-specific application
    • Reduce deployment time
    • Lower total cost of ownership
  • Application independent allowing for a high degree of flexibility
    • Allows for choosing best in class applications
    • Maximizes current IT investment
  • WorldConnect is reusable across varied divisions with different applications and integration servers
  • WorldConnect leverages proven integration server technology making it highly scalable, robust and capable of supporting complex IT structures
  • Expected results include
    • Reduced deployment risk
    • Lower development costs and support
    • Faster overall deployment
    • Flexibility in choosing a preferred integration server

WorldConnect Components

At the highest level, WorldConnect consists of three components:

  • business process library
  • business process design tool
  • Integration server.

ABT provides a rich business process library, which consists of business process flows, common objects, and transformation maps that execute on the integration server. ABT also provides a design tool for modeling and configuring business processes.

Leading integration vendors such as IBM provides the integration server.

Each of the three components of WorldConnect—and their key subcomponents—is further described below.

Business Process Library

As a leader in integration ABT has unrivaled domain expertise in customer-related business processes and embeds best practices into its business process solutions. ABT also has extensive expertise in industry-specific customer processes for more than 20 industry segments—including high technology, automotive, retail banking, Stock Market, telecommunications, Energy, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, and many others—and works with industry leaders to incorporate industry best practices in ABT eBusinessApplications. ABT is also partnering with the world's leading systems integrators, who have extensive experience and expertise in developing industry-specific business processes that cut across multiple applications. By leveraging this wealth of knowledge, ABT and its partners can deliver best practices and proven, industry-leading prepackaged enterprise business models that can be deployed rapidly and cost-effectively. The business process library is a collection of prepackaged end-to-end industry-specific business processes—such as Customer Creation or Quote to Order—which can be configured and executed across multiple systems of record and business logic. These business processes are based on XML and Web Services standards and thus are independent of both the underlying applications and integration server. Business processes consist of three components: business process flows, common objects, and transformation maps.

Business process flows: Business process flows orchestrate a sequence of steps across multiple applications to achieve a business objective. They are defined using an industry-leading specification, which is based on Web Services standards.

Common objects: Common objects are a composite of application data models and are compliant with industry-specific standards such as RosettaNet and OAG. They add a unique ID to identify the objects across applications, eliminating the need for point-to-point mappings. ABT provides a comprehensive set of predefined objects, such as customer, employee, product, and quote objects. These objects are defined using XML/XSD standards.

Transformation maps: These provide mappings between the application data models and the common objects and are based on XSLT standards. For example, in ABT eBusiness Applications, Country might be represented as "USA" and is mapped to Country in Common Objects as "United States." ABT provides prebuilt transformation maps to back office applications (such as Amdocs, Kenan, Oracle, PeopleSoft, Portal, SAP, Siebel and so on).

Business Process Design Tool

This is an intuitive graphical tool for developing and configuring business process solutions—including business process flows, common objects, and transformation maps. The design tool has import and export capabilities to accept and emit definitions of the business process solutions in XML standards.

The design tool consists of two components: Business Process Flow Modeler and Transformation Modeler.

Business Process Flow Modeler: The Business Process Flow Modeler enables the user to describe business processes at various levels of abstraction. A business analyst uses the modeler to describe the business process independent of the underlying applications. A developer can then define further details by providing process flows that indicate how a specific application accomplishes those steps.

The Business Process Flow Modeler also provides visual representation of error conditions, transactional boundaries, and compensating transactions. The modeler accepts and emits Web Services-based XML representations of the defined processes.

Transformation Modeler: The Transformation Modeler is used to define common objects and transformation maps. The user can visually drag and drop fields and choose available functions libraries to define transformations. The Transformation Modeler can also be used to define custom transformations. It accepts and emits XSD schemas and XSLT-based transformations.

Integration Server

The integration server coordinates inter-application communication.

Each vendor has different components in its technology, but fundamentally they are similar and include the following elements:

Transport layer: This is a messaging service that provides queuing, guarantees delivery of messages, and supports both synchronous and asynchronous messaging. Examples include IBM

MQSeries and TIBCO Rendezvous.

Adapter: An adapter connects an application to the transport layer. It relays events from the application to the integration server and can "introspect" the application—that is, it has the ability to import application configurations into the integration server. Examples include TIBCO SAP Adapter and Vitria Oracle Adapter.

Common object model: A common object model is a framework for defining common objects. It is extensible and supports customer-developed objects.

Transformations: The integration server provides the transformation layer, which executes the transformations at run time.

Business Process Controller: The Business Process Controller provides step-by-step execution of a business process. It provides support for long-running transactions and error handling. It also monitors the status of processes and collects statistics for reporting and analytics.


WorldConnect represents an innovative new paradigm for multiapplication integration. It is the first and only standards-based, best-in-class solution that fully meets the key objectives of enabling organizations to deploy end-to-end, industry-specific business processes while reducing the cost, complexity, and time of cross-application integration. WorldConnect transforms application integration from a complex and expensive technical challenge into the strategic ability to implement customer-facing business processes across and beyond the enterprise.

WorldConnect provides the only architecture to achieve real-time visibility into business processes across and beyond the enterprise. Not only does WorldConnect enable organizations to quickly deploy business processes, but it also gives them the flexibility to modify processes on the fly in response to fast-changing market, competitive, and customer dynamics. With WorldConnect, organizations are not locked into the proprietary and inflexible architecture of a single vendor. They have the freedom to choose best-in-class applications and technology, and they can easily remove or replace applications as best suit their needs.

Through WorldConnect, organizations can finally realize the strategic benefits of intra- and inter-enterprise, cross-application integration at dramatically reduced cost, complexity, and time to deployment.

When small number of applications needs to communicate and exchange data an assessment should be made to choose what is the most efficient way to interface. The following table can be used as a general rule of thumb.

Number of Applications

Point-To-Point – Vendor based (API etc.)

Point-To-Point (XML)





Very Likely








4 or more




Very Likely

  1. WorldConnect is taking the best of both worlds XML bus and vendor's gateway.
  2. ABT is capable to connect to any legacy system by using screen-scraping technique while keeping XML interface to it, so screen scraping can be handled over an XML bus.
  3. Many vendors provide point-to-point interfaces. See Appendix A for SAP listing.


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