Enterprise Application Integration
The path to e-government can range from straight forward (electronic form creation and storage) to immensely complex (new applications relying on old/legacy applications, systems, and the mainframe). When problems require these more complex solutions, a software suite known as Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) is often needed.
When used in this context, EAI is about linking new, automated systems with older, legacy systems, because the legacy systems can no longer fulfill users' needs. EAI is aimed at leveraging our legacy assets while insulating ourselves from ongoing changes in technology.
Before the availability of EAI tools, governments and businesses had difficulty getting their computer applications on a particular computing platform to access data that was not on the same computer — without a lot of expensive technical spaghetti. This created silos of data within businesses and agencies, and also data silos within computing platforms. The availability of an EAI tool provides a mechanism to bridge the silos.
The state's EAI tool acts as a bridge between any computer application and various agency data sources. South Dakota state government has Adabas data files on an IBM Mainframe, Microsoft SQL databases on HP servers, IBM DB2 files on an IBM AS400 minicomputer, etc. The source of data may even be an e-mail message or a file coming from a source outside state government. The EAI suite allows any data (no matter which vendor's format), stored on any vendor's computer, to be accessed by any application regardless of which vendor's tool was used to program the application. Should the data format change, the applications need not change. EAI bridges the silos of data created by state government agencies in the most cost effective manner possible.
In summary, the business case for utilizing EAI in e-government is strong. While payback is not immediate, the long-term benefit to the state and its citizens over a multi-year period is significant, and will get better in future years. In a world of continuously rising IT costs, solutions such as EAI are a rare and valuable thing.
Examples of how state agencies are using EAI:
- The Department of Social Services provides a website to apply for Child Care Assistance. The internet application transparently interacts with a mainframe data source.
- The Departments of Social Services, Human Services and Health used EAI to reach HIPPA compliance for transaction sets.
- The Department of Labor provides state employers the ability to register on a web site. The web application access and updates a data source on the mainframe.
- The Department of Revenue and Regulation provides a web site to register a new business and uses EAI to interact with other states regardless of what platforms or computer languages they use.
- The Department of Public Safety is accessing Department of Health information to verify the ages of first time drivers applying for a Driver's License. This accesses data sources from two platforms and agencies.
- The Department of Revenue and Regulation will use the EAI toolset to become compliant with many aspects of the national Streamlined Sales tax initiative.
- Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches
- Constitutional and Elected Offices
- Trading Partners Providing Medical Services for State Residents
What We Provide
- Document and program integration projects for state agencies.
- Design the architecture of integration projects to utilize system and network infrastructure resources efficiently and effectively.
- Conduct training classes for developers of EAI software.
- Coordinate EAI activities in conjunction with state infrastructure maintenance.
- Provide exception handling alerts.
- Maintain EAI server infrastructure:
- Connective Adapters
- Test new versions of software and lead migration efforts.
- Test software using new versions of software on connecting platforms (mainframe and PC software).
- Assist with developing Service Level Agreements between agencies.
- Coordinate performance tuning and testing of integration projects and servers across BIT.
- Report unusual performance.
- Follow BIT standards.
- Share data with other state agencies when appropriate.
- Provide concise and complete requirements during the initial project planning phase.
Major Investment Costs
- Software AG webMethods Product Suite.
- Software AG ADABAS SQL Gateway.
- Software AG webMethods HIPAA Link Module.
- EDIFECS HIPAA validation software.
- IBM DB2 Information Integrator Classic Federation software.
- Hardware to host the servers.
- Institutional and program knowledge.
- Share data so it does not have to be gathered multiple times.
- Share data to minimize data storage needs for multiple platforms.
- Increased business reaction time of integration projects reduces resource and staff time performing the same tasks manually.
- There is no additional fee for using Enterprise Application Integration solutions.