One of the most elaborate integration modules is from Page's synaro catalog management system (www.synaro.com). The synaro Integrator uses Java and XML to support both tightly and loosely coupled integration platforms.
These integration-support modules can tie a variety of systems together—linking order management with a best-way shipping calculator or a sales tax module, for example, even if those services are Web-based and externally managed. But they also can be used for more straightforward challenges such as linking a Web site, an order management system and a WMS.
Either way, be sure to scope out the time and expense of setting it all up properly. The results may well be worth it. Carefully planned integration can streamline business operations, improve customer satisfaction, and accelerate systems ROI. Isn't that what systems are supposed to be all about?
Ernie Schell is author of "The Guide to Catalog Management Software" and president of Marketing Systems Analysis Inc. He can be reached at email@example.com or (215) 396-0660.