Do I really need AIA?

One of the frequently asked questions from those new to AIA or other canonical object based methodologies, is whether AIA is really needed in their specific SOA project.

In short, it depends.

Now, the longer version. AIA provides a robust platform and framework for business process driven, SOA based enterprise application integrations. If your business process already has a pre-built Process Integration Pack (PIP) available from Oracle for your specific enterprise applications, then it is a no-brainer to use the PIP.

For example, if you are implementing the Order to Cash process with Oracle Siebel CRM as the front-end system and Oracle E-Business Suite as the ERP system, then the Siebel CRM Integration Pack for Oracle Order Management: Order to Cash PIP should definitely be on your shopping list.  Even if the exact applications (or versions) are not a perfect fit i.e. say, you want the CRM integration to PeopleSoft or a legacy application, then you can start with the PIP and replace the Application Business Connector Services (ABCS) from the Oracle E-Business Suite to the other application. Compared to a 100% custom development solution, this provides you with all the benefits of a flexible integration framework and will be faster to implement since one end of the PIP has already been developed.

So the question “Do I really need AIA” only has relevance for business process driven SOA integrations for which there are no pre-packaged PIPs i.e. comparing use of AIA Foundation Pack (FP) vs a custom point-to-point development using Fusion Middleware. Now, the Foundation Pack is built on top of Fusion Middleware, so it must be providing value-add on top of it. I like analogies, so let’s take the following example.

Which is the faster, better way to build a plane?


AIA - Building Raw vs with Components

Building Raw vs with Components

I think everyone would agree that having pre-built components, engineered and tested to the specifications of what a plane needs, is a much faster and better way, than to do-it-yourself with basic raw materials, even if you have access to the same tools in both cases. The AIA Foundation Pack provides these pre-built components, that are engineered to the demands of EAI based SOA integrations. It provides the pre-built components such as the Enterprise Business Objects (EBO), the AIA reference architecture and programming model, governance tools (e.g. service repository, integration scenarios) and framework utilities (e.g. error handling, message level testing).

So in the case of an EAI-based SOA integration, the answer is absolutely Yes, you do need AIA!

Now, I know many would argue, “but I am not really building a plane, I just want a one-time, quick, cheap solution, which may never need any enhancements”.  In this case, going the route of direct point to point integration using SOA may suffice, but not without risks.  Once you end up building a passenger train (the cheap, quick solution instead of a plane), which runs on a direct point to point track between SFO and LAX, it becomes next to impossible to later turn it into a plane flying random segments (e.g. NY) with a higher capacity and faster performance. In almost all cases, you would have to re-implement the project to start building a plane.

So the key is to be clear on the business needs and then plan for the right enterprise architecture to implement it. If the business needs a plane, go for AIA. Evaluate the use of native SOA technologies with point to point interfaces, only when it is absolutely clear – at all levels of management – that you are building a train.

4 thoughts on “Do I really need AIA?

  1. Oracle Application Integration Architecture (AIA) and its pre-built, open and complete architecture for orchestrating agile, user-centric business processes across enterprise applications is ideal to build custom SOA solutions or integrate standard solutions like Siebel into SAP.

  2. AIA’s pre-built orchestrations or integration processes are required that layer across existing applications. These need to be made up of common processes, objects, and services. Oracle has also defined a number of enterprise business objects based on the business documents from Open Application Group. In addition, processes can also include services that have not been developed by Oracle and are application independent.

  3. Can you explain about PIPS.I need to know the the implementation process of oracle provided pips and how to customize them?

    • PIPs are pre-packaged integrations that Oracle provides built using the Foundation Pack between various Oracle (and non-Oracle in some cases) assets, to satisfy a business process. For example, Order-to-Cash PIP between Siebel CRM and E-Business Suite Order Management.
      The documentation provided with the specific PIPs provide implementation guidance and details pertaining to the PIP. as of Release Vehicle 2.3 we have around 19 PIPs, so providing a generic implementation process is out of scope here.
      With regards to extending PIPs, that is in general an architectural feature itself that you can read in the AIA Integration Developers Guide.

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