Data Sharing in the Enterprise
Mathew Oommen, Graduate Student, Information Technology and Management
Valerie Scarlata, Instructor and Program and Media Coordinator, Information Technology and Management Degree Programs
The IT infrastructure of today's enterprise is often comprised of a myriad of systems employed to address several business processes and information managment. While these applications and systems are often robust, they do not often talk to each other. Companies end up with redundant data, or data that needs to be updated across several systems when one changes. In worst-case scenarios, employees date-entry information from one system to another. The Tooling and Manufacturing Association, located in Park Ridge Illinois, was faced with these issues after employing a CRM system, event management system, and accounting system. These systems are modern, web-based, enterprise level systems, and the IT Director soon found data that needed to flow between these systems in order to maintain real-time information accuracy.
ITM Faculty Valerie Scarlata and Graduate ITM Student Mathew Oommen had experience dealing with Web Services and API's, the most widely-used methods for exchanging data between applications. Mathew had gained some experience with these technologies in his coursework in the ITM program, and was eager to work on an enterprise project in this area. When approached by the Tooling and Manufacturing Association for help in developing a solution, Valerie and Mathew took the job.
Acting as business systems analysts as well as developers, Valerie and Mathew drew documentation from all 3 systems, and designed an application architecture and data flow to meet all of TMA's business process requirements. They built an application to meet these requirements, as well as delivering a code library for future system integration, in case more systems are added to the company's infrastructure in the future.
As a result, ITM Grad student Mathew has an insight into the needs of companies who are using multiple applications to achieve different goals, and a resume piece to help him land an advanced development job. A direct example of how the ITM department's unique partnership with industry is a win-win scenario for students and organizations.