Enable a New Generation of Business by Using Flow Architecture
As part of Solutions Premium’s premium content series, a collection of contributing columns written by industry experts in maturing software categories,Jesse Menning, architect of the CTO for Solace’s Office, explains how “flow architecture” is helping forward-looking organizations accelerate the movement of critical data for the enterprise through its partner ecosystem.
Organizations in all sectors have suffered unprecedented disruptions in the last two years. To meet these challenges, companies have had to change their way of thinking about the flow of critical data through the complex ecosystem of suppliers, shippers, distribution partners, and retailers that makes their business work. Given the complex interdependencies of modern businesses and the partner ecosystems around them, businesses need a way to share information in real time across business boundaries.
The recent pandemic highlighted how maintaining competitiveness sometimes requires a rapid and radical change in the components of the ecosystem. To achieve this, companies have had to discover, send, and receive real-time data from new, more resilient, ingenious, or more innovative partners. In many ways, it is comparable to how the “concert economy” is transforming the way we live, travel, and work.
People shy away from long-term commitments like owning a car and having a full-time job in favor of Uber everywhere and selling their skills and time as Uber drivers or through standalone sites like Fiverr and Upwork. Companies will benefit from the ever-evolving current business landscape by developing a range of functions and services that invoke or provide a changing set of trusted partners. The business value of working like this is easy to imagine, but from a software architecture and integration perspective, realizing this vision at the business level is more complicated than it sounds.
Enter event-driven thinking and “flow”
One of the most authoritative ideas for solving this challenge comes from software development expert James Urquhart. The MIT Technology Review and the Huffington Post have rated Urquhart as one of the top ten most influential people in cloud computing. Urquhart explain: “Software development today includes real-time events and data, which optimizes not only how technology interacts, but also how companies integrate with each other [emphasis added] to meet customer needs. This phenomenon, called flowit consists of patterns and standards that determine what activity and related data are communicated between the parties over the Internet. “
Flow is defined as an event-driven integration between organizations that uses standard ways to:
- Discovering relevant information in real time
- Understand the format and context of events
- Establishing secure and reliable connectivity
The parallel with the World Wide Web is clear: in the same way that developers can discover and connect to the Google Maps API to add driving directions to their application, in a future stream, architects Businesses and application developers can take advantage of the event streams that partners offer because they can incorporate real-time information and interactive services into their business processes, decision making, and customer interactions.
While the underlying technologies continue to mature, the hope is that standards will enable “World Wide Flow” as a new way to optimize the integration of a company’s ecosystem. As the flow solidifies around shared and vendor-independent standards, the cost, time, and effort of real-time integration will drop dramatically. This should allow real-time data flows to help companies maximize innovation, creativity, customer service, and profitability. Access to real-time events without custom software development and extensive manual intervention will become commonplace and expected.
Paving the way for the World Wide Flow
As the foundation of World Wide Flow joins, how can companies get ahead of the curve and begin to realize some of its benefits? You can get a good taste of World Wide Flow by leveraging key technologies committed to supporting open standards. Examples include:
- The transmission of enterprise-level events is one event mesh formed by an interconnected network of event agents that distributes events quickly, dynamically and securely from the inside of the company to the outside. Without a unified way to communicate real-time events, event runners would have to support multiple non-proprietary standards, providing full connectivity options.
- A set of event management tools, such as one event portal supports the design, development and efficient governance of real-time events for internal and external consumers.
- An event gateway which automates the discovery and provision of real-time information to authorized external parties.
Improve aviation security with a Flow Frontrunner
United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has adopted many flow architecture structures to modernize air traffic control; call it “pre-flow.” The FAA uses an event-based system called SWIM (system-wide information management) to disseminate real-time information to U.S. systems.
Countless components and partners, such as airlines, airports, other aviation administrations, and more, can take advantage of this stream of events to get real-time SWIM data as conditions change and events occur without requesting updates. Whether it’s the availability of doors at an airport, the position of planes, or the climate of a region, external partners always have the latest information without having to ask for it. Although hampered by a lack of standards for supply and discovery, the FAA shows the power of flow architecture, even to a limited extent.
I’ve also worked with a manufacturer that uses the “flow” of event-based architecture to obtain information such as inventory and shipping updates, along with transaction data such as bulk orders and retail sales, which flow in time. real among its massive network of operating companies, manufacturers, logistics partners, wholesalers and retailers around the world. This will help them to change their inventory and their efforts to meet the changing demand.
Following the flow of event-driven business operations
Organizations in all sectors can leverage existing partner ecosystems with the beginnings of flow architecture and position themselves for more complete implementations later. Over the next decade, as business operations, global supply chains, and critical data become increasingly decentralized, an event-based, flow-based integration approach will be vital to ensure that events flow continuously between companies.