AST Corporation: Achieving Business Transformation

Shyam Kumar, Vice President Since the days of SOA’s infancy, when industry analysts were skeptical about its impact on business operations, Shyam Kumar, Vice President of Middleware, AST Corporation was optimistic that it would one day be pivotal in streamlining business process integration. His passion for SOA is reflected in the substantial growth AST has achieved since 2010. As an industry thought-leader and SOA evangelist, he is a regular speaker at various national and international conferences, enlightening audiences on how SOA can transform organizations.

“Service-Oriented Architecture has evolved to pervasive acceptance as an IT platform for delivering business value across every industry,” begins Kumar. Significant momentum in SOA adoption is driven by the need to integrate and automate cross-departmental processes and cloud applications and by the need to enable mobile access to existing applications. Real-time data analytics and master data management are also contributing to significant growth in the SOA space. According to industry research, from $6 billion in 2014, the SOA market is expected to reach $16.4 billion by 2020.

Capitalizing on this tremendous opportunity for system integrators, AST has leveraged their deep domain expertise in public sector, utilities, transportation, and healthcare to build Industry SOA solution accelerators for Cloud Applications integration, Enterprise Content Management integration, Work and Asset Management (WAM) integration for Utilities, Transit System integration and Airport Integrated Data-Broker (AIDB). Built using the Oracle SOA Suite technology platform, these accelerators offer an industry standard out-of-the-box SOA solution for system integration and business process automation, which significantly reduces time-to-deployment and provides best return-on-investment (ROI).

“The latest trend of connecting the Internet of Things (IoT) to an existing infrastructure and device is an extremely compelling opportunity for SOA adoption” he says. Today, SOA is leveraged by innovative companies as a differentiator for their value-proposition. As an Oracle Platinum Partner with a dedicated SOA practice and a focused Center-of-Excellence for SOA, AST is at the forefront of delivering SOA implementations.

Building Service-Oriented Airports

The company’s Airport Integrated Data-Broker (AIDB) solution enables airports to simplify cross-application and business process integrations using a standards-based, pre-built integration solution. “AIDB is designed to promote rapid deployment, re-usability, and configurability of business processes,” says Kumar. This Java-based integration solution using industry-leading Oracle Middleware Technology— Oracle SOA Suite—provides a highly robust infrastructure and on-demand scalability. “Within AIDB, a set of pre-built integration adapters integrates major airport systems such as flight, passenger, baggage, and terminal components and provides an operational dashboard to monitor and
manage the processes, giving a 360 degree view of airport system integrations,” adds Kumar. This saves significant time, effort, and cost, compared to building integrations from the ground up, and helps airports realize the value of SOA at an accelerated pace—as evident in the case of The Orlando Airport (GOAA), FL.

When Orlando Airport faced difficulties as a result of integrating multiple airport information systems across various departments and sub-departments, they turned to AST. To address the clutter of interfaces which created major challenges for GOAA during any new software upgrade or implementation, AST brought in an enterprise SOA platform—to enable efficient integration to all airport systems and, in the long-term, help build a service-oriented airport. This is no surprise as, “AST is one of Oracle’s go-to partners for middleware technologies and SOA integration services for the Transportation industry vertical,” states Ralph Menzano, Executive Director - Global Transportation Industry Solutions, Oracle Corporation. Today, the AIDB implementation is helping GOAA cut costs and track and share information among departments in a more productive manner. The implemented interface handles more than a hundred-thousand transactions per day for more than eight-hundred flight arrivals and departures and is scalable to support extreme availability.

Pushing SOA to the Cloud

The growth in Software as a Service (SaaS) adoption is driving the need for cloud-based integration solutions and is expected to match the SaaS criteria of simplified development, reduced time-to-deployment, freedom from maintenance and on-demand scalability. With over 20 years of experience in system integration and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementations, AST understands which integration options are best suited for a particular customer and delivers the most appropriate SOA Suite integration solution. With the recent release of Oracle Cloud Applications, which include limited integration options, AST has led the industry by providing out-of-the-box SOA-based integration solutions for Oracle Cloud Applications. This includes integration options for all major accounting modules as well as a dashboard for real-time monitoring built using SOA Business Activity Monitoring.

AST has built vertical solutions for Oracle Work and Asset Management (WAM) integration with Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) on the SOA Platform and helped several Utility customers succeed with EBS-WAM integration for inventory, requisitions, purchase orders, receipts, and invoices, including a dashboard to monitor the status of the integration tools. AST’s ECM-for-EBS solution reduces reliance on paper and provides a seamless synchronization of attachment data between Oracle Enterprise Content Management (WebCenter) and E-Business Suite (EBS), enabling users to be as efficient as possible. The ECM-for-EBS solution reduces costs and improves efficiency quickly by leveraging the inherent capabilities of each system and making them work together to remove the inefficient, labor-intensive processes that arise from using separate repositories of information.
AST’s Secret Sauce

With a success rate of 100 percent—no failed or terminated project ever—in its 20-years of history, AST has been the recipient of numerous recognitions including the Oracle Titan Award for Integration& SOA Solutions and the Oracle Excellence Award for Public Sector implementations. “These stand as testaments to our innovative SOA solutions,” remarks Kumar. As a member of the Oracle Partner Advisory
Council, AST is part of many beta-programs with Oracle and is also an early adopter of the latest release of Oracle products. This makes the company’s expertise much sought-after across industry verticals. AST is a valued partner for many large enterprises such as IDEXX Laboratories, Underwriters Laboratories, College of American Pathologists, MetraRail Chicago, Orlando Airport and Los Angeles County Metro.

AST has led the industry by providing out-of-the-box SOA-based integration solutions for Oracle Cloud Applications

AST’s success is rooted in its business strategy and implementation methodology. AST engages with its large client base in various capacities to understand their future business needs, organizing industry-specific roundtable conferences and participating in many user conferences to better understand its customers. Anchored in PMI standards and tailored for Oracle implementations, AST’s Enterprise Domain Model (EDM) Methodology for SOA implementations is an important part of ensuring a project’s success. “EDM provides a comprehensive process, with standard methods, controls, oversight, and guidelines to make certain that all of our clients’ projects and programs are conducted in a disciplined, proven, well-managed, and consistent manner,” states Kumar. AST leverages this thorough approach to achieve a project’s goals by embracing, controlling, coordinating, and driving each successful component of an engagement.“We believe competition makes us better,” he says. At the end of the day, AST’s domain skill, delivery methodology, and innovative solutions ensure that they win over customers regardless of competition from other companies.

The Road Ahead

Kumar today notices two major trends in the SOA space—one is industry-specific SOA implementations such as SOA for healthcare, SOA for utilities, and SOA for financial services. This provides opportunities for AST to leverage their domain expertise to build SOA solutions for additional industry verticals. The second trend is about blending SOA with the latest technologies such as mobile, cloud, and IoT. As these technologies are creating ripples in every line of business, AST is building new sets of technology and business accelerators to rapidly integrate the growing list of cloud applications, as well as leveraging SOA to integrate IoT devices and provide real-time integration capabilities.

Looking to the future, Kumar sees a pattern of outstanding growth for AST in SOA. “We are in the process of closing a few large SOA deals,” he reveals. Down the road, the company will be releasing at least two new industry solutions and pre-built technologies around SOA governance and data security. They will continue to align their offerings with Oracle’s product offerings and further extend their technology solutions for Oracle SaaS offerings.

Service-Oriented Architecture has evolved to pervasive acceptance as an IT platform for delivering business value across every industry

AST Corporation

Naperville, IL

Shyam Kumar, Vice President

A specialized Oracle E-Business Suite systems integrator that helps customers realize the full potential of their investment in Oracle Applications.