Dunavant Global Logistics came to Aptera for help integrating information flowing between several disparate components of their worldwide route managing network. With headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee, Dunavant’s logistics and supply chain management services reach all over the globe, making it one of the largest exporters in the country. Coordinating the copious information exchanged among all the distant outposts of Dunavant’s own organization, along with those under the aegis of external partners like shipping and freight companies, represents a major challenge because the data gets recorded on assorted forms with a wide array of formats.
Having worked with Microsoft BizTalk in the past, Clifford Tillman, Dunavant’s Vice President of Business Analysis and Technology, knew it was the only platform robust enough to handle the quantity and variety of information the company deals with. Specifically, Tillman was looking for a way to bring together information from purchase orders coming in on email forms, with that from tracking forms for ocean freight called EDI 315s, and with that from Dunavant’s own system for tracking domestic trucking shipments. After trying to integrate the data from these three sources with another software tool and seeing that it simply wasn’t up to the task, Tillman decided to come to Aptera for help setting up a solution with BizTalk.
The Aptera team began with a three-day discovery process designed to help familiarize themselves with Dunavant’s business process and to help Dunavant develop an overall vision for the project. It was during these initial meetings that Tillman was introduced to Richard Spice, one of Aptera’s BizTalk experts. The two quickly formed a close working relationship as Spice got to work setting up a system that would automatically map the schemas of one form onto those of others. Spice and the rest of the Aptera team used a tool called the Deployment Framework for BizTalk, which would not only help them with the integrations for the current project but would also lay a foundation for future updates and additions to the network.
What is BizTalk?
BizTalk Server is tool for heavy-duty and long-term application integrations, which would provide Aptera and Dunavant with precisely what they needed to make the purchase orders, the ocean shipping status forms, and the information in different line-of-business systems easily consumable by people at all the various outposts of the logistics and supply chain network. Referred to as an Enterprise Service Bus by Microsoft, BizTalk is ideal for any business that depends on high levels of coordination with external partners or with disparate elements of its own broader organization.
BizTalk is also ideal for businesses in industries like healthcare that must adhere to complex and frequently revised government regulations. The platform incorporates schemas from over 8,000 industry standard forms like EDIs (which stands for Electronic Data Interchange). Imagine working for a medical services business and having to fill out and upload government forms for a patient, only to have to fill out slight variations on those same forms after some type of reform is passed, and you’ll understand how much time BizTalk can save.
The people at Dunavant are so pleased with how their new BizTalk server works that they’ve already contracted with Aptera for another project beginning in October, and they’re in talks with our team about yet another project to break ground before the end of the year. One of the main advantages of working with BizTalk is that it can be scaled up to incorporate new processes and meet new business challenges as they arise over time. So the existing platform can serve as a foundation for any number of future application integrations, cutting down on both the cost and timescale for implementing augmentations. Tillman was especially impressed with Aptera’s one-on-one collaborative approach to the project, which made it possible for the team to lay out a plan for customizing the solution to meet Dunavant’s needs down to the minutest details and to respond to input as the vision for the finished product developed over the course of the engagement. Both Tillman and Spice are looking forward to working together in the near future.
Will BizTalk Work for Your Business?
If you’re tired of updating information on government forms, or trying to find an easy way to transfer information from one application to another, or from one business to another, contact our BizTalk experts to see if the service can help.