Who should read this?
Business owners, directors and managers who need WMS integration (warehouse management system) into their existing business systems.
What are web services?
Web services is a term that describes a standardised way of integrating web-based applications using the *XML, SOAP, WSDL and UDDI open standards.
Expanding these acronyms is not necessary - they are just programming language for WMS integration and other types or software integration.
For non-techies what these standards are made to do is enable the transmission, validation, definition and interpretation of data between different applications.
How do they work?
Traditional WMS integration for a client/server model rely on creating a graphical interface for the user. This means a custom interface has to be created for integration with a new application.
Web services create a platform through which applications can talk to one another easily, without a custom interface, saving time and money.
The applications are able to share business processes, data and business intelligence, through the simple WMS integration that is in real time using web services rather than being updated every 10 minutes for example.
Once this has been done, warehouse management system providers can add the web services to their existing application user interface to give warehouse managers the integration functionality that they require.
Why do web services make WMS integration easy?
Traditional on-premise WMS integration is time consuming as no two applications communicate in the same way.
Even standard systems like Sage and Microsoft Dynamics often have customisation for each installation, so each WMS integration using the traditional methods is a custom job, taking an average of 10 to 20 days for a mid size project.
What this means is that a lot of expensive custom coding is required for WMS integration versus only hours for web services integrations.
Web services mean that warehouse management systems can set up standardised application programming interfaces (API) and do the integration in the background with web services. This reduces the amount of custom coding required to do integration.
Benefits of WMS integration with web services:
1. Companies can get new warehouse management systems up and running faster and WMS integration time is reduced.
2. WMS integration costs are significantly reduced.
3. The cost of switching warehouse management system supplier is reduced.
4. The cost of integrating into your upgraded core host system is reduced.
In conclusion, web services are stable having been around a good few years and should be the method used for WMS integration or indeed any integration of software systems.