The University of Melbourne is moving to replace its "spaghetti-like architecture" by tying together its many applications and data exchanges on a single platform using Tibco's integration software BusinessWorks.
Universities are decentralised in their IT services provision according to Jason Nell, manager of systems development and integration at the University of Melbourne, developing a wide range of applications and systems using multiple vendors and in-house development, which makes enterprise system integration difficult.
Tibco will help the university in its integration by replacing point-to-point connections between applications with an enterprise service bus approach, standardising the university's interfaces and allowing monitoring of services' availability.
Previously when systems failed at their tasks, there was often a delay until the problem was discovered. "There are Cron jobs running. They could fail and you'd never know," Nell told ZDNet.com.au. Once the university's applications are integrated and monitored, instead of taking care of failures in a few days, they can be fixed in a few hours, he said.
Message transport will be easier under the system, Nell said. "End systems don't need to worry about where data is going. They only need to put it into standard format and anyone can consume it," he continued.
The system will aid the university in its heavy reliance on data moving between student portals, Nell said, such as details on exams and students enrolling in courses. The hope is to move the system from batch-driven activities completed nightly or weekly to processing data in near real-time.
At some point in the future, he also hopes the university will automate more of its processes using the Tibco interfaces: "We hope to move to an environment where we can have process automation in conjunction with integration without manual handling or paper."
The price of the upgrade will be in the vicinity of AU$300,000, Nell said, with some additional costs for services.
The other vendors the university was considering were Oracle and IBM. Nell said the university chose Tibco due to the maturity of its BusinessWorks platform, and the support it will receive during the integration efforts.