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Integration Pitfalls

Many businesses already have information systems for business management: order processing, manufacturing, accounting, fulfillment, and so forth. It often makes sense for a new Internet commerce system to integrate with the existing information systems wherever possible, rather than running the Internet part of the business completely separately. Integration must be done very carefully, with special attention to the following issues.

  • Real-time requirements

    Existing systems may not have the proper real-time requirements for direct connection to an Internet commerce system intended for interactive use. To some extent, these problems can be handled by buffering, queuing, and caching between the Internet system and the existing system.

  • Security requirements

    Existing systems may not be designed with appropriate security mechanisms for Internet commerce. For example, most existing systems are designed for use by specifically trained personnel, who work for the system operator. Internet commerce systems frequently need to be directly accessed and operated by untrained end users, who do not work for the system operator.

  • Support for required roles

    Existing systems may not be designed with the roles needed by the Internet system. For example, an existing order entry system for a mail- or telephone-order seller would normally be designed for use by an order entry operator, not for use directly by the customer.

  • Trust protections

    Existing systems may not be designed to connect directly with systems operated by different organizations. In these cases, special care must be taken to validate all input from “outside.”


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