Integration Solution Enables Wireless Services Provider to Improve Process Efficiency and Boost Transaction Volume
Project At a Glance
RDA helped our client rearchitect their system integration with cell phone and wireless carriers to make it more maintainable and consistent. The resulting solution leverages Microsoft BizTalk Server to help our client process customer transactions more efficiently and positions the company to more easily implement future changes necessary for growth.
About Our Client
RDA’s client is one of the largest online providers of wireless services and devices (cell phones, ebooks, etc.) in the U.S.. Our client’s network includes private label sites for some of the nation’s largest retailers as well as their own branded sites.
Every cell phone and associated service carrier has a different process for activation. Our client was interested in automating and standardizing the business processes around wireless activation and in hiding the complexity of communication with the different carriers from their websites. The company selected Microsoft BizTalk Server as the tool to manage and monitor the processes, and leverages the business rules engine to account for the variances between the different carriers.
RDA worked with our client to rearchitect the system integration with its carriers using Microsoft BizTalk Server to make it more maintainable and consistent across all carriers.
Many of the original implementations were based on transaction sources that were very challenging to integrate. For example, a lot of .NET code was programmatically “screen scraping” web pages to assess order status and changes. Changes and updates to these interfaces were very costly and time-consuming.
With BizTalk, the processes become much easier to monitor and to maintain. In addition, our client is able to scale to accommodate higher volumes of transactions as necessary.
The new architecture allows our client to more quickly respond to changes in the way they do business with their customers and with their wireless carriers as it is much easier to implement changes. Having a more robust architecture will save our client money by reducing or eliminating communication outages.
Also, standardization of the interfaces across wireless carriers allows our client’s business users to more efficiently process customer transactions. This translates to increased revenue by allowing them to process more customer sales with less effort.
RDA utilized Microsoft BizTalk Server as a primary component of this solution. Some of the technologies leveraged in addition to BizTalk include:
Microsoft Enterprise Single Sign-On (SSO)
- Configuration stores were created using a custom .NET framework that also cached the data to minimize SQL Server traffic.
- The SSO Configuration stores are centrally stored. It is more convenient than using Registry based approaches, which require every server to be configured.
Microsoft Business Rules Engine (BRE)
The BRE was leveraged in a couple of ways:
- Storing the more fluid configurations. Changing a BRE policy does not require re-starting the BizTalk service. The BRE is extremely accessible from BizTalk orchestrations and from .NET programming.
- Business data translation. In this case, the BRE was used to translate and normalize wireless carrier results and requests.
- Business data validation. At the start of a service instance, the business request was validated in order to provide a meaningful response should the request not comply with the business rules.
Microsoft Message Queuing (MSMQ)
- MSMQ was leveraged for tracking the business process from BizTalk orchestrations.
- A fire and forget pattern was used so that the business process would not be impeded. Server overhead was dramatically reduced and transaction throughput increased.