December 1998 | Commentary | Supply Chain Technology

Turning Traditional Software Upside Down

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The supply chain's fast lane is getting faster. Camelot IS-2, Cambridge, Mass., ( offers a product called skyva that is aimed at optimizing the supply chain process."

skyva enables the integration of best-of-breed applications and provides flexible, scalable, and dynamic enterprise software solutions," says Dr. Guenther Moeckesch, Camelot chairman and CEO.

skyva is generated directly from the business model, and fills in the functional gaps in an installed system. First a model is constructed. The user then defines and applies business rules. The user informs skyva of his company's software functionality in the APS, Manufacturing Enterprise System (MES), and ERP system. The functionality gaps are then identified and mapped by cross-referencing the business process model against the legacy system. Once the gaps are identified, the user fills in the gaps through the use of solution templates that Camelot has built in a skyva library. "What Camelot proposes to do with skyva is turn the world of traditional software upside down," says Advanced Manufacturing Research (AMR) in its review of skyva. The company argues that vendors typically offer software systems that force businesses to fit their workflow and processes into the software package. Instead, Camelot asserts, why not create a world where the business process is the application?

The approach Camelot has taken has a specific technological base. It is open object-oriented technology. "Camelot uses standard building blocks (templates) that we put together to meet our customers' specific business processes," Moeckesch says. "Customers can then dynamically change the solution when they need it.

"Camelot uses Java, which allows platform independence and zero downtime. The company also uses a four-tier client-server network to support a distributed software environment. In addition, a flexible multi-tier application architecture is able to combine reusable software building blocks that have increasing granularity for a company's specific solution.Among the benefits of this approach and technology are:

  • Standard software, with customer specific solutions.
  • User control of the company's specific business rules and the decisions based upon those rules.
  • An economy of means through the direct use of the user's own business model.

These benefits add a minimal upgrade and implementation cost; protection of the company's legacy system; simplified maintenance; higher user acceptance; and platform independence.

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