Accenture Freight & Logistics Software. Technical Overview

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1 Accenture Freight & Logistics Software Technical Overview

2 Integrated software While freight and logistics organizations have felt the impact of the recent upswing in the economy, they continue to face significant challenges. The pressure is on to tailor offerings flexibly to the needs of customers, deliver the best possible service and compete more efficiently for business, while at the same time making sure that margins are protected. Two elements are vital to meet these exacting demands: Agility and precision. Accenture believes freight and logistics organizations need a new breed of software to manage their businesses solutions that offer clear visibility of resources and contractual obligations, that help enhance operations, and provide the flexibility to adopt new business models in sync with the evolution of the market all delivered with speed and stability to effectively compete in the marketplace. enables unique end-to-end solutions for the freight and logistics industry. Integrated and flexible, spanning business activities from quote to invoice, covering booking, routing, and documentation, takes into account corporate rules on rates, margins and operational restrictions. Our software enables greater transparency of transportation and handling costs for improved pricing strategies, also providing better management of capacity and allocations to enable well-founded and rapid decision making whilst minimizing risk. Using a Service-oriented Architecture, offers the necessary agility to adopt new business models, and facilitates software evolution and integration with existing IT systems. The software s data model, rules engine, event management system, and scripting language have been designed to model the freight and logistics industry s business processes and entities such as shipment bookings, transport schedules, routes, restrictions, milestones in shipment execution, and so on. What is more, the system has no need for customization to speak the language of the freight and logistics industry and to support its specific processes. Accenture Freight and Logistics Software is open and extensible to support customization for individual freight companies. The solution is highly configurable and can support varying business models, expressed in any number of business rules. These rules are not hard-coded within the solution but can be described and changed without altering the software. Most business rules are configurable by end users and managed through the user interface. Flexible configuration capabilities and descriptive techniques for processes and rules often come at the expense of performance. Yet with Accenture Freight and Logistics Software, scalability and performance are at the core of the design. Sophisticated techniques in caching and multithreading, and a whole range of tuning tools help achieve optimal performance in varied application environments. can be deployed on any J2EE compliant application server and is certified on WebSphere and Weblogic application servers. While this thorough and wellintegrated solution works to confirm a precise and complete view of resources and commitments, customer relations and business processes, it has a modular structure enabling organizations to choose either one or several modules to suit the needs of their existing IT system. The following modules provide the functional building blocks: 2

3 Freight rates management (A, O) Our freight rates management software provides a framework for decentralized and centralized pricing decisions. It enhances control and minimizes revenue leakage through centralized accountability, traceability and consistent application of rates throughout the shipment life cycle. Dynamic route generation (A, O) Our dynamic route generation software provides real-time, dynamic cargo routing optimization while simultaneously accounting for complex constraints imposed by carrier business rules and government regulations. Freight documentation and execution (A, O) Our freight documentation and execution software creates real-time control of freight acceptance and proactive alerts throughout the freight life cycle to minimize operational disruptions. Cargo origin and destination revenue management execution (A, O) We collaborate with a leading revenue management provider to offer cargo origin and destination revenue management execution software that helps air cargo companies enhance revenue as a critical process to capture value. Booking and cargo execution (O) Our booking and cargo execution software offers sophisticated booking and inventory management capabilities across organizations, taking into account data from key transactional, operational, finance, business intelligence and other management systems. Analytics and reporting (O) Accenture Freight and Logistics Software provides sophisticated and powerful analytics and reporting capabilities. Using a framework to maintain corporate information based on industry-specific data models, it enables users to manage coherently from geographically dispersed locations. Freight reservations management (A) Our freight reservations management software elevates core booking and inventory management capabilities to a new level of sophistication with a proven industry solution that helps companies collaborate in the multi-polar business world and accelerate post-merger integration of key management systems. A Air O Ocean Figure 1: Component architecture Booking UI Pricing UI Operations UI External system adapter Schedule services Schedule manager Departure manager Inventory manager Booking services Capacity manager Booking manager Allocation services Booking engine Allocation manager Routing manager Path manager Rules manager Cost manager Rates manager Customer manager Shipment manager Unit load device manager Queue manager User interface manager Cargo+ Cargo foundation classes Work queue utilities Java messaging system utilities J2EE User interface (UI) utilities Framework utilities 3

4 Scalable solutions The global architecture of consists of three tiers: Application, user interface and data. This structure, standard in modern Web applications, separates different logical layers, and makes the application more manageable, maintainable and easier to integrate with other software. The three tiers also make the application easily scalable by allowing it to be executed on a number of servers. Application tier The application tier provides the business functionality of the software. A Serviceoriented-Architecture offers the flexibility and ease of integration demanded of any modern software solution. Business functionality is encapsulated in coarseor fine-grained business services that are implemented as Enterprise Java Beans (EJB). The coarse-grained business services are exposed to external users as Web services. These Web services will typically tie into an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) for orchestration of business processes that go beyond the Accenture software and integrate to other components of a freight company s information system. Our solution includes its own scripting language for fine-grained orchestration of services which allows easy and rapid adaptation to customer specific processes. Gateway classes can complement ESBs (or take on ESB functions when a company does not use an ESB) by providing input channels, transforming protocols and XML formats. Scalability and performance The possibility of multiplying application servers through clustering and Web servers offers powerful scalability at low cost: Adding a standard server is usually less costly and less disruptive than buying the latest powerful machine. This scalability helps adjust the performance to the required rapid response times. In addition, the solution uses a custom data object caching framework for high performance. Caching works across virtual machines to accommodate multiple servers. User interface tier The user interface tier imposes no specific demands on client systems; all it needs is an Internet browser capable of executing Javascript. Certified for Microsoft Internet Explorer versions 6 to 8, it is implemented as a thin client using servlets, Java server pages, HTML/Javascript, and Flash/Flex for visualization of diagrams. Apache, IISS, and Sun One can be used as Web servers, depending on the organization s IT infrastructure. AJAX is used to provide a rich and highly reactive user interface. The user interface tier is implemented using a development framework (Tapestry, replacing Struts used earlier on). This framework not only accelerates software development, but also helps in properly structuring the software, distinguishing between logical categories Model, View, and Control (MVC), and in writing re-usable components. All of these components mean flexible and clean adaptations for customers on each logical level, without unduly interfering with other levels. A metadata framework adds even more customization potential without ever having to change the code of the user interface. Field labels and input validation rules, amongst others, can be defined within this framework. Simple elements of the look-and-feel, such as colors, fonts, and spacing are defined in style sheets, and can be customized within the application. Performance and network bandwidth Minimal information is stored in HTTP sessions to speed up switching a session to another server. Page sizes are kept small (in 10s of KB) to conserve bandwidth. Compression is used between the browser and the Web server (via a plug-in) to reduce bandwidth consumption even further. Communication between user interface tier and application tier The user interface tier communicates with the application tier (coarsegrained) through EJB (RMI-IIOP) calls. Organizations can choose to implement their own graphical user interface (GUI) and can communicate with the Web services tier. At present, all the user interface pages are implemented as servlets but portlet support can be added if required. 4

5 Figure 2: architecture overview Server User interface libraries (Struts and tapestry) + Metadata framework Freight reservation management Web server Freight rates management Dynamic route generation Freight documentation management Client HTML/Javascript Adobe Flash player plug-in HTTP Weblogic/Websphere plug-in Apache IIS Sun One IIOP Revenue optimization Analytics and reporting Data access layer (Hibernate) J2EE platform Web browser (IE) ESB/Message broker Unix/Linux/Windows platforms JDBC Database server Oracle 10G (RAC) Unix/Linux platforms Web browser (IE) Data tier The two most important properties of the data tier are its clean structure with isolation between logical layers, and its design for performance. A generic Data Access Object (DAO) has been implemented for all basic Create, Read, Update, and Destroy (CRUD) operations. A data access library is used as a persistence framework, providing the mapping between the object-oriented Java world to that of relational databases. Hence there are no hard coded SQL statements in the Java code, insulating the application tier from the data tier and providing freedom for changes in each layer without unduly impacting the other. Significant effort has been spent on tuning the data tier for efficient integration with the underlying Oracle database. Advantages of the architecture The architecture embodies modern design principles based on clean logical structuring, separating tiers with proper and standardized interfaces. Geared towards flexibility, scalability and high performance, the structure and the use of standards make integration with freight companies information systems straightforward. Skills to perform such integration are easy to find. The use of Java and widespread open source development environments, such as Tapestry and Hibernate, facilitates the recruitment and integration of new talent and introduces speed and efficiency to allow organizations to better adapt and maintain software quality in response to a changing market and their own diverse needs. Security Security follows the industry standard J2EE security model. The Accenture Freight and Logistics Software is integrated and proven to work with most single sign-on (SSO) solutions in the market. The suite integrates with SSO providers: Oblix; Policy Director and Open LDAP. With a role-based declarative security model, the software minimizes pitfalls and at the same time improves flexibility. Information displayed in the user interface is configurable and defined by user roles. Platforms The Accenture Freight and Logistics Software can be deployed on any J2EE compliant application server. No application server specific features are used to offer portability. 5

6 Standards As the software suite is run on top of WebSphere and Weblogic, it is compatible with all J2EE standards implemented by the respective application servers. Extensions leverage any of the following standards: Category Standards Base HTTP/HTTPS 1.1 SQL SSL 2.0 SMTP 1.0 Frameworks J2EE 1.5/1.6 J2SE 1.5/1.6 JSP 2.1 Data XML 1.0 XSLT 1.0 WS-MetadataExchange Messaging/Integration JAX-RPC 1.1 SOAP 1.1 Definition Language WS Addressing 1.0 UML BPEL WSDL 1.1 Authorization WS-I Basic Profile 1.1 WS-I Basic Security Profile 1.1 JAAS 1.0 WSSecureConversation WS-Security Industry WS-Trust UN/CEFACT ANSI X12 Cargo2000 Cargo IMP (SSM, ASM, FFR, FVR, etc.) EDIFACT 6

7 Why Accenture Software? Reliability and choice Accenture Freight and Logistics Software is part of a portfolio of software businesses that combine deep technology acumen with industry knowledge to develop market-leading software products. A dedicated global organization, Accenture Software offers innovative software solutions and the unmatched skills of experienced software and industry specialists to enable organizations to meet their business goals and achieve high performance. With a team of more than 2,400 professionals across the world, Accenture Software businesses focus on a specific industry or business function and have a strong track record of developing intellectual property. Whether it is helping to manage banks, sell insurance or schedule ships, Accenture Software specialists engineer products that offer choices to match each organizations business goals. Delivering superior software Accenture Software products are easy to implement and have low operating cost, using tools and accelerators to speed up implementation and increase the return on investment. Furthermore, by simplifying implementation, organizations achieve even higher predictability. Whether employing Accenture software solutions on your own or as part of a larger transformation that encompasses Accenture s consulting and outsourcing services, organizations can be assured they are employing the resources of a team with a wealth of experience and differentiated tools to place them firmly on the path to high performance. 7

8 Further Information For more information about how can help your organization achieve high performance, contact: North America, Europe, Latin America Paul Long Tel: +1 (617) Asia Pacific Glenn Rogers Tel: +61 (3) About Accenture Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with more than 244,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$25.5 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, Its home page is Accenture Software combines deep technology acumen with industry knowledge to develop differentiated software products. It offers innovative software-based solutions to enable organizations to meet their business goals and achieve high performance. Its home page is Copyright 2012 Accenture All rights reserved. Accenture, its logo, and High Performance Delivered are trademarks of Accenture _AM

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