Integration World Day 1: Richard Maranville, FedEx Kinko’s

Richard Maranville, SVP and CIO of FedEx Kinko’s (FedEx acquired Kinko’s in 2004), gave the first customer presentation of the day, talking about how they use webMethods to integrate their systems.

FedEx has always been big on technology, and changed the courier world with paradigms like huge centralized auto-sorting centers, where all packages are sent to one central location for sorting and redistribution. You can’t do that without a significant amount of well-oiled technology. Since FedEx has grown significantly through acquisitions such as Kinko’s, they’ve also had to be able to integrate these acquisitions — and their technology — into the mother ship.

From Kinko’s point of view, the struggles since the acquisition have been primarily about the integration of systems and data with the parent company to allow for better functional integration with the parent company. They had a pretty low level of technology in a lot of business area, with many purely manual processes and re-entering of data from one system to another, which introduced both errors and latency. Now, however, the applications are integrated so that data flows from one to another in real-time, making it available not just within one location but to other locations that might be serving the same customer or that have similar requirements. This has even been extended out to their customers, so that customers can enter and track orders directly, and the underlying process is done in exactly the same way as if it were happening in a FedEx Kinko’s location. They reused components and stitched them together with webMethods, allowing them to add order tracking using FedEx’s existing world-class tracking system rather than building it themselves, and doing the entire integration in a matter of days. They’re also integrating with FedEx services: you can upload a job for printing and have it shipped back to you.

They’re going to be building some new dashboard functionality using the webMethods BAM tools that leverages all the bits and pieces that they already have, from their legacy systems to the new integrations.

I really like the format of these keynotes, by the way: at the end of each formal presentation, Mark Jeffries pops back up on stage to sit down with the presenter for a few minutes and ask him some questions.

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