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Functional line questions...

a. When trying to share customer data between functional lines what method would you suggest to allow each functional line to have some control over when a change from a different functional line applies to their processing?
b. If a database contains shared data what process would be effective to achieve this goal?
c. An example might be that a customer's mailing address is changed. However, the billing department must receive a signed piece of paper before an address can be changed on each different bill type. Obviously, in this case, an indicator might be possible for each bill type. What other options might there be? How do the major CRM vendors do this?

a. Use XML! Additive changes rarely impact legacy processing. XML affords the greatest degree of loose coupling in the data presentation layer.

There could be processing or legal reasons that a functional line might need to approve or accept a change prior to the change being applied. However, other functional lines might always want the most current data without any approval rights.

You need a middleware tool for this. You could write functions in Java, but the best way to encode buisness rules in middleware is using a scripted approach. I recommend XSLT for simple transformations. For complex business logic, our TierBroker product contains a robust rules language that is equivalent to JavaScript with classes.

b. Do not grant direct access read/write to the repository. Use Web Services (SOAP/WSDL) to create a standard API that can be accessed using a variety of open technologies.

c. Now you are talking about business process and workflow. You may want to review the specifications of the Workflow working groups at W3C.org.

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