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Enterprise SOA by Thomas Mattern, Dan Woods

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ESA in action: Nordzucker AG

An excellent example of innovation using ESA is Nordzucker AG. Nordzucker is Europe's second largest producer and distributor of sugar, manufacturing more than 1.9 million tons each year. Headquartered in Germany, with 3,300 employees and revenue of 1.2 billion euros in the 2004/2005 fiscal year, Nordzucker's roots lie with the sugar beet farmers who form the base of its supply chain and who are typically shareholders in the company. With operations scattered across Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, Nordzucker faced significant challenges in exchanging information with and delivering reports to the farmers within its network.

These challenges would be magnified in 2006 when the European Union would relax its rules on sugar importation, opening the market to nonEuropean producers and potentially triggering an across-the-board price drop. With these concerns in mind, Nordzucker set out to strategically overhaul its IT systems in an effort to streamline internal operations and extend as much information and functionality as possible to the farmers themselves. To that end, Nordzucker adopted SAP NetWeaver as its platform to integrate core applications using enterprise services as the blueprint, and to create the "Farmer's Portal" currently used by more than 2,000 of its producers in the fields.

Figure 2-12 shows the traditional IT landscape at Nordzucker in which farmers once waited for weekly status reports to arrive in the mail. ...

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