Case Study

EDI Transport

EDI defines messages and rules for exchanging business information. EDI requires a transport mechanism to exchange messages, which can operate client/client, client/server or server/server. X.400 is a common choice for transferring EDI messages as it offers

  • High reliability
  • Good audit logging, security and management
  • Two levels of end to end acknowledgement as standard features
  • Can build store and forward networks in desired configurations, including mesh and star

The above diagram shows an overall architecture for how X.400 servers and protocols are used to build an X.400 EDI infrastructure which enables the exchange of EDI messages. The two core Isode products used to provide this service are:

  • M-Switch X.400 is a high performance X.400 MTA (Message Transfer Agent), suitable for high volume backbone operation. M-Switch X.400 provides a flexible, secure and robust MTA solution
  • M-Store X.400 is an X.400 Message Store supporting client access using the X.400 P7 protocol, and accepting messages from an MTA using X.400 P3

EDI applications can connect to an X.400 Infrastructure in two ways

  • By use of X.400 P7, connecting to an X.400 Message Store such as M-Store X.400. This is a client server protocol to access delivered messages, and to submit new messages. This is appropriate for small end user EDI applications, and might typically be used by someone running an EDI application on a PC
  • By use of X.40 P3, connecting to an X.400 Message Transfer Agent such as M-Switch X.400. This is appropriate for server applications, that do not require the X.400 infrastructure to store messages. It provides a submission and delivery service



Web-based application employing advanced image rendering techniques for MMS-enabled mobile phones.


Java 2D rendering API, Mobile Media API (MMAPI) and Wireless Messaging API (WMA), SMIL and SOAP. Deployed on Caucho's Resin servlet engine. Backed by mySQL database engine. Hosted on Redhat Linux running Apache webserver.


In March of 2004, Appforce Information Systems was awarded an offshore software contract to develop a Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) web application for a UK firm specialising in delivering mobile phone content to it's subscribers. The aim of MMS web application is to empower owners of the new breed of MMS enabled phones to compose and deliver their own content-rich multimedia messages to mobile phone handsets from the web.

Project Planning and Design

A formal software specification was devised detailing the clients requirements together with a complete project plan with milestones and time scales. The client stipulated that the application should be developed using Java so that it can be easily integrated with an existing content delivery system built with Java technology.

Development Method

Four skilled Java developers with MMS and media programming experience were appointed to work on the project. Development, testing and staging websites were set up under version control and a "first-cut" design of the application was developed and demonstrated to the client one week into the project. The client was more than satisfied with the work and signed-off the demo application allowing the team to move onto the next phase of the project. The client was able to see the work in progress at any point in time by viewing the application from our staging servers via the internet. After five weeks of application development work and testing, the MMS web application was completed on time.


The application gives mobile phone users a vast choice of full colour background images to paint on. Alternatively, mobile phone owners can upload their own photographs to the web application where they can crop, resize, rotate and flip the image to achieve their own per sonali sed design. Once the background image is in place, they can superimpose any text onto the image by entering their message or greeting and then select from a portfolio of over 200 font styles. Drop-shadows, glows, semi-transparent fills, gradient fills and pattern fills can then be applied to the text to give it a unique look.

When the mobile phone user has completed authoring their design, they may either store the design on the messaging server for later delivery or editing, or transmit the design as a multimedia message to any MMS capable mobile phone. Customer details and their transactions are encrypted for security purposes and recorded in a mySQL database.


The web application was launched in late April 2004. Since the launch, Appforce Information Systems entered a maintenance contract to constantly upgrade the application with new features. New features which were recently incorporated into the application include the ability to change the orientation of message text, apply a "wavy" look to text and stretch/skew the text message as desired by the web user.

Oracle Apps


  • Expected uptime - 265X12
  • Expected turn around time on levels (criticality) of issues - Level1 - 2 Hours, Level 2 - 4 Hours, Level 3 - 8
  • Hours, Level 4 - 12 Hours
  • Timely Closure of Books of accounts - 98%
  • Building faith and effective Utilization of Oracle Application within limited Resources. - 98 %
  • Change Management Issues (Addition) - As per Quality process (ISO 9001 Level 5)


Appforce Information Systems Team of Oracle Applications - technical and functional experts visited the client's sites), studied and then documented the existing system's environment, processes, issues, issue management procedures, support management procedures and change management procedures.

Appforce Information Systems created elaborate transition plans, support management plans and change management plans after the detailed study.

Based on the design and plans, Appforce Information Systems put together a highly reliable support mechanism Appforce Information Systems contributed a lot on fine-tuning the client's processes, infrastructure, extended support system.


The client is now backed by a highly reliable Oracle Application Support system with all the challenges met.

Appforce Information Systems consultants ensured smooth functioning of Applications, which results into timely submission of statutory results, and Month Closures of Financial Data.

The client was able to receive the support for Oracle application Independent of Oracle Support. Overview training of Application to Non-Apps people like Helpdesk Teams of Customers in order to achieve effectiveness in handling the Issues

Appforce Information Systems helped the client in their growth management, extending the infrastructure, up-gradation etc.



The client, a global auto giant involved in manufacturing and distribution of high-end passenger and commercial vehicles, has manufacturing facilities in 40 countries and presence in over 200. Last year, the US$ 160 billion-plus company, sold four million passenger cars and 460,000 commercial vehicles.

Business Need

The key to the success of this very brand-driven client is its ability to deliver vehicles to its customers on time, anywhere in the world. A well-oiled supply chain is critical to support and to sustain such levels of efficiency. The distribution network had to be kept running at peak levels, and operating costs had to be controlled. It is worth mentioning here that the automotive industry operates on very tight margins and reducing costs remains a top priority.


The challenges in implementing a project of this size are as diverse as the geographies involved. Appforce Information Systems not only had to understand the business processes and technology being used by the client, but also had to deal with soft factors such as the diverse culture of the region. The key challenges were:

  • The client was battling the high costs of maintaining the existing IT solutions (some on SAP), designing IT systems for new offices, and future product line integration(s)
  • The unsatisfactory service levels and issue resolution processes, led to erratic and inadequate support to the businesses. Also, there was not enough in-house expertise to execute the IS Auto upgrade (from 2.0 to 3.0) and rollouts to other countries in 2 years
  • There was lack of standardization of SAP Wholesale processes in the region despite commonalities
  • The inability to adapt to new technologies quickly made improvements in the current processes very difficult
  • The client's multiple IT contractors lacked focus and commitment, which had a negative impact on earlier attempts to implement a solution


The client had initially taken up the role of the project leader, coordinating and administering the whole project with the assistance of several consultants from several companies. However, in June 2001, it decided to restructure the initiative. After a meticulous evaluation process which included a comprehensive tender document comprising 82 assessment criteria, the client selected Appforce Information Systems - for its extensive experience in global SAP roll outs, well-defined and highly evolved processes, and its ability to respond quickly to changes -- as their professional service partner to take over some of the responsibilities.

The first step Appforce Information Systems took on entering into the project in June 2002 was to work out a 3-step transition plan with the client, who was itself bringing to table a number of processes and methodologies it had acquired through its own experiences with clients all over the world. Appforce Information Systems undertook an audit and due diligence - which was termed the appreciation phase -- of the existing processes and working model and came up with recommendations for implementation in two months. This was achieved against odds like tight deadlines, very limited knowledge, at that time, of the client's processes, the difficulties of working with diverse cultures across Asia-Pacific as well as with having to coordinate with geographically dispersed teams.

The appreciation phase lasted for two months. The client, if in any way not satisfied, was at liberty to cancel the engagement during this phase.

Appforce Information Systems had implemented checkpoints and milestones set for all the important steps, giving the client the confidence that a comfortable level had been achieved before continuing with the next step and reached steady state of operations in October 2002.