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6/30/2004
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FedEx Achieves Fusion

The goal is to install the next-generation business infrastructure and lay a technical foundation for business units to collectively compete.

FedEx Corp.'s customers early next year will gain combined access to information stored in disparate databases at FedEx Services, FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx freight, and FedEx Kinko's through a complex database called Customer Fusion. At its core is an advanced account-management application that pulls customer information from various databases around the globe and across the FedEx network, giving customers multiple views from one access point.

The task of integrating data stored in a multitude of locations, files, and formats began more than a year ago. With each acquisition it made through the years, FedEx also acquired disparate computer systems and technologies.

During its analyst day in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Tuesday, FedEx executives outlined the steps they're taking to make customer data fusion a reality. They have two goals in mind: lay a technical foundation to allow all business units to compete collectively, and install the next generation infrastructure to enable FedEx to meet its business objectives faster and at lower cost.

With that strategy in mind, FedEx designed a technology layer that sits on top of its infrastructures to manage customer account information; getting that platform together took less than a year. The company is adding customer-facing applications called Customer Fusion, Customer Service, InSight, and others. They are expected to roll out in January.

Customer Fusion will give customers an interface into the vast FedEx network to access data on shipment history, pending inquiries and service issues, and account information across all operating companies. "Fusion is built on a very-high-speed messaging architecture," says Larry Tieman, senior VP of IT at FedEx and chief architect for the project. "The message bus allows us to loosely couple the business application, apply the proper business rules, and build a unified application layer."

Shipment Fusion provides a common database of key tracking events for all FedEx companies. FedEx says Shipment Fusion can handle more than 3,500 transactions per second.

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