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Sunday, August 28, 2005

SOA - Businessification, SaaS, and Integration

we had been covering the advancements in SOA and mulitple perspectives in adopting SOA within the enterprise. In respect of business, SOA is fast becoming vital to the enterprise not just as this gives insight into the right way to approach IT - platform independence, reusable code, and so on - but because it furthers the ongoing "business-ification" of IT.For most companies today, IT doesn't just serve the business, as increasingly IT becomes the business. SOA permits the rapid realignment of that nervous system to suit the organism's needs without limiting its ability to change again tomorrow as the economy and competitive environment evolve. In this context, we see that the process of initiating SOA is always challenged along the lines of How to do application partitioning and decompose into granular components and the means to develop/extend and deploy these. After all new platforms and tools have always characterized new phase advancements in IT. SOA adoptions inside the enterprise - the applications may be enhancements/integration of existing applications or in few cases new set of applications. The adoption seems to be a rising curve – meaning we may get to see a lot more of this in the days to come.
SOA is a complete overhaul impacting how systems are analyzed, designed, built, integrated and managed. And not just some systems - all systems including packaged applications like ERP. SOA is first and foremost about a network of services. The value of an enterprise’s service network is directly related to the effort of creating/obtaining services and making them available. All networks require a critical mass of 'valuable services' before they become useful to the consumers
Amy Wohl writes, For SaaS the promise of SOA is compelling. She points out that if we can craft libraries of standard components and offer them as the basis for net-native applications, and then permit customers to request an application that is better suited to their needs by calling out the right combination of components (that will automatically work with each other and with the customer's data sets), that would be truly exciting. This may very likely happen first in well understood horizontal applications like CRM, where the maturity of the application makes it likely that we can understand exactly how to refine the components and just what choices to offer users. Or it might happen in well defined vertical markets like segments of the insurance industry or of manufacturing. Specific insights & standards will make it possible to make the leap from offering a standard application to offering applications created by SOA to the customer needs and envisions that "In future when we take multiple applications based on these components and integrate them to support a complex process, spanning across multiple business partners, SaaS may have a real advantage, as across the supply chain visibility can be achieved with browser based interfaces for various stakeholders across the supply chain for interactions". Neat - the challenge is in execution, but the idea masks several real life complexities.

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