Thursday, January 26, 2012
SOA ROI: FASTER, PROVEN—WITH THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGY Few executives and their IT leaders dispute the necessity of service-oriented architecture (SOA) as they seek the holy grail of business agility. In fact, businesses that have adopted the right SOA infrastructure and started their SOA with the right business-change projects are experiencing significant business agility breakthroughs: returns on their SOA projects in weeks or months rather than the traditional enterprise initiative timeframe, measured in years. For example: Starwood Hotels achieved dramatic improvements in its “look-to-book” ratio— the relationship between room availability inquiries (look) and room reservations (book). The company developed an SOA infrastructure to ensure that Web site visitors known to be more likely to book rooms at individual hotel Web sites were serviced with higher priority than those shopping for price at aggregation sites like hotels.com. As a result, the company increased the number of full-price reservations by 10%, reduced IT costs by 35%, and raised satisfaction ratings from its most important customers. Using an SOA, Axfood, a retail company with 1300 stores across Europe, reduced its replenishment cycle time (the time it takes to replace an item purchased in a retail store from supplier to store shelf) from three days to two, decreasing its annual costs by $10-to-$15 million. Pacific Blue Cross dramatically improved its business performance in two key process areas: payments and member enrollment. Pre-SOA, payments processing took three-to-four days, and enrollment took five. Now, payments are processed within a day, and new member enrollment takes less than three days to complete. Customer service levels have also improved because of visibility into process bottlenecks and automatic problem remediation. THE “RIGHT STUFF” FOR FASTER SOA ROI Clearly, the right SOA technologies are the fuel accelerating visible and strategic business change projects within the enterprise. In fact, this repeated proof of near-term return on investment is driving the move to SOA. But the key to receiving optimal—and faster—breakthroughs is making the right choices about infrastructure to support a new SOA design center. How can you start on an SOA now, begin to get the benefits, and build a solid foundation for future SOA growth and escalating benefits? Copyright ©2007. Progress Software Corporation. All rights reserved. 3 DISTRIBUTED BUSINESS PROCESSES, HETEROGENEOUS SYSTEMS Getting an SOA right isn’t obvious or easy. Today’s extended enterprises are distributed. Business processes execute across functions, organizations, and geographies and involve suppliers, partners, and customers. In the middle of these enterprises are numerous heterogeneous platforms, systems, applications, databases, and networks. The challenge is to connect the people, processes, and technology: to keep them working together, yet make them flexible and responsive to changing business needs. In other words, you need optimal integration and interoperability—to be able to integrate functionality from the existing IT environment, including silo’ed legacy systems, and to be open to business and IT evolution tomorrow. Since business change is now the norm, and adapting to change is critical to winning, you need IT agility to support business agility . WEB SERVICES AND SOA INFRASTRUCTURE: THE FLEXIBLE CONNECTION Web services or business services and the SOA infrastructure that manages them promise to provide this new level of integration and agility. Services are coarse-grained units of business logic, developed on a wide variety of development platforms and deployed throughout the extended enterprise. They are ready to be orchestrated in real time, dynamically reconfigured, and artfully managed through lifecycles involving an unprecedented frequency of changes. However, companies need the right SOA infrastructure to truly support the business and deliver on the SOA promise of business agility and lower IT costs. This infrastructure should be able to support a high-change environment—as well as the broadest possible service deployment for enterprise-wide SOA adoption. That means that it must fundamentally be integration-centric: to make fast, seamless, reliable connections across heterogeneous systems (including legacy computing resources) and link people, functions, and computing resources distributed across and, often, beyond enterprise boundaries. As a result, as you develop plans for an SOA within the enterprise and decide on a strategic technology partner, you need to focus on several critical issues related to the flexible, fastchanging, cross-boundary nature of SOAs—to realize the full potential of your SOA. You need optimal integration and interoperability to be able to integrate functionality from the existing IT environment. Copyright ©2007. Progress Software Corporation. All rights reserved.
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