New IBM Software, Services to Help Customers Respond to Changing Business Conditions

New Offerings Advance IBM's Leadership in Service Oriented Architectures

Select a topic or year

ARMONK, NY - 21 Apr 2004: IBM today announced new software and services to help companies quickly and more easily adapt information-technology infrastructures to changing business conditions.

The new IBM offerings will help customers build what are known as "service oriented architectures," (SOAs) collections of business processes that rely on reusable standard interfaces to integrate applications inside a company as well as externally with customers and suppliers.

IBM's focus on SOAs is an extension of existing strategies to help customers take advantage of IBM innovation and standards-based technologies to drive down costs, create new opportunities for growth and transform to on demand businesses. IBM has been laying the groundwork for SOAs through IBM's market-leading Java-based WebSphere Application Server and integration software, Tivoli's infrastructure management and security software, leadership in developing industry standards for Web services, as well as IBM's deep industry knowledge, products and services that solve business problems.

Currently, many companies use hard-wired connections that allow applications to communicate in and outside of the enterprise. These connections can make it difficult for companies to respond to change. SOAs are collections of standards-based software components, such as Web services, that enable companies to create flexible, reusable connections that address specific business issues such as travel websites ticketing flight reservations, a bank processing a mortgage application or a manufacturer simplifying its supply chain.

An SOA breaks down business components into basic building blocks, just as the standardized software interfaces allow the IT infrastructure to be componentized. Flexible business processes can then be matched with flexible IT processes. For example, the month long processes a bank uses to approve a mortgage can potentially be reduced to weeks, or even days, by linking the bank's business and IT processes in an SOA.

Customers can adopt SOAs to solve a small number of business problems and scale the SOA implementation at their own pace until the enterprise is transformed to a complete on demand business.

Cendant Travel Distribution Services Group (Cendant TDS), a division of Cendant Corp., has used IBM technology to develop SOAs that have systematically consolidated the functionalities of its multiple travel Web sites. For example, after identifying the ability to provide low-cost airfare shopping for consumers as a functionality that was common to several of its Web sites, Cendant TDS developed an innovative, customized SOA that applied to this functionality. The SOA turned the functionality into a single, reusable component by creating an environment where multiple travel Web sites could access the same low-cost, airfare-shopping service -- thus saving the company money.

"By implementing an SOA we were able to see dramatic cost savings through a reduction in development and operating costs," said Robert Wiseman, Chief Technology Officer of Cendant TDS. Bryan Harwood, Director of Platform Architecture added, "Standardization of the architecture allowed us to consolidate resources, thus resulting in cost savings."

To help customers with SOAs IBM is drawing upon resources across the company to introduce new software and services offerings, including:

WebSphere Business Integration Server Foundation allows customers to build and integrate applications within service oriented architectures. This is one of the first products from a major vendor to offer native support for the Business Process Execution Language, an industry standard specification executing business logic. WebSphere Business Integration Server Foundation allows customers to create reusable services out of their existing Web services and packaged applications as well as combine services to link business processes with software applications.

The IBM Assessments for Services Oriented Architectures from IBM Global Services helps customers who have currently embarked on an SOA to assess both functional and technical aspects of their planned SOA implementation. IBM will assess the planned SOA architecture ability to meet desired quality of service and it will validate the functional aspects to assess service granularity and design considerations.

IBM's Strategy and Planning for Service Oriented Architectures from IGS helps customers identify business and technology capabilities required to take advantage of service oriented computing. Strategy and Planning for Service Oriented Architectures follows a path beginning and ending with client objectives, with the results of a business services map identifying SOA business service candidates, SOA vision, SOA functional building blocks, SOA governance model, an SOA reference model architecture and an SOA transition plan for realizing the customer specific SOA.

For customers with data in legacy systems, IGS will offer Application Renovation and Integration for Services Oriented Architectures. This will help customers determine if there is value in exposing legacy data and linking it with new business processes in the SOA. IBM will also help customers restructure their legacy applications to become part of the SOA.

Component Business Modeling, combines the efforts of IBM Research and Business Consulting Services, allows clients to map their business processes across entire industries and break down a business into a set of discrete activities supported by people, process, and systems. Viewed this way, the pieces can be measured and benchmarked, quickly and clearly identifying the weaknesses and strengths of individual business activities, allowing a client to better identify areas for process improvement. The flexibility an SOA provides allows for business process improvements to be implemented quickly.

Danske Bank is using a service oriented approach to developing and integrating systems. This allows a company level business process focus which has successfully consolidated a number of mergers and acquisitions over the last 10 years. One benefit that bank's SOA provides a single view of the customers across its many product lines including traditional banking services for individuals, corporations and other institutions, life insurance and pension products, asset management, mortgage finance, brokerage, real estate, and leasing services.

"The challenge of modern IT is its effectiveness. Maximizing the business value of the development cycle means carefully choosing which projects to carry through, and making sure that the deployed result solves the original business problem in a desired manner," said Claus Torp, Vice President of Architecture and Development Process, Danske Bank. "This requires a coherent architecture supporting business needs in an on demand fashion. Part of the challenge is balancing the process, functional and data perspective of a solution all at the same time. In our experience, the best way of achieving this is thinking in a Service Oriented manner."