Businesses, across all sectors and geographies, are under significant pressure to more closely align IT systems with business processes to improve business agility. This is driven by business imperatives to increase operational efficiency, to react more quickly to the needs of customers, partners and suppliers and maintain competitive advantage. To become more agile, enterprises are moving towards a service-oriented architecture (SOA) to build, maintain and integrate business applications and better leverage IT systems and infrastructure.
One of the highest priorities for CIO’s is the ongoing need to simplify business integration while reducing development and maintenance time and costs. And with the advent of SOA, the challenges of integration are even more complex and the limitations of traditional application development and integration solutions are even more problematic.
The agile enterprise must react more quickly to business change with IT solutions that are better, faster and cheaper than “the old way” of building and integrating applications. The requirement is no longer to automate a single business function from the ground up, but to assemble applications using parts of existing business applications and enterprise systems. Organizations are now beginning to think about applications in terms of business services rather than lines of code. Developers need to map service definitions regardless of the details, location, or programming language associated with enterprise data resources. Data and services must be reusable and easily accessible. And applications need to be detached from the underlying systems and infrastructure for increased adaptability and ease of maintenance.
To achieve the goals of the agile enterprise, IT departments are moving towards the rapidassembly and deployment of composite applications. To achieve this, there is a new set of requirements. Applications must be:
• Dynamic. Automated, real-time updates to applications
• Adaptive. Separate application logic from infrastructure
• Configurable. Maximize reusability and reduce coding
• Productive. Easily update and maintain applications
• Transactional. Maintain performance in high-volume environments
• Scalable. View and manage 1000s of services at one time
The adoption of Web Services and SOA will be increasingly rapidly throughout 2006 and into the next year. 2007 will be the year that enterprises will be significantly investing in these new architectures. However, the challenge is much more complex than assembling a few Web services. 70 to 80 percent of all mission-critical business data is stored in hard-to access mainframe and legacy systems. One of the most critical challenges businesses face is not only how to migrate to SOA by integrating data with services to but to put a face on these exposed services to enable the user to easily develop and deploy composite applications.