The Service-Oriented Enterprise

The Service-Oriented Enterprise

Driven by the convergence of key technologies and the universal adoption of Web services, the service-oriented enterprise promises to significantly improve corporate agility, speed time-to-market for new products and services, reduce IT costs, and improve operational efficiency.

As illustrated in Figure, several industry trends are converging to drive fundamental IT changes around the concepts and implementation of service orientation. The key technologies in this convergence are:

Trends converging to create the service-oriented enterprise.

  • Extensible Markup Language (XML) A common, independent data format across the enterprise and beyond that provides:

    • Standard data types and structures, independent of any programming language, development environment, or software system.

    • Pervasive technology for defining business documents and exchanging business information, including standard vocabularies for many industries.

    • Ubiquitous software for handling operations on XML, including parsers, queries, and transformations.

  • Web services XML-based technologies for messaging, service description, discovery, and extended features, providing:

    • Pervasive, open standards for distributed computing interface descriptions and document exchange via messages.

    • Independence from the underlying execution technology and application platforms.

    • Extensibility for enterprise qualities of service such as security, reliability, and transactions.

    • Support for composite applications such as business process flows, multi-channel access, and rapid integration.

  • Service-oriented architecture (SOA) A methodology for achieving application interoperability and reuse of IT assets that features:

    • A strong architectural focus, including governance, processes, modeling, and tools.

    • An ideal level of abstraction for aligning business needs and technical capabilities, and creating reusable, coarse-grain business functionality.

    • A deployment infrastructure on which new applications can quickly and easily be built.

    • A reusable library of services for common business and IT functions.

  • Business process management (BPM) Methodologies and technologies for automating business operations that:

    • Explicitly describe business processes so that they are easier to understand, refine, and optimize.

    • Make it easier to quickly modify business processes as business requirements change.

    • Automate previously manual business processes and enforce business rules.

    • Provide real-time information and analysis on business processes for decision makers.

Individually, each of these technologies has had a profound effect on one or more aspects of business computing. When combined, they provide a comprehensive platform for obtaining the benefits of service orientation and taking the next step in the evolution of IT systems.

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