To give those users a bit of a leg up in advance of the webcast we sat down with ITC’s Fusion Middleware specialists to discuss some basic SOA related terminology, to give those non-technical business users a chance to understand what SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) means in plain English.
Q. So how would you explain SOA at its most basic level to someone who isn’t coming from a functional or technical background?
A. Explained simply, SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) refers to highly a integrated IT architectural strategy designed to provide both a better business and infrastructure solution.
Now what does this really mean?
Well, traditional systems integration methodologies tended to boil down to being the IT equivalent of using a nail to join two pieces of wood. Sure, you succeed in attaching both pieces of wood, but by simply nailing them together you’ve ensured that maintenance and/or changes will be difficult and the connection between them is rigid and hardly reusable. The aim of SOA is to make those connections between systems agile and scalable .
In essence, in any integration, there are two systems/partners; the “service provider” that provides a functionality that needs to be used by the “service consumer.” For example a service provider might be a credit card company like Visa or MasterCard while the service consumer might be a retail merchant or website that needs to verify a buyer’s credit card information.
What SOA does is decouples the service provider and service consumer which enables the service provider to provide the same service to multiple Service Consumers, and a well-designed SOA solution also enables Service Consumer to easily switch to a different service provider if required.
To stick with our credit card example, a good SOA solution would ensure that the credit card provider doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel each time they need to exchange data with a new customer.
Q. Ok, but then why is SOA necessary?
A. It boils down to two words: “reuse” and “composition” which are both necessary for creating new business processes quickly and reliably. With SOA, you have the ability to incrementally change your systems as needs arise switching service providers, extending services, modifying service providers and consumers. If your architecture is service oriented you can do all of these things safely and securely due to well-controlled coupling between your applications.
Q. That certainly sounds like SOA makes IT’s life easier, but how does business benefit from SOA?
A. Well, we’ve discussed the benefits of reusability, which in turn provide a real cost-savings. The true benefit of investing in a SOA implementation is in making your organization agile and able to adapt to change quickly? Regardless of the industry you’re in, SOA ensures that your systems are going to be flexible enough to support the changes that your business users need to make in order to remain competitive. So while the non-SOA shop is stopping – and spending – to build, or in many cases rebuild, custom interfaces, the SOA shop is instead focusing on revenue-driving activities.
Q. What is Oracle B2B and how can it benefit my business?
A: Oracle B2B sits on top of the SOA architecture and provides you with the ability to safely and securely exchange electronic documents like POs, Invoices, Statements etc. with your customers, suppliers, banks etc. or strictly sticking to SOA lingo “trading partners.”
Now you’re very, very lucky your trading partners are probably going to be using different
document types, versions and standards. So you’ll need a platform that can easily map these various document types and versions together, and reliably transmit and monitor the integrations. Oracle B2B transforms your organization into an entity that is easy to do business with because of your ability to support various document types (like EDI, XML, Flat files , etc.) and versions, but also many different transmission methods, like FTP, AS2, email, JMS, AQ etc. In addition, with Oracle B2B you can easily integrate with any VAN( Value Added Network) which your current or potential customers are already on, and this will provide you the leverage to start going after all the potential business that you could not tap into because the technological restrictions.Join Us for More on SOA at Our Next Webcast
On June 12 IT Convergence’s Oracle Fusion Middleware team will be hosting the webcast “Oracle SOA/B2B Architecture: Your Key to a Robust eCommerce Platform-ERP Integration” at 8:00 am Pacific/11:00 am Eastern.
Click here to reserve your spot now.