Service-Oriented Architecture

By Bob Violino  |  Posted 2009-07-28 Print this article Print

Server virtualization, self-service applications and service-oriented architecture give banks and other financial institutions the tools to increase their efficiency, cut costs and boost revenue.

Service-Oriented Architecture

Financial services provider MasterCard Worldwide, based in Purchase, N.Y., has launched an SOA initiative to speed processes, increase cost-effectiveness, add simplicity and increase consistency, says Joan Kelly, group executive of dual message and core ancillary applications.

“SOA enhances our competitiveness by enabling us to bring products to market more quickly and with fewer resources through shared business services that we repeatedly leverage across product lines,” Kelly says. “This approach saves us considerable time and development costs.”

For example, SOA allows the firm to provide common directory services for new products it launches. “This gives new products a consistent look and feel, while allowing us to augment them for specific registration,” Kelly says. “In addition, SOA provides global operational efficiencies. We have shared services on how to do transaction research that create a common infrastructure for queries.” This translates into better, easier integration with customers. “Shared services help guarantee delivery consistency so we don’t have different interpretations of the same service,” she says.

MasterCard has been involved with SOA for several years and uses it primarily in the transaction authorization system. The firm has begun building out a shared services architecture that incorporates services such as real-time risk and fraud scoring, spending controls, cardholder rewards, and chip and pin validation. It also Web-enabled platforms that use shared services—such as Find–A-Card, which helps consumers decide on the right card, ATM Finder and PayPass Finder—and common services in the mobile space. “We also use SOA in some Web services applications, creating shared services across various Internet applications,” Kelly says.

For an IT organization that has never used SOA, “there must be a paradigm shift, because making changes to a service becomes a business governance challenge,” Kelly says. “SOA necessitates collaboration among teams using the same service across the organization to gain consensus on making changes to the service. Users must agree on the business value of the proposed change, the timing of the implementation and other key decisions.”

Banks and other financial firms have been particularly hard hit during this economic downturn, and, more than ever, they look for ways to save money, improve processes and satisfy customers. Technologies such as virtualization, self-service applications and SOA can help them meet those goals.


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