Swelling Market

By Brian P. Watson  |  Posted 2006-07-13 Print this article Print

Companies are integrating applications and processes across their enterprises to better interact with customers, suppliers and partners—and fuel what can be significant cost savings.

Swelling Market

Today, more companies are investing in business integration, particularly service-related architecture. By the end of the year, about half of all North American and European companies with 1,000 employees or more will roll out a project involving SOA, according to a November 2005 survey from Forrester Research. Of businesses with more than 40,000 employees, about 67% will have adopted SOA this year, the firm predicts.

SOA allows applications to be integrated more easily by standardizing the way they exchange data. Application-integration software providers like BEA Systems, IBM and Tibco Software continue to enhance their tools and launch new ones to help customers integrate their architecture and produce cost savings.

The benefits of such projects, say I.T. executives, can be multifold—from reducing personnel hours to saving on hardware and software purchases.

Using a service-oriented architecture helps reuse existing hardware and software assets. Bob Burger, Fifth Third Bancorp's vice president of technical services, looks at it from a broader view. "As you start to lay out your path of how all those channels tie together, you can't afford to have redundant architecture for those capabilities," Burger says. "Physically and logically, it doesn't make sense."

Burger and his team worked with IBM's WebSphere software to reconstruct the Cincinnati-based bank's systems in a service-oriented architecture to increase the capacity of its transaction processing capabilities.

Still, Fifth Third struggled. Mainly, Burger says, it was tough finding technologists with experience and training in the field. IBM, he explains, helped fill the void by training the bank's team and helping with the reconstruction project. Big Blue also included training credits into the licensing agreement, Burger says.

Associate Editor

Brian joined Baseline in March 2006. In addition to previous stints at Inter@ctive Week and The Net Economy, he's written for The News-Press in Fort Myers, Fla., as well as The Sunday Tribune in Dublin, Ireland. Brian has a B.A. from Bucknell University and a master's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.


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