IBM Polishes SOA Blitz With AJAX
Over the next few months, IBM is launching a massive set of products and services to bolster implementation of service-oriented architecture in businesses that use WebSphere software. Of particular interest to many is the deployment of the new WebSphere Portal using AJAX.
Big Blue is rolling out a total of 11 products alongside 20 WebSphere enhancements and training tens of thousands of consultants for the SOA initiative. IBM’s aggressiveness in the SOA software market is in recognition of the market’s slow growth, primarily due to the complexities of it.
“An SOA plays a strategic role in any company — from a retailer to a car manufacturer to a financial institution — because it enables people to collaborate and innovate, identify new business opportunities, and move the customers’ needs to the forefront,” said Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive, IBM Software Group.
IBM says there are five “entry points” that make it easier to initiate SOA projects. Those entry points center around users, processes, information, connectivity, and reuse. Targeted toward those entry points, the company released four software packages to support SOA.
For supporting a people-centric approach to SOA, WebSphere Portal version 6.0 integrates IBM Workplace and collaborative technologies, making it easier for users to build and deploy composite applications that can be tailored by industry, role or task. The new release takes advantage of AJAX to create a more responsive user environment.
Additionally, the latest version provides a workflow builder that utilizes the process engine from WebSphere Process Server, open standards-based software powered by WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) that helps simplify the integration of business processes.
The WebSphere Business Monitor version 6.0 is a software that provides an “an aerial” view of the business and enables customers to proactively identify potential issues before they impact productivity. New features include business alerts, links to third-party reports that combine real-time performance and historical analysis, and scorecards to track the status and metrics of projects.
The alert can be integrated with third-party research, customer feedback and recommended next steps that could help minimize the impact of a competitor’s move on the market.
The enhanced IBM Banking Information FrameWork and IBM Insurance Application Architecture models provide a set of critical processes, workflows, and activities to help organizations reengineer their business processes to implement strategic initiatives such as master data management.
A big issue among business is the capability to reuse SOA applications as reuse is five times less expensive than writing new applications, says IBM. WebSphere Application Server version 6.1 and WebSphere Commerce version 6.0 both focus on enabling reuse and easier SOA management.
WebSphere Commerce includes several new features, providing a consistent view of the customer across sales channels. It also includes a set of tools that enable merchants to replicate the online experience in their store to deliver more personalized customer service.
Automotive after-market retail chain Pep Boys recently employed IBM’s SOA building skills.
“We struggled with identifying the most effective way to service our customers, fend off competitors and make sure that we have a strategic approach to integrating all of our 593 stores without losing profit due to tactical missteps in our operations,” said Bob Berckman, assistant vice president, Pep Boys.
“With an IBM-based SOA, we’re able to pinpoint gaps in productivity and customer service before they negatively impact our business.”