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IBM Reports Initial SMB Success With SOA


IBM today announced that a growing number of small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) are developing successful service oriented architecture (SOA) strategies through the critical first step of using industry standard web services, underscoring a recent research report on the rapid adoption of SOA by SMBs.

ebizQ received the following:

According to a recent independent study by Evans Data Corp., SMBs are bullish on the concept of SOA and adoption is expected to double over the next two years. Nearly 25 percent of businesses that participated in the survey reported that they already have an SOA in place. The study also found that by 2009, more than half of the SMBs are projected to have functioning SOAs.

In today's globally-integrated economy, SMBs are looking for greater efficiency, productivity and collaboration to drive sustained competitive advantage and growth. An effective SOA strategy, supported by web services, applications and Web 2.0 technologies, is a proven business strategy that enables SMBs to realize these goals. Web services are a collection of industry standard software used to integrate and connect proprietary applications and data within a company, as well as externally with partners and customers, while protecting a company’s existing investments in applications and systems.

While SOA use among SMBs is increasing, IBM believes further SOA adoption by users within this key market segment is hampered by three significant misconceptions. The first is that SOA is a strategy best suited to larger organizations; the second is the perceived expenses associated with building an SOA; and the third misunderstanding is that an SOA is the result of integrating a collection of web services.

IBM’s SMB customers such as RouteOne, RailInc., and AAA Carolinas found that an SOA has enabled them to streamline day-to-day business processes by eliminating redundancies while helping save money through the reuse of web services, resulting in an overall boost to productivity. Each of these customers began their SOA journey through web services that allowed them to more easily integrate existing legacy applications with new technologies.

For example, RouteOne uses web services to enable car dealers to connect their auto loan applications to multiple lending sources, eliminating duplicate entries and reducing a customer’s wait time in the finance and insurance office.

“RouteOne provides financing to 22,000 car dealerships across the country – all the DaimlerChrysler, General Motors, Ford and Toyota stores in the U.S,” said Joel Gruber, CIO of RouteOne. “Our business is based completely on web services. In fact, if Web services didn’t exist, we couldn’t do what we do here.”

RouteOne uses Web services specifications found in the basic profile from the Web Services Interoperability Organization’s WS-I Basic Profile, a set of guidelines and tests that simplify the use of appropriate Web services standards. In addition to working with IBM Global Services, Route One also uses IBM WebSphere Application Server and WebSphere MQ software as well as a WebSphere DataPower SOA appliance to support its SOA. The infrastructure, which supports the WS-I basic profile, allows RouteOne to securely process sensitive loan information and easily establish standards-based connections to current and potentially new partners -- instead of creating thousands of proprietary connections.

“Many mid-sized firms seek the business benefits made possible by adapting an SOA business strategy, but can often be intimidated by its scope,” said Sandy Carter, vice president, SOA and WebSphere, IBM. “We are making it easier for these companies to achieve SOA type benefits for mission critical parts of their business by using Web services to connect previously disparate systems. This provides them with an excellent on ramp should they decide to adopt an SOA strategy.”

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