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The Object Management Group (OMG) recently announced its support for a new architecture for distributed systems, which it calls the Model Driven Architecture or MDA. The new architecture is the result of considerable discussion by OMG members over the past several years.

The MDA is based on established OMG standards, such as the Unified Modeling Language (UML) and the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) programming model, as well as on innovative work by companies such as CIBER, Iona Global Services (formerly Genesis Development), Roesch Consulting and Data Access Worldwide.

While it's too early to cite any examples of companies that have used the MDA throughout a major project development effort, it is possible to describe one of the corporate efforts that have relied on an approach similar to MDA. This example is the Wells Fargo Business Object Services (BOS) system.

Wells Fargo's architecture integration strategy was described recently by Eric Castain, the company's senior vice president for BOS, during an OMG press briefing held in conjunction with the OMG's announcement of its MDA. Following is Castain's explanation of how the MDA is helping Wells Fargo better cope with an array of integration needs.

The Wells Fargo Integration Challenge and BOS

Wells Fargo bank is known worldwide for its stagecoach logo and its advertising campaign featuring a stagecoach delivering financial services in the American Old West at the end of the nineteenth century. In spite of this popular historical theme, however, Wells Fargo today is a thoroughly modern financial services firm. This year, it was ranked by BusinessWeek as the fourth-largest bank in the United States, with a market value of $85 billion, and it made InformationWeek's September 2000 list of the leading IT innovators.

During the past decade, Wells Fargo has also established a reputation as an aggressive banking organization that has acquired a number of other banks and merged them to create a growing financial services organization. This acquisition strategy has created major challenges for its information systems organization. In effect, every year or so Wells Fargo's IS group has been forced to incorporate new legacy applications and databases into its already complex software architecture. The company has in fact established a well-deserved reputation for being sophisticated in its approach to integrating merged systems.


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