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Introduction

 

The market is fast-changing, with rapidly evolving blend of various technologies, each promising you a faster, better, more efficient and cost-effective solution. Each of these technologies operates as silos in their own uniquely identified eco-system. By shifting the focus from monolithic coarse-grained legacy systems to manifold fine-grained new-generation systems, SOA has ushered in a revolution that cannot be ignored. Accelerating business process innovations, leveraging legacy IT investments, simplifying the integration of heterogeneous environments, building user-centric composite applications, SOA leverages the power of service orientation to create a platform for continuous growth. With service orientation, IT drives businesses to change; Businesses no longer wait for IT.

 

SOA – What is in it for me?

 

Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) is a design approach that is intended to build a common application platform for diverse technologies to communicate with each other profitably and to bring alive complex, mind-boggling business scenarios by means of a series of simple, interactive steps. SOA enables business and IT by facilitating a common platform for applications development.

 

SOA revolutionizes IT in a way that Internet revolutionized Web technologies. Drawing an analogy with the Internet, what HTTP is to Internet, SOAP is to SOA; what HTML is to Internet, WSDL is to SOA, and what a Web page is to Internet, Web Services are to SOA.

 

SOA enables platform independence by wrapping up utilities in the form of Web Services. Web Services are a set of self-contained, self-describing application functionalities, based on open standards such as SOAP, XML, etc. Web Services are a new breed of web applications, with standard web-based plug-and-play interfaces, that carry unique signatures to them. They abstract all the programming complexities of the persistence layer from the eco-system beyond them. Services expose functionality via messages that are exchanged with other services. Web Services are accessible from across diverse application platforms by means of their signatures. They are loosely coupled making it easy to share data across applications.

 

SOA also makes use of the UDDI https://weblogs.sdn.sap.com/cs/blank/edit/wlg/(Universal Description, Discovery and Integration Service), which is a repository for Web Services from various applications. UDDI provides a mechanism to dynamically post, find, and consume Web Services from diverse applications, thus exponentially expanding the innovative horizons of application development.

 

Service orientation begins where networks end (Network Endpoints), and carries forward the utilities beyond known application boundaries to create an illusion of infiniteness in application building.

 

Enterprise Service-Oriented Architecture (ESA)

ESA = SOA + Enterprise Content.

 

Enterprise SOA is SAP’s blueprint for service based enterprise scale business solutions.  E-SOA goes beyond Web Services. It combines various Web Services into an “Enterprise Service”. Enterprise Services are business processes at a granularity defined at different business levels. Technically Enterprise Services function as Web Services as it works on the same technical principles of SOAP, WSDL, UDDI, etc. However, Enterprise SOA uses pre-defined business content with SAP NetWeaver as its technical foundation.

 

Enterprise Services allow you to develop complex business applications called Composite Applications to quickly adapt to new and evolving business processes and scenarios by gathering data and information available in the existing landscapes. It also allows you to easily modify and expand the scenarios by means of simple, guided, process orchestration steps. Enterprise services make use of Open services standards to communicate across disparate systems thus forcing a paradigm shift in the technology and business perspectives. The order-to-cash business scenario is a classic illustration of the benefits of Enterprise Services Architecture.

 

Composite Applications

 

Composite Applications are placed at the consuming end of the Web Services. These are complex business applications that are built by orchestrating together several bits of processing logic (processes) which in turn are encapsulated within the Web Services. Utilizing the services is like calling a Function module or a Class method using its signature.

 

Composite Applications are powerful drivers of SOA. For example, in the Order to Cash Scenario, SOA ushers in a very positive and alluring business transformation. It enables the organization to dynamically process a purchase order raised by a customer from a legacy system, trigger the processing of the order in mySAP ERP, provide for an user interface in NetWeaver’s Enterprise Portal to create shipments and deliveries, integrate NetWeaver’s Visual Composer for real-time analytics, obtain process proofs with use of Adobe forms, integrate NetWeaver MI for mobile interfacing, use RFID for data scanning and so on.

 

SAP NetWeaver and SOA

 

SAP NetWeaver is the backbone of a Service-Oriented application involving SAP. If your company is running applications on SAP (or planning to), it needs SAP NetWeaver for E-SOA enablement. SOA allows you to leverage all the capabilities of NetWeaver while also integrating your legacy systems’ capabilities, thus enabling you to integrate the best of breeds in technology and choose the best practices from the market and deploy them in a way that makes maximum business sense and yields maximum business benefits. 

 

For businesses, this translates into:

  • Efficient processes
  • Efficient people
  • Ease and flexibility to adapt to fast-evolving business scenarios
  • Ability to re-combine diverse and complex systems
  • Ability to respond to new customers
  • Higher ROI
  • Lower risks
  • A drive in productivity
  • A platform for continuous growth

 

Conclusion

 

Enterprise SOA transforms businesses from:

  • Functional Silos to Seamless Integrations
  • Potential Risks to Competitive Advantages
  • Fallacies to Certainties
  • Classic Barriers to Innovative Accomplishments
  • Constraints and Contingencies to Flexibility and Adaptability
  • Challenges to Strategic Advantages

 

Thus, Enterprise SOA brings in a paradigm shift in every sphere of IT, enabling faster transactions, efficient processes, greater re-usability, better utilization of Human Resources, thereby enabling businesses, and driving productivity.

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