SOA as perfect answer to current market conditions
By Elena Doll, SAP NetWeaver Product Management – SOA Middleware
Globalization makes the whole world grow together. We are facing more and more a highly competitive and global market. The number of providers in the market is growing and the competition is intense. Information just flows into the world in seconds. Customer can easily get access to product providers worldwide. Companies need innovative differentiation to win the customers.
Nowadays the market could change overnight. Businesses need to be flexible to react to those changes in time or even anticipate them. IT increasingly influences the success of companies. Business and IT seem to merge and companies need to pay attention to that while formulating their strategy. The IT infrastructure should be flexible and adapted to the needs of the organization and support the whole business process. To achieve this, businesses build their IT strategy based on SOA (Service Oriented Architecture).
SOA gives the right answer in many ways:
- Time and cost efficiency
- Merging IT and business
- Improving quality of processes
- Supports holistic view of business processes
- Optimizes communication between systems and business processes
- Supports Differentiation
- Offers Independence
- Adds Flexibility
- Supports Innovation
- Enables B2B networks
Time and Cost Efficiency
First of all SOA reduces time and cost in different ways. SOA helps to reduce the time to market. IT plays often a key role in ensuring the market launch of new products and services. Researchers see SOA as a way to shorten the time to market and time to scale, due to the Reusability of existing business services. Furthermore SOA enables increased process productivity, flexibility and automation.
IT and Business merging
As global competition and the speed of change in the global market increases, successful businesses have to stop focusing on business and IT as two separate strategies. IT and business need to go hand in hand. IT surely can be a supportive factor if you think of fast adaptability to changes or to different business needs etc. SOA Middleware enables the combination of IT and Business in many ways.
Concerning quality the study emphasizes that SOA helps companies achieving a higher business process quality through a higher automation rate within a business process with less manual interference. This leads to an increased process efficiency including less errors and a decreased process execution time.
Businesses need to think global in times of globalization. This should be also reflected in the company itself. Companies always take a look at their whole business to see the connections and dependencies between departments and functionalities. SOA gives you the possibility to build your whole business based on services and processes and therefore to optimize the whole business strategy through your IT strategy. It therefore offers for example BPM as part of SOA. BPM provides an intuitive graphical tool for an easy business process development. It helps organizing and optimizing your whole business based on processes.
Communication is the heart of the business. Information needs to flow in time from one point to the next. Employees need access to necessary information in time. Successful organizations improve the exchange of information through collaborative work environments for improved communication or through the real-time access to business information. SOA Middleware integrates all backend systems like SAP, Non-SAP and Legacy systems. This improves and simplifies information exchange between them and makes them work together as seamlessly as possible. It also supports a high volume throughput through a decentralized architecture in its ESB (Enterprise Service Bus).
On the current market you need to make a difference to be the chosen provider. Therefore businesses focus on their individual strength and provide advantages. SOA supports you with individual adaptable and fast created services, according to the companies business needs. SOA allows you to create new applications on top of existing enterprise solutions, increasing the value of your current systems and automating new processes.It provides a more flexible business process platform with increased granularity and reusability of services.
In addition SOA keeps you independent of a specific provider and makes you more flexible. You can build services on your own according to your needs or you choose services out of the whole bucket of services that are available at your disposal in the market. That means you choose out of everything and therefore out of the best and optimized service portfolio you can find. You won’t get tied to a provider and you can always choose what seems to be a perfect fit for you.
In one day the whole world market could change. With SOA you are prepared for new requirements in the market environment. It gives you the flexibility and agility to quickly react to those changes. SOA offers an easy application modeling by exposing services as WSDL based on open standards. Services are therefore reusable and can easy be changed or enhanced. That allows a fast adoption to the changing markets and keeps you ready for the next challenge.
SOA supports you to be innovative. The ability to innovate is essential to success. Innovation could be the creation of a product that hasn’t been on the market before even though there is a need for that product. It occurs in different types like process innovation, product and service innovation and technology innovation. For those kinds of innovation you typically need distributed applications. According to research, SOA seems to be the preferred underlying architecture.
SOA allows the integration of external partners like in case of mergers and acquisitions or for business network transformations. To survive between big companies and market leaders companies tend to merge or cooperate with strategic business partners for the development of innovative products. SOA supports this strategy through the possibility of an easy, secure and optimized connection to external partners focusing on collaboration and information sharing. SOA supports the building and management of such networks. It helps to accelerate and simplify the integration of business processes and applications.
There are a lot more benefits from SOA like governance, open standards, transparency, security, one point of control….and so on.