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Mix-and-Match Applications

Service-oriented architectures (SOAs) create a technology environment in which organizations theoretically can mix and match applications among legacy systems and new systems, custom in-house code and off-the-shelf software, in-house systems and outsourced service bureaus, and competing technology providers. The benefits from SOAs include faster development, better integration and easier customization.

Microsoft and IBM long have been vocal proponents of the technology strategy. Now, the SOA banner also is being taken up in the applications camp—by Oracle (Redwood Shores, Calif.), through its Fusion middleware; and by SAP (West Chester, Pa.), with its ambitious plan to create a network of banks that share SOA components (see article, page 17). And SOA components also can reside on a network. Another deployment model involves industry cooperative SWIFT, which is a willing host for the various components of an SOA in the financial services industry.

AberdeenGroup (Boston) estimates that SOA technology will lead to $53 billion in IT cost savings by the world's largest companies over the next five years. But before those savings can be realized, IT departments have to understand the implications of SOA technology. Out of 300 IT and business executives surveyed, only 16 percent had more than two years experience working with SOAs, according to the research firm.

BS&T's forecast: 100 percent of our readers will have at least two years of SOA experience by 2008. --I.S.

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