The Value Proposition for Service-Oriented Integration

Connecting systems both within the enterprise and among suppliers, partners, and customers is of critical importance to today’s enterprise. However, integration remains complex, expensive, and risky. The increasing movement toward data virtualization, B2B systems, and legacy reuse is driving a need to integrate dozens, if not hundreds of systems in a single environment. The end result is a tangled web of point-to-point integrations that becomes increasingly brittle over time. The costs for both maintaining and changing systems can become exorbitant, since changing requirements necessitates manual recoding of applications. Enterprises are thus faced with an integration problem that grows at a rapidly increasing rate.

Standards-based Service-Oriented Architectures (SOAs) built on Web Services interfaces enable a new approach to integration. Known as Service-Oriented Integration (SOI), this integration approach leverages open standards, loose coupling, and the dynamic description and discovery capabilities of Web Services to reduce the complexity, cost, and risk of integration. While SOAs have certainly been around for a while, and certainly users have been experimenting with point-to-point implementations of Web Services, it is the combination of Web Services and SOAs that is especially potent.

Targeted at companies who must contend with an overwhelming number of integration projects, this paper introduces the concept of SOI, how it improves upon previous integration methods, and identifies key elements that are required for an SOI solution. Furthermore, this paper explores the ROI and value metrics users can realize from SOI approaches, and when SOI approaches are applicable and useful.

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