Managing and Integrating Extended Supply Chains
Web services to the rescue
Jun. 28, 2005 10:00 AM
A robust inter-company process solution or application must be built with an eye toward services to handle the requirements of a complex, multi-party transaction. Services such as those mentioned above are required to add the process logic inherent in a supply chain or manufacturing application to provide capability beyond simple B2B integration and e-mailed spreadsheets. Solutions that rely solely on incorporating a few open source libraries while leveraging a file system as an interconnect to accept and report on B2B messages are missing the vision of an SOA. The ability to add new protocols and new process functionality is key to differentiating the more sophisticated Web services architectures. For an application (monolithic or otherwise) to adequately support the complexity of a business process expressed as a service, it must consist of a number of specialized packages, thereby further stressing the need for the software to communicate with a variety of core services.
Leveraging Services for Software Delivery
SaaS is characterized by a combination of software architecture, delivery, and pricing models. This approach leverages SOAs, Web services, and other standards to create a highly modular integration framework. As companies are moving to layered and composite application frameworks to manage their componentized business models, they require a highly flexible and efficient operating environment that removes integration complexity.
There are two types of a SaaS models. The first provides service integration capabilities, which help manage inter-company processes by connecting people, processes, and information; the second provides service delivery and management, which represent a consolidated and logical view of resources across a services network.
An SaaS delivery model allows companies to consolidate their software and to support efforts around a single, integrated, and standards-based configuration, which minimizes the IT resources required for managing a highly complex and dynamic application. Furthermore, SaaS enables companies to rapidly (in weeks rather than in many months or years) configure and implement processes to meet their rapidly changing needs. It also allows companies to address the integration needs of cost-sensitive small- and medium-sized suppliers. Finally, SaaS can provide options for new revenue streams, such as the introduction of complementary software (like add-ons) and services offerings.
While this vision gains mainstream adoption, companies can begin preparing for this shift. A review of the current system architectures may lead to identifying where services can be introduced. For example, it may be possible to leverage a B2B Gateway Service or a Process Service for new business processes. By planning for services as the system evolves, it can slowly evolve to an SOA. Furthermore, a plan should be put in place for:
Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1
SOA World Latest Stories
Subscribe to the World's Most Powerful Newsletters
Subscribe to Our Rss Feeds & Get Your SYS-CON News Live!
SYS-CON Featured Whitepapers
Most Read This Week