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February 4, 2007

Service Oriented Architecture

This CIO article announcing support for SAPs ESAO in addition to Oracle's SOA launched a year ago validates the growing popularity of software integration services based on Service Oriented Architecture to stitch disparate systems together. SOA may be viewed as a panacea for solving the Best of Breed integration problem. Too often, though, IT organizations will roll out a new methodology to resolve transaction and reference data synchronization issues, without dealing with some of the underlying issues with BoB.

The issue that many organizations face are that the Best of Breed point solution approach is costly. While one has the advantage of simple, easy to use and meets end user exact requirements, the 'behind the scenes' costs of support, integration, software upgrades, end user training, as well as the overhead of managing data access and data quality, ensuring governance and controls are in place for all the applications at the same level, all of which can be quite daunting. Enter Oracle's unique approach 'Applications Unlimited', which uses the Fusion Middleware to integrate all of the Applications Suites (Oracle E-Business Suite, JD Ewards, Peoplesoft Enterprise, and Siebel) together.

Nevertheless, the Best of Breed approach should still be evaluated carefully before embarking on the support and operation of disparate point applications. The investment should cover not only IT initial hardware, software and implementation and customization costs, but also software support fees, IT operations support, ongoing training, skills enhancement as new features are introduced and product knowledge management, integration, and upgrades - often on different technology stacks and on different schedules. On the other hand, the benefits arising from the implementation must be carefully evaluated as well. The direct savings arising from the efficiencies gained from a point solution in one process may likely be offset by the negative as well as positive impacts to one or more other business process efficiencies, which are often unexpected or under-estmated. In any event, a full analysis of the costs and benefits of a BoB implementation should ensure that the true costs and benefits are included in any recommendation.

Posted by alexfiteni at February 4, 2007 1:02 PM


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