Bottom Line: SOA makes you nimble. At Axiaware, we use SOA whenever we can, and we have never been disappointed with the results.

I was leaving for work the other morning and I faced a big decision: what should I listen to in the car? Sometimes I listen to morning radio to get a good laugh, and sometimes I just like music. Today I wanted music, so I started looking for a CD (yes, I still actually buy CDs).

On top of my CD rack were the most used discs: my kids' stuff. After I made it through The Wiggles and The Backyardigans, I found the adult material. Next, I had to bypass my wife's music (no REO Speedwagon, thank you). Finally, I located one of my favorite artists, Stevie Ray Vaughn. I'm a big fan of the blues guitar. I popped the disc into my car and I was on my way.

Now believe it or not, you just heard about a service oriented architecture (SOA) applied in real life. The key components of SOA are:
  • Each system is broken down into small parts, called services
  • Each service does a specialized job
  • Services may be dependent on other services to do their job, but
  • They don't care who, how or where the job gets done.

When I wanted to hear music, I picked a CD and put it in my CD player. My CD player didn't care that Stevie Ray recorded the music in Austin, or that Sony manufactured the disc in Japan. It just played it. My CD player didn't care who, how or where the CD was made-those were services it didn't need to know about. It just needed a finished product.

So why is this important for you? Let's talk about a software example to see why. Three years ago Axiaware built a system for one of our banking clients. The system was designed to make loan payments using money from accounts at other banks. We designed it with SOA flexibility from the ground up, so it didn't matter what type of loan was being paid, and it didn't matter who was making the payment (a person or another system).

Three years later, the system is cranking along, with some new features. We have added new loan products and integrated three new risk prevention models. In the near future, three new systems will make payments through it and two more products will be added. The system's SOA architecture made all of these changes easy. Why is this a big deal? Because it makes the system nimble.

So how does this apply to your business? When you buy or build a software system for your business, it should adhere to SOA principles. Why? Because it makes you and your business nimble. Regardless of whether you are playing a music CD or rolling out a new product or service, you want all of your systems to work together easily, and that is what SOA gives you.

Bottom Line: SOA makes you nimble. At Axiaware, we use SOA whenever we can, and we have never been disappointed with the results.

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