Sandy Carter: Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) -- Off the Record
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I am just back from Dubai where I saw a lot of the marina area. (More on Dubai later!)
So I thought of Crowley Maritime for our SOA story time who operates globally in a variety of businesses with a mantra of “Small Company Mentality, Big Company Efficiency.” Founded in 1892, and family run ever since, Crowley Maritime began with a single 18 ft. rowboat servicing ships and sailors in San Francisco Bay.
Their primary logistics operations are based here in Florida. Over the following century, the Crowleys have grown and transformed the business into a major provider of maritime services ranging from tugs and barges to containerships, with operations from Central America and the Caribbean to Alaska’s North Slope.
Their CEO is not guiding a carefully paced streamlining and repositioning of the company to meet the new challenges of its second century of operations. As Crowley Maritime has grown, it has accumulated business lines and strategies that needed reexamining and improvement in light of changing market conditions that have made ‘return to core competencies’ the new reality for many industries. Crowley turned to SOA as the foundation for reshaping their business for the next century.
The started with IBM Advanced Enterprise Service Bus as the backbone for corporate integration to connect disparate application components without each application component having complete dependency on other application components by service enabling existing assets. One early benefit was a reduction — by at least half — of the usual time and costs incurred in tying new, third-party applications into the Crowley core infrastructure, which included a legacy mainframe-based customer-information system. With a 30-year-old system that was heavily customized, this was no small achievement. Under previous practices, integration projects typically ate up about 300 work hours of people in the Crowley information technology group. More important for Crowley Maritime were the strategic benefits, which are part of the ongoing savings and increased operational efficiencies. Early results were seen when a major business initiative at Crowley was launched.
This major initiative, implementation of a transportation management system for inter-modal transportation, was purchased and effectively “plugging into” the adapter framework and the ESB. This particular inter-modal transportation management system automates the routing of Crowley cargo containers — several hundred per day — to dozens of terminals across North America. The application manages and improves operational efficiency of the intermodal portion of Crowley Maritime’s ocean shipping business. As the first true test of the ability of the Crowley Service Oriented Architecture to easily integrate with a substantial package, the adapter framework and Enterprise Service Bus performed above expectations and with unprecedented flexibility. They began to see immediate operational efficiencies.
The routes chosen were, on average, better, cheaper and faster. They raised the quality of services and increased customer satisfaction. The ability to create services for legacy applications has subsequently added life to legacy applications that were not ready for replacement (due to years of heavy customization and unique abilities of that existing package).[Read More]
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I love shopping! I like the hunt for a bargain, the thrill of getting great quality and the fun of haning out with friends while we hunt!
Yansha is part of my fun of shopping in China! Yansha is one of China’s largest regional retailers. An upscale brand with revenues in the billions of Yuan each year they sell high-end, exclusive goods from brands such as Versace, Prada and Calvin Klein. In order to maintain its market leadership position, they needed to increase its competitiveness against both local retailers and new foreign competitors in an increasingly deregulated Chinese retail industry.
Yansha saw that the best way forward was to transform the way it does business with its supply chain partners through the adoption of new business processes, automation and business intelligence. Yansha deployed a first-of-its-kind supply chain management (SCM) platform that leverages SOA to integrate enterprise resource planning (ERP) and SCM applications. The platform enables Yansha and its suppliers to leverage new real-time performance information to provide transparency into supply chain business processes and generate actionable business intelligence, setting new standards of efficiency.
With the SOA solution, they have reduced order lead time from 2.5 days to 4.5 hours, improved order acknowledgement rate from 80 to 99 percent, and reduced order error rate from nine to one percent. All of this was done with a nine month ROI.
To read more, click here!
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OK. I admit it. I am hooked -- the Wii and even my daughter's DS! That's why I love this SOA reference!
Sega, as a computer game company has received worldwide praise. While focusing on their core content, Sega as a company has produced entertainment products and services one after another. In recent years it has released hit products creating a market for children’s computer entertainment, including “Mushi [Bug] King, The King of Beetles”.
The company aims at dynamically developing businesses with unique products that can create new game markets, like the first ever sensory video games, “Hang-on”, and “UFO Catcher” did in the past. New ideas and new ideas are the two most important requirements for succeeding in doing this, though of course since it is also necessary to smoothly hitch a timely ride on market trends, speed is essential for such development. This means that the information systems supporting such development, must also be very fast.
To meet this demanding business landscape, Sega had to rethink their IT systems to enable business. They decided that the solution was to build a human workflow system using Business Process Execution Language (hereinafter “BPEL”) with a Service Oriented Architecture. It could then define things like service orders and branches accessed during business processes.
For the execution environment for the BPEL human workflow system, they use IBM WebSphere Process Server IBM WebSphere Integration Developer for development. The basic principle was to start small, and initially it focused on building a new human workflow engine and a new payment slip workflow system which use BPEL for its basic functions.
After implementing this, the project grew to be company wide. Their business processes included circular memoranda of approval and 30 old workflow systems that would have been wasteful to just eliminate them, but remaking them would have been very costly. So they decided to take an SOA approach and to wrap as services the processes of the old workflow systems, allowing them to seamlessly connect with the new workflow system. What the users see is identical to what they saw before, and the application procedures are as simple to use as they were previously.
When it is demanded, each unit of existing assets is individually wrapped so through loose coupling the new system can access it as a service, thus making real the potential of SOA while designing a new process layer.The system is extremely agile and productive from the design and development stage through operational implementation.[Read More]
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On our Board of Advisors is an organization for the Finnish Defense Forces. They are a strong supporter and user of the SOA approach.
The 17,000 employees of the Finnish Defense Forces (FDF) are responsible for territorial surveillance, safeguarding territorial integrity and defending national sovereignty in all situations. Comprised of the Finnish Army, Navy and Air Force, the FDF faces the challenge of managing and adapting to increasingly dynamic and complex situations with limited resources.
The FDF realized that closer coordination between its own service branches and with those of other nations was essential, but deeply entrenched silos in its command, control, communications and computing systems presented a major barrier. FDF created an SOA-based service hub that enables all branches to share common applications and—by enabling the dynamic reuse of services—allows the FDF to get new applications out to he field in a fraction of the time.
FDF is projecting 80 percent reduction in time required to develop new systems via SOA service reuse and projected 75 percent reduction in required infrastructure through consolidation and virtualization while providing tighter coordination and information sharing between FDF service branches. The solution includes WebSphere Portal with portlets enabled as services that utilize WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus as an ESB along with Tivoli software for monitoring.Read More]