IBM Sees Growing Market Demand for Service Oriented Architecture as Thousands Gather at Inaugural ’IMPACT’ Global User Conference
Thousands of IBM’s (NYSE: IBM) customers and Business Partners are gathered this week for IBM IMPACT 2007, IBM’s inaugural worldwide customer event focused on advancing the $160 billion opportunity for service oriented architecture (SOA) through education and demonstrable business results. More than 4,500 IBM customers have modeled their businesses around SOA, a business strategy that helps a company reuse existing technology to more closely align it with business goals, helping to result in greater efficiencies, cost savings and productivity.
In addition to addressing the serious SOA IT skills shortage, IBM is also announcing new software and services at IMPACT. Further, more than 100 IBM customers including Cardinal Health, Wachovia and Royal Caribbean will share experiences on how an SOA strategy has made an impact on their businesses to be more innovative, flexible and efficient. The week-long event also features more than 400 sessions targeted to four key audiences: business leaders, information technology (IT) executives, technical communities and the roles that intersect business and IT.
“SOA has been a growth engine for IBM as well as our customers because it gives companies the much-needed flexibility to focus on achieving business results without being hindered by the constructs of established infrastructures,” said Steve Mills, senior vice president, IBM Software. “IBM’s differentiation is in its ability to address business challenges using the right balance of business and technical skills along with an unmatched, multi-pronged approach to meeting customers’ needs.”
Using Serious Gaming to Close the SOA Skills Gap
A recent study found that 56 percent of IBM customers cited lack of skills, mainly individuals with a blending of IT technical understanding and business process acumen, as the leading inhibitor to SOA. To address the SOA skills shortage, IBM is announcing new tools and certification programs to help organizations develop teams of individuals with so-called “T-shaped” skills, which encompass both deep business skills, represented by the horizontal line of the “T,” and technical understanding, represented by the vertical line. They include:
A new, interactive SOA game called Innov8: A BPM Simulator, an interactive, 3-D educational game simulator designed to bridge the gap in understanding between IT teams and business leaders in an organization. This type of serious gaming -- simulations which have the look and feel of a game but correspond to non-game events or processes such as business operations -- has emerged as a successful method to retrain or develop new skills. This simulator is a result of the annual IBM SOA case study competition among graduate students at Duke University and the University of North Carolina. The game, which is played with a joy stick, is based on advanced, commercial gaming technologies and allows players to visualize how an SOA affects different parts of the organization. Together, users can literally see business processes, identify bottlenecks, and explore ’what if’ scenarios before the SOA is deployed.
Additionally, IBM is launching “IBM TV: Impact Channel,” an online portal that contains webcasts, podcasts, demos, white papers and other resources targeted to business and IT professionals as well as those looking to develop T-shaped skills.
IBM has enhanced its SOA certification and education programs with new, self-paced and instructor-led courses conducted online and in classrooms. With more than 218 SOA-based courses for every level in an organization, IBM’s SOA curricula provide the roadmap to master the most highly sought-after SOA industry skills. IBM also continues to foster relationships with higher education institutions and is working with hundreds of colleges and universities around the world on SOA curricula.
Bridging IT and Business
To help companies succeed through the various stages of SOA evaluation and deployment, IBM is announcing eight new industry-specific SOA Roadmaps spanning six industries.
Each of the SOA roadmaps contains a business blueprint, which helps customers map the business side of an SOA strategy, and an industry-specific framework, which includes core technology used to execute the business blueprint. The new SOA Roadmaps focus on critical business process areas within a given industry. Some examples include online booking for the insurance industry, member enrollment and benefits/eligibility for healthcare, payments for banking, personal shopping for retail, service provisioning and service delivery for telecommunications and supply chain collaboration for industrial.
The business blueprints begin with detailed research that outlines industry challenges and how those industries can benefit from SOA. Each piece of research examines specific business scenarios, describing how those processes are typically executed today and how they could be improved with SOA. The business blueprint also recommends an SOA entry point to make it easier for businesses to know the best place to start to deliver the most immediate business benefits. IBM’s SOA entry points make it easier for customers to approach and initiate SOA projects. The three business entry points include people, process and information. The two technical entry points include connectivity and reuse.
The IBM SOA Industry Frameworks include technology from IBM and IBM Business Partners to help use SOAs. They provide customers with reusable, industry-specific software modules called business services based on the WebSphere Business Services Fabric that perform individual tasks tailored to the industry’s users, policies and methods. New SOA Industry Frameworks are specific to the banking, healthcare, telecom, retail, and insurance industries to add to the first framework for Product Lifecycle Management, which was announced late last year. Additional frameworks will follow later this year.
IBM is also announcing six new SOA professional services focused on SOA Diagnostic, SOA Strategy, SOA Implementation Planning, Business Process Management Enabled by SOA, SOA Design Development and Integration, and SOA Management. New capabilities include infrastructure and strategy workshops for SOA Strategy professional services, web application and portal infrastructure services for SOA Design, Development and Integration and a new testing center of excellence for SOA management.
New Software and Services
The new technologies and services being announced today align to customer entry points to SOA -- people, process, information, connectivity and reuse -- as well as support vertical industry, business process management and governance strategies.
IBM has successfully integrated technology from the recently acquired IBM DataPower SOA appliances and FileNet Content Management and Business Process Management (BPM) software into the IBM SOA portfolio. New offerings being announced today include the WebSphere DataPower Integration Appliance XI50, which now supports direct database connectivity including IBM’s DB2 data server extending the XI50’s enterprise service bus capabilities. It also adds support for WebSphere Transformation Extender design studio providing common data transformation tooling across IBM’s ESB portfolio. The XI50, along with a new version of the WebSphere DataPower XML Security Appliance XS40, now integrates with the IBM WebSphere Service Registry and Repository (WSRR) to offer enhanced governance capabilities and improve service interoperability, reuse and connectivity.
IBM has also integrated the capabilities of WebSphere software with the FileNet Business Process Manager. IBM Classification Module for IBM FileNet P8 delivers content classification as a service helping automate processes and decision-making to determine how a piece of content should be used. Both products can now be used in conjunction in the same environment. This allows business analysts and other non-IT staff to model business processes, document them and communicate them across the organization.
IBM has also enhanced its SOA portfolio for governance, information management and BPM, and has developed new software for protecting an organization’s existing IT investments.
New products for BPM include industry-specific templates with key methodologies and predefined configurable dashboards, which enable users to monitor business activities and adjust accordingly. Expanded Business Activity Monitoring software includes adapters that monitor activity from a variety of sources, including third party software, providing a single comprehensive view of business activity across an enterprise regardless of individual IT systems. Additionally, new BPM dashboards are now available to track and monitor the roles of people associated with a given activity.
A new version of IBM DB2 Dynamic Warehouse integrates IBM’s Information on Demand and SOA strategies to implement Dynamic Warehousing solutions. It enables organizations to effectively analyze and use information to help optimize business processes, improve customer service, increase employee productivity, reduce business risks and address regulatory compliance.
IBM’s SOA governance strategy focuses on the overall process needed to govern the SOA environment. It includes an end-to-end registry and repository strategy built around federation of registries. For services in production, the IBM WebSphere Service Registry and Repository (WSRR) software helps customers manage services and shared business processes. New features of WSRR focus on assisting in getting started quickly with new samples and templates and enhanced SOA Governance support. In addition, integration with IBM’s Tivoli Composite Application Manager (ITCAM) offers new applications management dashboards, business reporting and chargeback capabilities.
To further improve SOA governance with Service Lifecycle Management, IBM is introducing the IBM Rational Asset Manager. The Rational Asset Management is a registry of design, development and deployment related assets, such as services. This new collaborative asset management software gives organizations the ability to identify, manage and govern the design, development and consumption of services in SOA. Using IBM Rational Asset Manager allows organizations to reduce development cost and time; securely communicate across disparate global teams and eliminate rework with asset-traceability and utilization monitoring; and accelerate service delivery.
Technical Entry Points: Connectivity and Reuse
To further simplify Web services development, a new WebSphere Application Server feature pack is available. It includes wizards and dedicated editors to help users more easily build and reuse web services.
To support customers’ needs for supporting an SOA on a mainframe, IBM is introducing a new version of WebSphere Process Server on System z. This new software automates people and information-centric business processes and consolidates mission critical elements of a business onto a single system. The WebSphere Application Server and Process Server, combined with the recently announced DB2 9 for z/OS, to deliver System z based process and data services for SOA.
For additional information visit www.ibm.com/press/impact2007
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