Ten companies where SOA made a difference in 2006

eBay, IBM, Wachovia Bank, Harley Davidson, HP, Amerprise Financial, Amazon, Citigroup, OnStar, and DreamWorks all reported seeing benefits from their SOA efforts in 2006.

The year 2006 was a busy one for SOA proponents; many service-oriented architectures moved from the pilot stages to live deployments. Many companies have been able to demonstrate value from their SOA efforts; here are some outstanding examples I reported on in this blogsite throughout the year.

Abstracting enterprise information from underlying systems. eBay employs SOA as a software-based integration tier to manage more than two petabytes of data; or 200 times the size of the Library of Congress. eBay is made up of more than six million lines of code and the company rolls out more than 100,000 lines of new code every two weeks. In addition, there are 30,000 software builds per week. "We leverage both component-oriented and service-oriented architecture technologies," says James Barrese, vice president of systems development at eBay. "eBay has built a service architecture and uses it to enable integration across disparate technology stacks. For example, we have enabled open interoperation between our C++ and Java technologies via services."

Reducing application inventories. At the time this report was originally posted last spring, IBM had 77 shareable and reusable services in production — ranging from authentication to order fulfillment — as part of its own service-oriented architecture. Howie Miller, IBM’s vice president for enterprise architecture, said that the most notable outcome of IBM’s internal SOA efforts is the fact that Big Blue was able to reduce its inventory of 16,000 applications in 1998 to 4,000 applications today. The secret sauce to streamlining down to a quarter of its applications was governance, Miller explained. “The governance model helped us achieve that nice statistic. Over the past decade, IBM has trimmed down its own internal portfolio from 16,000 applications to 4,000. It’s how we plan to go from more big integrated spaghetti code applications to more component-based Web services. That same governance model will be part of what gets us moving forward to the SOA-based approach.” Decisions about new technology investments are vetted through an Enterprise Architecture Council and Investment Review Board run by the CIO.

"Rocking the boat," bringing IT closer to the business, and improving business productivity. IT movers and shakers at Wachovia Bank used SOA techniques to "rock the boat" and changed their organization's culture. Wachovia's SOA consists of business services and frameworks available for reuse across the enterprise. Reuse was the driving force behind the project. Susan Certoma, CIO of Wachovia, observed that "each business had been building similar capabilities over and over," which included desktop presentation, data management, workflow management, messaging, and customer information management." One of the most notable improvements gained from the SOA has been in the productivity of the investment brokers. Before, Certoma said, a lot of them were modeling deals in Excel, and it would take anywhere from half an hour to a couple hours.â€

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