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New push for SOA beyond enterprise walls

B-to-b e-business, the next frontier for SOA.

I had the opportunity to chat with John Senor, president of iWay Software (a division of Information Builders), which announced the other week that it is offering an enterprise service bus and accompanying SOA-based integration tools. Senor outlined the three leading scenarios in which reusable business services are deployed:

  • The service is consumed in a composite application, such as a portal app.
  • The service is consumed in an existing EAI tool.
  • The service supports an inter-enterprise (b to b) interaction.

      Senor focused on the third aspect of SOA that doesn't get a lot of play -- the creation and support of trading partner agreements to support external transactions with business partners. Ironically, the initial impetus for Web services in the early part of the decade was to offer better integration for e-business between business partners and customers. 

      Standards such as ebXML and OASIS ebXML Registry have been out there for some time, but the SOA action to date has been on internal integration. That may change as organizations get their SOA houses in order and recognize that they can just as easily integrate with partners' systems as their own.

      "People have many, many electronic business partners," Senor said. "They want to tie b-to-b exchanges directly into applications or data that reside inside their enterprises. They may want to define a business service, such as processing purchase orders against SAP, and link that in a reusable way into a b-to-b exchange."

      Readers, I'll throw this out to you:  Do you treat external links with partners and customers as a separate effort from your internal service architecture? Should they be separate efforts, by separate departments?