Power to the people, with SOA

SOA shows its stuff within 24 hours.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

One of the challenges of SOA is that paybacks may take a long time as various pieces of applications are service enabled. Here's a story of payback in 24 hours.

A couple of weeks back, I talked about how Delaware Electric put a service-oriented architecture in place. Now, Rich Seeley (SearchWebServices) has come out with another article that's too good  to pass up. This time, it's an account of  how an electric utility was able to leverage its newly implemented SOA to help restore power to 52,000 customers.

All sorts of storms and tornados hit the Austin area May 4th of this year. Austin Energy had just went live with an SOA-based composite customer service system the day before, on May 3rd.

The SOA-based customer service system was designed to speed the time it takes for customer service reps to handle customers calling to report power outages. Andres Carvallo, CIO of Austin Energy, is quoted as saying that while the old system was limited to 4,000 work orders a day, the new system could potentially handle up to 50,000. Part of the reason is that the time to process each outage report was reduced from five to two minutes.

Austin Energy had begun work on the SOA-based system last fall, replacing more than 70 legacy systems with composite applications written in Java. The customer service implementation that saved the day is a composite application with five Web services designed to handle actions such as verifying the customer location and generating a work order to repair the outage. .

Carvallo said he met a lot of organizational resistance with the SOA plan. But proving itself in 24 hours -- now that's ROI.

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