Service-Oriented Automation
Industrial automation began in textile mills over 200 years ago with the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, and hit full stride in the last century with the evolution of machinery that could automate repetitive human tasks. The Information Revolution of the mid-twentieth century expanded the power of automation beyond manufacturing and across all parts of the organization, as one information technology (IT) innovation after another automated an increasingly expanding set of business processes. Each innovation, from the Jacquard loom to the transistor to TCP/IP, moved businesses up the spectrum of automation, from easily automated processes to processes that were increasingly difficult to automate. At some point, however, the effect of a given innovation peters out, and people must step in to manually handle the tasks that have been resistant to automation. That is, until the next innovation comes along and changes the game. Today’s game-changing trend is Service Orientation —…

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Levi, Ray, & Shoup Inc.: Rewriting Business Applications in a Service-Oriented Fashion
Founded in 1979, Levi, Ray, & Shoup (LRS) originally focused on Enterprise Output Management (EOM) solutions that take output from MVS mainframes and route it to network attached printers. The company quickly expanded to produce solutions for state and local pension funds. Given the long history of the company’s offerings, the product has gone through a few revisions, first coded for mainframe operation, and later modified it for client/server, desktop OS, and then Web-based operation. However, all this modification resulted in code that was frequently customized and “forked” for the benefit of individual customer requirements, resulting in overly-complex application logic, expensive customization, and inability to repurpose the application for new interfaces or other purposes. As such, the company decided in 2004 to take the bold and courageous move to completely rewrite their business application from scratch in a Service-oriented fashion. With SOA, LRS now has a way to truly configure…

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Webify Solutions: Enabling Agile Business Ecosystems with SOBA
The need for business agility is compromised by the inability of existing IT architectures to deal effectively with change. Companies need to move from their current tightly-coupled, inflexible, and costly IT infrastructures to architectures that are more flexible, loosely coupled, and enable efficient and effective reuse of previous IT investments. The movement to Service-Oriented Architectures (SOA) and Service-Oriented Business Applications (SOBA) promise to solve the seemingly intractable problem of business agility by providing a means by which business functions and processes can be consumed as “on demand services”. While SOA sounds simple and straightforward in concept, implementing SOA and realizing its primary business benefits is complex and difficult in practice for most businesses. The real complexity comes in trying to achieve practical loose coupling and semantic interoperability in the face of IT heterogeneity. To address these needs, Webify Solutions aims to provide solutions for emerging Service-oriented Business Applications (SOBA)…

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