IBM opens four SOA design centers

Hoping to give its strategies surrounding Systems Oriented Architectures (SOAs) a boost among corporate users, IBM on Tuesday announced it has opened four SOA Design Centers to help corporate users sculpt enterprise-level solutions, at its CIO Summit on SOAs in Toronto.

The four new centers, located in Austin, Beijing, Delhi, and Hursely, will offer corporate and third-party users at several different points of entry at which to deploy an SOA as part of an overall effort to help them create an on-demand business. Those entry points include implementing specific Web services, integrating SOA functions that span all their business units, and enterprise-wide SOA deployments.

"We will get involved with users who are facing significant business problems pretty early on. Our approach will be rather than have the technology drive the business, we will focus on the business needs driving the technology," said Jason Weisser, IBM's vice president of enterprise integration.

While the design centers will help with the creation of new applications, the preference will be to disassemble existing products "at the user facing environment," and reuse them at a component level, Weisser said.

"And where there is a delta between what the products can do today and what they need to be able to do to meet the individual business need, we can both design and build those products at the design centers," Weisser said.

IBM architects will work in concert with corporate users, their business partners, and IBM's Global Services organization to map business processes and reshape IT infrastructure that can be more quickly and easily implemented. Company officials said they expect some of the technology to be developed and used at the design centers may be first-of-a-kind SOA deployments.

The resulting work done at the new centers will serve to complement the ongoing work of the IBM Global Services SOA Centers of Excellence, said Weisser. Those centers leverage the expertise of IBM's Business Consulting Services, which can help users in vertical industries better identify business processes, how to change them, and how these changes can be implemented using an SOA.

IBM executives at Tuesday's event are also expected to present several vertical industry views of SOA, as well as offer a platform for several corporate users to state what they believe are the business benefits of their SOA-based projects.

The new centers will use as technology building blocks IBM's WebSphere Application Server, Tivoli's management and security software, along with a number of integration tools, a company spokesman said.

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