Software Architecture & SOA — March, 2009

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SOA Has Potential to Drive Supply Chain Innovation
The evolution of service oriented architecture has enabled significant opportunities for companies to expand their existing solutions without making large-scale upgrades and re-implementations. However, these solutions tend to be more suitable only for larger companies rather than mid-sized ones due to the initial investment needed to enable these solutions.

Aberdeen benchmarked the priorities of various infrastructure areas within supply chain as part of the benchmark report titled Supply Chain Innovator's Technology Footprint 2008. Companies are focused on leveraging the following capabilities in their supply chain technology road maps: business process management, supply chain event management (and alerting platforms), and master data management (internal).

Compared to 2007, SOA and composite applications saw enhanced interest in the marketplace in 2008. The general market is becoming more aware of the underlying technology used by BPM and SCEM solutions. There are proof-of-concept implementations under way in the IT organizations of Fortune 500 companies with oversight by the supply chain line-of-business organizations.

SOA for Enabling SCM Applications

These are the characteristics of SOA enablement of SCM applications:...
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Trends and IT Outlook For Integrated Supply Chain Applications
In 2009, expect most large WMS and WCS applications to remain dedicated applications tailored to a company's particular business rules, with SOA concepts appearing primarily in the integration interface.

Supply chain applications cover a wide range of requirements. At the front end of the supply chain are systems that perform demand planning and order management. The middle of the supply chain includes trading partner management and manufacturing execution. The back end is concerned with efficiently warehousing, picking and transporting products to the end user.

No single provider covers all functions efficiently. The ERP space is a broad definition that covers many of the front-end and in-house production tools. ERP providers such as SAP and Oracle do provide warehousing and transportation management modules, but many companies still rely upon dedicated supply chain software vendors such as Manhattan Associates and RedPrairie for these functions.

ERP providers have been at the forefront of the architectural changes known as service-oriented architecture. These changes are designed to allow companies to connect applications together in flexible ways to answer ever-changing business processes and requirements. SOA features complex applications that can interact with each other not through...
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Supply Chains Evolve into Multi-Enterprise Business Networks

There is nearly unanimous recognition of the need for supply chain transformation driven by factors such as the globalization of supply, increasing competitive pressures, and dwindling product life cycles from companies. This transformation's initial state is the linear supply chains of the past and the final state is a dynamic multi-enterprise business network.

The distributed nature of multi-enterprise supply chains has resulted in processes between business partners around both supply and demand interactions to become more complex. Buyers are providing stricter order fulfillment requirements to their suppliers, as well as maintaining the ongoing pressure to reduce costs. Electronically connecting and collaborating with suppliers, customers and other critical parties, such as transportation carriers, is vital to thriving in this demanding environment. Aberdeen refers to this set of complex interactions and supporting infrastructure as the business network.

Supply chain technologies have evolved. We are currently in the multi-party SCM (Generation 3 SCM) phase enabled by technologies like service-oriented architecture (SOA) and business process management (BPM) as identified in Aberdeen's Supply Chain Innovator's Technology Footprint 2008 report.

The key ingredients of multi-party SCM are:...
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Software Architecture and SOA, and What It Does for You
Service-oriented architecture, or SOA, is a way of standardizing applications so they can talk to each other. It means that companies can easily communicate with each other on data and process levels. Among other things, SOA is working on the back end of on-demand services, so you may already be benefiting from SOA, according to Nari Viswanathan, research director at Aberdeen Group. The analyst walks viewers through the SOA landscape, addressing such issues as what companies need service-oriented architecture, and what vendors to work with....
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In a Troubled Economy, Business Software Sector Is Still Winning the Confidence of Venture Capitalists
Venture capitalists are widely reported to have pulled back from the high-tech sector in the wake of the dotcom crash and subsequent travails of the marketplace. Nevertheless, VCs appear to be sticking with business software vendors. In the second quarter of this year, they invested a disclosed $7.39bn in 990 deals, according to data from AMR Research, PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association. And while those numbers were down from the $7.5bn and 977 deals reported in this year's first quarter, they were essentially on par with activity during the same period of 2007. The average deal size...
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