Executives at Norwegian banking group Sparebank detailed the lessons other businesses can learn from its major service oriented architecture (SOA) project.
To improve its online banking and credit checking service, Sparebank moved its online banking systems from a Sun Solaris platform to a J2EE based HP Proliant and Intel Xeon architecture running Linux. It also implemented a BEA WebLogic Server platform to reduce infrastructure complexity.
Speaking at BEA Systems Arch2Arch Summit, a customer event held in Nice, Jon Ola Hove, Sparebank’s senior IT architect said the business objectives were to provide a better and more stable service, lower costs, and to ensure a shorter time to market.
However, SOA implementations can hit some difficult hurdles. “The main issues have been ensuring security and stability during the project,” Hove said.
The costs of service development have also been an issue for the bank. Hove explained: “Services are now deployed as a separate unit, not part of the system that uses them. Often on projects people do not prioritise service development owing to the extra costs.”
A typical implementation might involve non-IT decision makers, analysts, business consultants and managers right up to the chief executive officer (CEO) of a business. Each change made can require extensive testing. With different operational staff involved in an SOA project, Hove said that “you can end up with people having different priorities”.
“It is essential to create clear service standards for everyone to follow, and to avoid having more services than you need. You need to test the services and focus on their design, scalability and reliability, and corporate governance,” Hove advised delegates.
Hove said flexible, modular and adaptable business processes, the use of shared services, and a looser coupling between a service contract and its implementation were all factors that would help Sparebank achieve project success.
The bank claimed that customer satisfaction had increased 12% in the last two years as a result, and its servers could now handle twice as much traffic.
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