IBM released SOA products for integrating software applications and improving business processes, and said more customers are starting to understand the SOA concept.
IBM is encouraging businesses to create discrete, "loosely coupled" processes that can be monitored individually and fine tuned for better performance. Building such an architecture can be complex and requires services from IBM, but the result should be a more nimble and competitive business, according to IBM.
The first new offering is a set of software packages to help companies in specific industries – initially healthcare, insurance, banking and telecommunications – automate processes using an SOA, or services-oriented architecture. The term refers to a way of designing IT systems so that services, such as an insurance claim approval, can be reused or modified more easily.
The packages come with pre-built templates for processes and standards common to each of the four industries. The healthcare package, for example, ensures that SOA applications comply with the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act for managing healthcare data.
The offerings stem from IBM's acquisition last year of Webify Solutions, which focused on the healthcare and insurance industries. IBM updated those packages and created others for the two new industries, said Manoj Saxena, a vice president with IBM Global Business Services and formerly Webify's CEO. It has also translated the products into several languages.
The packages, each known as a WebSphere Business Services Fabric, start from $300,000 (£150,000) for an unlimited number of processors and end users, IBM said.
The company also released an update to WebSphere Business Monitor, which tracks the performance of business processes. "For example, if I'm an insurance company I might have a goal to process claims about chipped windshields in two hours. This tool shows me how long I am taking, and I can see that the problem is originating from my processing centre in Prague, or wherever."