IBM has launched
a new SOA integration framework aimed at the retail industry, and says
that has plenty more in the pipeline for other vertical markets later
this year. The Retail Integration Framework is its ninth, joining
others focused on the banks, insurance companies, stores and
manufacturing industry, and two frameworks for the telecommunications
and healthcare sectors.
Rather than a specific product, each Framework is an implementation
pattern aimed at common business processes within an industry. This has
been very successful for IBM, which points to two new reports –
from AMR Research and SpringBoard Research – that show it ahead in
the SOA consulting and Asian markets respectively. In total, it claims
to have about 5700 SOA customers.
It isn't hard to see why IBM is doing well, as full implementation of a
Framework needs a lot of different IBM products. For example, the new
Retail Integration Framework includes WebSphere, Tivoli, Rational and
Information Management software. These requirements could put off a lot
of customers, though IBM emphasizes that SOA is about interoperability,
and that most customers are using it to integrate non-IBM systems.
A focus on particular markets can also dissuade users in the industries
that IBM isn't yet targeting. However, right now a focus on these
industries makes sense for IBM, as that's where most of SOA's early
adopters are. It plans to release new frameworks for other industries
later this year.