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Market Analysis: Enterprise Service Bus

Brittle. Inflexible. Expensive to maintain. Not the words business leaders want describing their application portfolios. Yet, at a time when competitive organizations are keenly interested in buzzwords like velocity and agility, they're confronted with systems seemingly built of cement. Applications developed as though things would never change become more expensive and cumbersome each time organizations tweak them to fit new business imperatives. Automation barely materializes because systems require constant human intervention and IT redevelopment. All too often, the alignment of technology with business objectives gets bogged down by integration problems and progresses no further than the whiteboard.


What's the cure? Nearly all heads turn when service orientation is mentioned. Business people understand services. Governed by a contract, one party delivers what's requested to another. If a service is too expensive or doesn't match what the company wants to do, it can switch to a different provider. The services paradigm also fits collaborative relationships that involve multiple partners coming together to meet immediate customer needs.

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Business executives are demanding that IT and the applications community do a better job supporting dynamic service relationships. Business people want to define services, then work with internal or external IT providers to deploy them as specified in a contract, such as a service-level agreement. Smart executives have sweet dreams of defining processes and services themselves and, guided by proper governance rules and best practices, dragging, dropping and clicking them into action. Heady stuff for those weary of the present reality, which involves big-ticket maintenance overhead to engage in even simple process or information integration with suppliers and partners.

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