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Microsoft develops new SOA acronym for financial services

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With IBM and Gartner preparing to evangelize SOAs at the analyst's Symposium and IT/expo next week, Microsoft has got off to an early start by announcing an architecture targeting developers and integrators in financial services.

The Microsoft Insurance Value Chain Architecture Framework (IVCAF) 1.0 contains tools, libraries and workflows for building and integrating applications and services using Windows and .NET in common insurance scenarios.

IVCAF is the offspring of Microsoft's integration labs, launched earlier this year on the company's Redmond campus for the design and development of workflows. The architecture, announced Tuesday and to be launched later this month, comes as major platform providers increasingly churn out sets of workflows serving as blue prints for how developers and integration staff can build software and servies spanning multiples applications and back-office data sources.

Microsoft and SAP took their latest joint step on this road by announcing Duet, a collection of workflows and integrations around employee-specific "scenarios" to simplify integration between Office and SAP's enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.

The workflow is the latest manifestation of service-oriented architectures (SOAs), a strategy that appears to have evolved since it first hit the headlines and analyst research papers some years back. Vendors no longer talk about systems that "automatically discover" each other using web services interfaces, and are instead prescribing ways for IT teams to integrate their software using webs services and their existing architectures around specific work-based scenarios.

IBM, which is doing a lot of talking but getting relatively little income from SOA, will discuss SOA at next week's Gartner conference in San Francisco. Garter, meanwhile, will talk SOA but appears to be dropping any references to Service Oriented Business Applications (SOBA), the phrase it invented in 2004 in an attempt to segment the market, with sessions instead tackling Service Oriented Development of Applications (SODA).

Microsoft clearly hoped to spice the SOA acronym soup ahead of next week's noise with IVCAF. The framework features Visio process models and web services messaging recommendations, platform-specific implementation guidance and integrations.®

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