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SOA key to survival for businesses

Adoption will make you stronger and faster, expert says

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Service oriented architecture (SOA) will make businesses faster and stronger, according to Accenture.

David Nichols, global practice leader for SOA with Accenture, said companies would become more athletic if they implement SOA. "Everyone wants to have the most agile business," said Nichols. "There's an evolution under way in how systems are being built."

He made the comments at the Accenture Technology Forum in Dublin on Wednesday. The management consultancy and technological services company has invested $450m in adapting its internal operations and in how it delivers services to clients in order to meet the changes demanded by SOA.

"The internal development is a huge undertaking," said Nichols. Online education is being used to bring staff up to speed, with Nichols teaching three classes simultaneously in Chicago, London, and Kuala Lumpur.

SOA is defined as a framework for allowing different software packages to interact in a flexible way.

"The concepts really aren't new. The difference is there are certain components that make it possible to succeed now," said Nichols. "It failed in different incarnations because there were no set standards in place, there was a lack of interoperability."

He said that in order for SOA to be adopted by businesses it needs to be seen as a benefit on more than a technological level.

"If this is viewed as a purely technological play it will fall short," said Nichols. "The value is not just in the technology, it makes the business more flexible as well."

Due to this added flexibility, Nichols said businesses that don't adopt SOA will be making a fatal error. "Companies that evolve to this [SOA] will survive. Those that do not, will not," he said.

Accenture is currently researching the impact SOA might have on industry if it is fully adopted at its offices in Chicago and India.

"We are trying to simulate what it will look like," said Nichols. "We want to get there before the market is ready."

Accenture employs over 150,000 people worldwide. Last week the management consultancy firm announced it would create 100 new jobs in Ireland, bringing the total number employed in its Irish operation to 1,600.

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