So far, SOA has been about Web and internal applications. But the buzz is shifting to how SOA can simplify integration of communications systems and computer systems.
I first noticed it last week, when TechTarget's SearchSOA interviewed John Woolbright, the senior vice president and CTO of Synovus Financial Corporation, which is a $33 billion financial services company based in Georgia. Woolbright explained how the company's earlier work in SOA had made it easy to build Internet banking applications and even a mobile banking platform for customers, loan officers and customer service representatives.
He estimates that using a service-oriented architecture saved the company millions when they were able to reuse services to launch these new offerings.
In a similar vein, Nortel is using SOA to extend its telephony functions as services.
Last week, Nortel announced its new Communications Enablement strategy, which essentially involves offering VoIP and other communications functions as services. By working to integrate these services with products from big vendors, Nortel will make it easier for businesses to develop and launch their own communications applications.
Nortel followed this news up with a related press release about the company's new partnership with IBM. The Nortel/IBM partnership will offer integration of Nortel's development tools - aka, Raptor, which is what everyone seems to think they meant when they said "new software-based solution foundation environment" - with IBM's WebSphere Application Server and IBM's unified communication and collaboration platform, Lotus Sametime.
The goal of Raptor is to make computer-telephony integration essentially drag and drop, Nortel's general manager of SOA and next-generation platforms told Ziff Davis Enterprise. Nortel says the developer's toolkit will make it easy to integrate telephony functions such as click-to-call, presence, location and context into applications - and developers won't even need to understand the underlying technologies.