Integration Plays Key Role in Winning SOA Deployment ... Again


Recently, CIO Magazine and the SOA Consortium teamed up with a contest to find the best SOA case studies. This week, CIO.com announced the winner is Synovus Financial Corp., a provider of investment services, commercial and retail banking.

Guess why Synovus won? Bet you can. Go on, guess.

That's right: It was because Synovus used SOA to provide integrated business solutions using existing applications and legacy systems.

It's probably my bias as an integration blogger, but I read that as "an SOA integration success story." You know -- as in, even though all the experts are pretty snobby about SOA and integration, it's still a pretty darn good reason to do SOA.

To paraphrase Homer Simpson, "Integration: Is there anything it can't do?"

Of course, there's a bit more to it than "just" integration. Synovus already had an existing SOA infrastructure, but the case study focuses on how the company, with the help of a few partners, used SOA as the foundation for a consumer secure vault payment (SVP) platform. This platform has two business drivers:

  1. It reduces consumers' exposure to identity fraud risks.
  2. It also "gives merchants a guaranteed payment from a consumer's financial institution at lower cost than credit card processing fees," according to the article.

The company relied on Web services, but reused -- their words, not mine -- 10 from previous SOA implementations. If you've followed the SOA reuse discussion at all, you know that's not bad. They also managed to nab four from the partner companies, which meant they only had to develop five new services. The company estimates this saved them 65 percent over building from scratch.


The three-page article goes into more detail about the project. Specifically, it talks about security and SLAs, the need for education about SOA and how the project allowed IT to help achieve business goals. One integration-related item that stood out to me was this:

"Each project participant agreed to build all integration interfaces (WSDL/XSD) using the interface-first approach to Web service development. Synovus could build the SVP website and Web services, integrate with vendor interfaces and perform much of the website unit testing before the vendors actually deliver their Web services."

Synovus estimates that move shaved off two months off the project -- which only had a five-month time line.