February 26, 2007 15:00 ET

IBM Combines SOA and Data Integration Expertise to Help Clients Deliver Information to Processes, Applications and Business Users

ARMONK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- February 26, 2007 -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced it is combining its industry leading expertise in Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and information management to help clients more easily share data and deliver better service by freeing information from individual applications and reusing it throughout their enterprise.

As the adoption of SOA increases, organizations using this standards-based framework for delivering information recognize the need to deliver integrated operational information to their systems and business processes. This helps ensure accurate and complete information is used throughout the business while making it possible to deliver new information in real-time. More than 200 clients worldwide already rely upon a close combination of information management software and IBM SOA software and services to realize the benefits of leveraging information as a service.

In response to this growing trend, IBM is more closely aligning its SOA and information management software and services offerings to meet increasing demand for a unified approach to effectively managing and addressing industry-specific business challenges.

Helzberg Diamonds is one such client using an SOA to manage IT assets more proactively and help improve products and services for customers. "By leveraging our SOA and IBM information integration software together, we've been able to make available the best and most consistent information to all of our employees," said Greg Backhus, director of data warehousing and decision support systems, Helzberg Diamonds. "As a result, Helzberg Diamonds has been able to provide a level of service that keeps our customers coming back."

IBM software and services will help accelerate the process of defining and deploying information services. These include a new version of IBM Service Oriented Modeling and Architecture (SOMA), developed by IBM Global Business Services to help clients rapidly develop and implement a long-term plan for moving to a service oriented architecture. IBM also unveiled WebSphere Information Analyzer, a new module for IBM Information Server that helps customers eliminate the risk of reusing bad data. In addition, IBM Information Server provides new capabilities that complement IBM WebSphere Process Server to enable tighter integration between information and business processes. A new extension to Rational Data Architect helps provide additional value from IBM's industry-specific data models.

With this announcement, IBM is further enabling organizations to more easily embed integration capabilities within their SOA-driven processes. This, in turn, can transform businesses, providing a competitive advantage by reducing the time it takes to generate sales reports, deliver real-time visibility into inventory and product availability, or improve customer service response time. IBM's Information on Demand initiative is helping clients in all industries better manage and take advantage of their business information.

"Many CIOs are beginning to recognize the urgent need for information strategies to support their SOA initiatives," said Mike Schroeck, leader of IBM Global Business Services' Business Intelligence practice. "IBM is helping organizations enable their Business Performance Management and Operational Intelligence strategies by applying a more operational orientation to information integration that delivers greater strategic value to the enterprise. By helping clients apply SOA principles and critical IBM Information Management software, organizations can gather and analyze the right customer, product and other information from diverse sources and deliver it to their business processes -- in real time to improve decision-making and business performance."

Another IBM client benefiting from the ability to ensure the accuracy, consistency and governance of their information within their SOA is Austin Energy. The nation's 10th largest public power utility relies on its SOA to support its utility outage management application and call center applications.

"Austin Energy 's SOA is built around three fundamental components: presentation, process, and information," said Andres Carvallo, chief information officer, Austin Energy. "Our vision of a fully-integrated and self-healing enterprise with real-time dashboards for business managers, partners and customers is enabled by IBM Portal Server, IBM Process Server and IBM Information Server. In our choice of IBM Information Server, we were looking for optimal collaboration and orchestration with the rest of our middleware to further improve the flexibility and responsiveness of our business processes and the level of service we provide to our customers. A key part of this strategy is ensuring that we have the most consistent, up-to-date, and accurate information available to the people, processes and applications it supports."

Veda Advantage is the largest custodian of credit information in Australia and New Zealand. The vast majority of applications for credit in Australasia are checked against the files held by Veda Advantage. Veda Advantage has implemented an SOA while migrating legacy systems to a new IT infrastructure. Throughout this process, the company is relying on IBM Information Server to cleanse, transform and consolidate data from across multiple systems into a single master view to provide more accurate credit reports to their customers, reduce operational costs and help enable a smoother migration to new systems.

"Information does not support our business -- it is our business -- we provide an extensive suite of data-driven services and solutions to our customers," said Eric Janssens, head of business services, Veda Advantage. "As such, the availability and accuracy of our information is of the highest strategic importance to both our clients and their customers. We maximize the value of our information when we can cleanse, standardize and enrich information at the point of entry from more than 3,000 suppliers. By leveraging the functionality of IBM Information Server in a service oriented architecture, we are building a set of information services to consistently deliver trusted information. This information is delivered quickly, efficiently and accurately into the applications and business processes that run our business and that of our customers."

Industry Models and Information Management Software Unlock the Power of SOA

IBM Global Business Services is offering a new version of the IBM Service Oriented Modeling and Architecture (SOMA) that provides support for Information as a Service. By providing a blue print for incorporating data integration and master data management within an SOA, the models help organizations further align their architecture with business goals, such as reducing time to open new accounts, by tying business processes to underlying applications and information through services. It does so by incorporating the functionality of IBM Information Server, IBM WebSphere Customer Center, IBM WebSphere Product Center and Rational Data Architect.

To help deliver information consistency throughout an SOA, the new WebSphere Information Analyzer profiles data and understands the quality and content of data sources while also creating a metadata map of source systems, eliminating the risk of reusing bad data throughout the enterprise. Additionally, new information services activities within IBM WebSphere Process Server readily expose data integration tasks from IBM Information Server so they can be quickly tapped to support a variety of capabilities within business processes. These allow users to easily browse services, view and reuse meta data and ensure efficient interaction between web services and data integration tasks.

The new Enterprise Model Extender for IBM Rational Data Architect helps organizations in the banking, financial markets, insurance, retail, healthcare and telecommunications industries get more value out of the IBM Industry Data Models. These models help accelerate the development of information services within IBM Information Server.


IBM Service Oriented Modeling and Architecture Version 3 is currently available through IBM Global Business Services. IBM Enterprise Model Extender for Rational Data Architect will be available from IBM in March for the IBM Banking Data Warehouse. The Insurance Information Warehouse will be supported in June. IBM WebSphere Information Analyzer will be available in March from IBM and IBM business partners.

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