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Web Services in the context of an SOA framework are designed to be the catalyst of greater order accuracy and speed, further increasing performance of the entire company in the process. The collection of Web Services is meant to not replace the traditional and highly engrained ERP systems in a company; rather Web Services are meant to extend and enhance their performance and making them more agile over time (Alonso, Kuno, Casati, Machiraju, 2004). Theorists have suggested that the SOA framework is only as successful as the approaches taken to creating a unified Web Services strategy that creates a single system of record of customer data the entire company standardizes on (Kobielus, 2007). This concept of the system of record is defined as Master Data Management (MDM) and is the basis of analytics and Business Intelligence (BI), which are fueling more focus on measuring the value of SOA frameworks from a customer-driven standpoint as well (Lee, Shim, Kim, 2010).
The Communication Protocol layer that includes HTTP, File Transfer Protocol (FTP), SMTP and a variety of others is specifically used for defining integration-based connections to client-side applications that are delivered via Web browser and also as native applications (Alonso, Kuno, Casati, Machiraju, 2004). This layer of the Web Services Model in an SOA framework is also used for low-end process automation tasks including the uploading, downloading and movement of files throughout various locations on a network to make application processing more efficient. The HTTP protocol is used for managing the Web browser sessions and defining authentication to the Web through secured sockets on the Hypertext Protocol, running over TCP/IP in the majority of configurations globally (Alonso, Kuno, Casati, Machiraju, 2004).
The Communication Protocol layer is also responsible for unifying the entire series of applications across the SOA framework to a consistent level of integration, which defines their level of latency, security, and scalability. Examples of this include creating consistent application interface guidelines through Application Programming Interface (API) guidelines developed to ensure a very high level of consistency across all SOA applications developed. In the largest SOA deployments organizations will often create an entire series of instructions and guidelines on usability and application performance predicated on the communications protocols used to support the programs (Lee, Shim, Kim, 2010). All of these factors are taken into account as it has been found that when all are taken into a concerted, unified strategy, users adopt the applications faster and are more willing to change how they complete their daily tasks. At the center of what makes SOA implementations so difficult is overcoming resistance to change and fear of how the new SOA framework will modify or change a person's role and status in an organization (Alonso, Kuno, Casati, Machiraju, 2004). Companies who have had successfully implemented SOA frameworks take this factor into account early and create communications protocol definitions at the layer of the Web Services Model that allows for a high degree of user customization and tailoring of systems and applications to user's needs. The ability to allow system users to define their own user experience is crucial for the success of an SOA framework to bring lasting change within any business.
SOA frameworks are used for integrating the systems, processes, roles, unstructured and structured content together within an organization, unifying all of these elements towards a unified vision and objective. Within an SOA framework is the need for bringing in business objectives as they form the basis of logics for integrating enterprise and legacy systems, platforms, databases, and often disconnected, disparate systems together, all with a focus on achieving more as an organization. An SOA framework then is much more focused on creating a knowledge-based organization over and above one that is based on pure production and cost efficiency. The focus within any organization that implements an SOA architecture is on how to drive greater value into the organization by concentrating on how to make knowledge more competitive.
Alonso, Kuno, Casati, and Machiraju, 2004, Web Services: Concepts, Architectures and Applications. Springer-Verlag Publishing. 1 January 2004. London. ISBN 3540440089
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