Companies can combine their service oriented architectures (SOAs) with hybrid web applications known as mashups to promote their products on third-party websites, according to Andy Mulholland, global chief technology officer of Capgemini.
In an exclusive podcast interview with Computer Weekly, Mulholland highlighted the potential to develop business processes based on reusable code that other companies could use on their own sites using mashups.
Such reusable code could be employed as part of a marketing campaign to attract new customers, or enable the third-party site to provide additional value in order to enhance what the business offers, he said.
"The one lesson of the internet has been that there is a real business value in standardisation," said Mulholland.
When business processes and technology are standardised, the main business differentiator then becomes cost, which was where SOA could add value, he said.
Mulholland is co-author of the recently published Mashup Corporations, which shows how a company could use SOA to extend its business.
He said there appears to be polarisation around two trains of thought on SOA. In the first, people believe SOA is a new form of integration to extend legacy IT, evolving from enterprise application integration. "Others believe that it is a revolution on the scale of the PC network and client server computing," he said.
With back-end integration, Mulholland said it was virtually impossible to do anything fundamentally different. "However, in the front office, the goal to achieve faster business processes means these processes need to be designed in a different way, and SOA is a game change," he said.
"There is a considerable pressure for interaction in the front office where market-facing departments can trade externally and share information more widely."
According to Mulholland, almost all the technologies that have changed the way that business operates have come from consumers. Currently, Web 2.0 technologies are changing the way people collaborate, and it will be necessary to execute this in business. Mulholland believes this is the role of SOA.
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