The British Energy Group, which is responsible for generating more than 20% of the nation's electricity, is to adopt a service oriented architecture (SOA) to help it adapt its IT infrastructure to rapid changes in the energy market.
The project will help the group's electricity division, British Energy Power and Trading (Bepet), respond to market changes, including the deregulation of European markets, mergers and acquisitions, and automated billing.
"In light of these changes, an audit of our IT landscape revealed that we had a number of disparate applications lacking strategic business alignment," said Jeremy Lock, IT manager at Bepet.
"Because we run a combination of real-time and financial market trading systems, it was essential that we made these systems more agile to respond to the changing market environment."
The roll-out will allow Bepet to define common business processes such as validating a user name and password, and develop them into services that can be reused across all software applications.
The project requires the organisation to review 60 IT trading applications and break them down into 300 categories of business processes that can be reused in future systems.
"By adopting an SOA-style approach to developing future systems, we now aim to have more formalised business service planning," said Lock.
The challenge for deploying a SOA is in preparing the enterprise for change and is not solely about IT, said Sohel Aziz, Europe practice head, of technology consulting at Infosys, who is advising on the project.
"SOA does not come with a vendor product, it is an architectural strategy that impacts that way business solutions are developed. Only 30% of SOA is about the development process, the remainder is about governance and management, both pre-development and operations," he said.
Analyst firm Gartner, predicts that by 2008, SOA will provide the basis for 80 percent of new IT project development projects
Gartner analyst, John Radcliffe, said organisations should start planning how to rebalance their existing application portfolio to include processes based on SOA.
By 2008, the research firm predicts that the drive to support business process automation will be the primary adoption driver for SOA.
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