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Service Oriented Architecture Field Guide for Executives by Bibhas Bhattacharya, Kyle Gabhart

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1.6. SOA CASE STUDIES

A few examples will help you look at service oriented architecture (SOA) in proper context. Here, we will present two case studies. They will give you an idea of the type of business problems SOA is good at solving. We will also discuss the general solution approach.

Right off the bat, you will notice that these problems cannot be solved by software alone. You will need people, machines, and software all playing roles in a well-defined business process.

Case Study A: Return Handling

Retail companies have been accepting sold goods back from their clients for a long time. This operation is generally called return handling, goods inflow, or reverse inventory. The case study presented here is based on the work done by de Koster et al.[].

General Background Information

MO1 is a mail-order retail company. It sells electronic goods, such as television sets, home theater systems, CDs, DVDs and cables. MO1 runs an e-commerce web site where customers can place orders. MO1 also releases printed catalogues and accepts orders over the phone.

Mail-order companies experience a high rate of return. This is true for MO1. Customers return about 15% of the goods sold. About 20% of the warehouse space is dedicated toward returns handling.

Current Business Operation

Products can be returned within 30 days of delivery. MO1 offers full satisfaction guarantee. If, for any reason, a customer is not happy with a product, all she has to do is call the customer support line. If the ...

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