4 WebSphere Business Integrator Server Foundation V5.1 Handbook
1.1 Business challenges
Computer systems made their business debut in a supporting role, running
administrative systems such as payroll. Over time, IT moved center-stage to
underpin auxiliary processes such as stock control or production planning. This
gradual movement experienced a big shift upon the emergence of the
e-business boom of the mid-nineties, when many organizations went to market
with a business model which placed IT systems firmly in the spotlight. Some of
these pure-play businesses are still with us today, and many traditional
businesses have transformed themselves in part or in whole into e-businesses.
Today, businesses of all sizes continue to increase their reliance on complex IT
systems for their mainstream business functions. This trend is set to continue as
the on demand world places more emphasis on rapid reconfiguration of the
business processes to meet the changing demands of customers and increasing
interdependencies between partner organizations.
In this business environment, those responsible for planning, developing and
managing IT systems face a number of challenges.
IT systems and processes must enable change
The rapid pace of change is required by the changes in customer
expectations and the business environment. IT systems should be responsive
to these changes, not form a bottleneck in the process.
New applications must exploit existing assets
Organizations have invested significant amounts in their existing applications.
This leaves a legacy of heterogeneous systems providing islands of function
and data. The challenge is to integrate these islands to provide high-value
business processes greater than the sum of their parts.
IT projects must generate an increasing return on investment
IT can influence the bottom line by providing significant benefits to core
business processes. Coupling this value with a reduction in development and
support costs dramatically increases the return on any IT investment. The
challenge is to increase the efficiency of development projects without
WebSphere Business Integration Server Foundation V5.1 and WebSphere
Studio Application Developer Integration Edition V5.1 provide an enterprise
strength build and runtime environment. These products build on the industry
leading WebSphere Application Server and WebSphere Studio Application
Developer products, respectively, adding a number of features which enhance
the capability of IT support organizations to meet the challenges.
Chapter 1. Positioning WebSphere Enterprise 5
In the following section, each of the challenges is discussed in turn, outlining the
ways in which the WebSphere Business Integration Server Foundation and
WebSphere Studio Application Developer Integration Edition products can
enhance IT system delivery.
1.1.1 IT systems and processes must enable change
The on demand world requires that businesses react rapidly to a changing
environment. This change may mean re-engineering business processes to take
advantage of increased capabilities provided by partners or to improve the
service provided to customers. The key theme is that IT organizations need to
understand and mirror the requirements of the business.
This cannot be achieved in environments where dependencies between IT
systems are so tightly coupled and business logic exists in so many places that
changes in a component supporting one part of the enterprise cause knock-on
effects in other components. In this situation, developing and testing a seemingly
trivial change snowballs into a considerable effort, and IT processes frustrate the
necessary business change.
Service oriented architecture
Service oriented architectures (SOA) enable flexible, modular applications to be
constructed from heterogeneous systems. The key to this flexibility is the
creation of coarse-grained building blocks known as
self-describing groupings of data and/or function can be combined and
recombined in multiple configurations as business requirements change. The
standard abstractions used within an SOA mean that the underlying
programming language, operating system, geographical location and
organizational ownership are not important. Web services are an example of an
The key interaction in a SOA is the binding of a service requester to a service
provider. This may be supported by publication of the service description to a
directory by the service provider, and a discovery of the service by the service
WebSphere Application Server provides excellent support for Web services.
WebSphere Business Integration Server Foundation adds to this capability by
providing the powerful service composition and dynamic invocation capabilities
of WebSphere Process Choreographer. This can be used as a service integrator
to combine a series of diverse existing services as a single service which is of
use in the modernized systems.
WebSphere Studio Application Developer Integration Edition provides visual
tools to create business processes. This allows business users and developers