Posts Tagged ‘Return on Investment’

Catch up blog – closing on ESBCON

September 29, 2009

So it has been too long since I found time to write a blog entry. And we have a busy time with the Business Agility Now launch coming hard on the heels of the Smart Work launch. But before I cover some of the key areas these look at I feel I ought to finish off the last 3 tough questions from ESBCON8.

Here are the last 3 questions:

Discuss how your ESB supports SLA, zero downtime and cross-department integration ?

For current ESB users, can you detail popular second-generation projects with quick ROI?

How does your ESB accelerate ‘Design-to-Deployment’ with tooling, widgets, automated integrations, etc?

Lets see whether I can give my thoughts on these in a succinct manner. First what about SLA, downtime and cross-department integration? As ESBs become more pervasive and their presence is assumed, they need to no be seen as a problem – to become a utility…that is how they must be seen – as something to plug into and just work. Of course integration is about more than just the ESB – the connected applications must also be available and so the ESB layer must also be able to tolerate application and other failures well. In IBM solutions we are seeing this extension of always-on availability to include files moving through the ESB layer with the WebSphere MQ File Transfer Edition. This boosts the enterprise nature of the ESB solution, and the ability to exist in a Cloud or cluster environment where needed by the business is also a strong choice factor.

Second question = about second generation ESB projects for quick ROI. This is when an initial investment has been made in an ESB and subsequent integration projects in the business want to leverage this. Of course ideally project selection, from the first step would have been done based on business benefit – addressing the key needs first. A study like an SOA Healthcheck would be a good way to do this. However in terms of picking second projects, anything that reuses some of the investment already made would be a good idea. Once assets are available as services through an ESB they become reusable. This any other part of the business that needs them should be able to reuse them as a part of a composite application, accelerating deployment, reducing cost and boosting ROI. This may drive the selection of projects to enable greater reuse, driving ROI.

Finally how to accelerate design to deployment, with widgets, tooling and automation? This is a pretty broad topic to cover – one of the simpler answers would be that for some requirements, customers could deploy our SOA appliance – WebSphere DataPower XI50 as an ESB – this is exceptionally fast to deploy, simplify needing to be plugged in and configured. However other options, to be used with other ESBs, or with the appliance, would include using WebSphere Transformation Extender which can accelerate tricky integration deployments, including by using Industry packs to address key needs. These, and the best practices we can recommend can all really speed your deployment, again increasing ROI.

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Sensors, events, automation and what-not

July 21, 2009

Just time for a quick update before my next phone-call. I have been working a lot on various decks looking at industry solutions that use or leverage WebSphere MQ and ESB solutions from IBM. A number of them, certainly in engineering industries such as Chemical and Petroleum, or Energy and Utilities, already use solutions like WebSphere Sensor Events or have the potential to use them in the future. And there are also clear benefits to other industries like Retail or distribution. All sorts really – at Impact I sat in a very good session talking about how Airbus uses RFID sensors to keep track of the parts of planes they are building. After all it is so easy to lose an Airbus A380…

We have referred to this as the Internet of Things. There is a great example of this from Andy Stanford-Clark and his house that Tweets. But the more I read about this, the more interesting I can see this getting. Clearly this requires some level of investment from businesses to leverage, but the greater the connectivity throughout their infrastructure, the more opportunities will arise. The economy today drives businesses to look to cut costs and drive growth. Extending connectivity through these devices and increasing business awareness truly looks to be transformative. I will look to give more examples and cover this more going forward

ESBs and common industry issues

June 19, 2009

One of my key tasks this year is to take a look at our Smart SOA Connectivity & Integration marketing from an Industry perspective. Something I have been keen to do for a number of years to ensure that our sales reps can always provide the best and most relevent information to our clients about the solutions we have on offer. To start to do this I have been looking at some of the hundreds of references and case studies of IBM clients using our offerings – specifically for now those references that include WebSphere MQ, WebSphere Message Broker, WebSphere ESB and WebSphere DataPower.

Now you can easily review some of the references – or as they are described on the IBM website – Success Stories – for yourself, but as I have been going through them, industry by industry, some common themes seem to be jumping out.  I have to say that one of the most common motivators for our clients choosing to deploy solutions that include ESB Messaging and Enrichment is the need to be able to quickly add new or change existing offerings to rapidly address new market opportunities.

This makes a lot of sense to me – there seems to be a tremendous amount of evidence that without selecting messaging and ESB solutions for Connectivity, then infrastructure becomes highly complex, slow to change and costly to maintain. None of these results are good for businesses looking to save money, and respond quickly to changes. It follows then that a key reason to implement WebSphere solutions for ESB and Messaging Enrichment will be to address these – and a good business case to justify funding will be a new business opportunity to require these changes.

In many customer engagements in the current economic climate we are seeing it become harder for clients to justify any expense – maybe we should get them to discuss this problem with some of the UK Members of Parliament? 🙂 But on a more serious note, with businesses feeling the pinch they need to have clear justification that the costs associated with acquiring and deploying IBM solutions will deliver the expected return, and thus a demonstration that other similar problems have been soloed – and that IBM has the skills required to assist can be a major assistance to making that business case. It also helps that WebSphere MQ itself has a fairly strong cost justification anyway as opposed to hand-crafted point-to-point interfaces or standard FTP. You can read more about this cost justification and the risks of not using WebSphere MQ at this link.

Next week I hope to write another entry looking at some of the industry content in more detail – but it is friday night now, so that will do for this entry.