IBM is rolling out a series of consulting services and a middleware product designed to convert business customers to a more modular and modern computing architecture.
The consulting services, which will be delivered through IBM Global Services (IGS) worldwide, are meant to help companies assess their current computing systems and devise a plan to build a services-oriented architecture and use Web services, a set of standards for writing modular and interoperable applications. IGS will also offer services for moving older systems, such as mainframes, to a services-oriented architecture.
IBM has built in work flow software based on the Business Process Execution Language for Web Services, a specification under development for automating business processes that use software based on Web services.
IBM’s approach to SOA, which combines consulting services and software, allows customers to better apply technology to the business processes they are looking to improve, said Michael Liebow, vice president of Web services at IGS. Consulting services takes the task of integrating applications from customers, and IBM can offer its consulting expertise in many industries, he said.
“We’re trying to speed certain processes, and the blurring of the line between software and services means you’re more focused on solutions than products,” Liebow said.
One of the consulting services IBM is rolling out worldwide is called business component modeling. Formerly code-named Catalyst, the service is the result of a collaboration between IBM’s Business Consulting Services group and IBM Research.
The service allows a customer to measure how efficient its business processes are compared to other companies in its industry. Looking at an individual company’s business processes in the context of its industry helps it locate areas that can be streamlined and decide which processes, such as running a call center, can be outsourced, Liebow said.
SMEs need a similar strategy – there is a need for an “IBM-for-SMEs.”