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IBM tailors SOA lineup for specific industries

Big Blue melds consulting services and assessment tools as it expands its services-oriented architecture business.

IBM is set to announce on Wednesday a set of services geared at boosting its services-oriented architecture (SOA) consulting services and products.

The company has devised an assessment tool that allows companies to compare the efficiency of their business processes with others in their own field.

It also has developed a program that allows end users to adjust which indicators they like to track how their business is performing, such as how quickly orders are fulfilled.

These SOA consulting offerings and IBM's WebSphere tools include information that has been customized to particular industries including banking, health care, telecommunications and insurance.

SOA describes a way of designing software systems to be modular and flexible. IBM is investing heavily in SOA technology through acquisitions, and it has developed a whole line of specific SOA services.

Robert LeBlanc, general manager of global consulting services and SOA at IBM Global Business Services, said that IBM deals with customers who approach SOA from both a technology and business process efficiency standpoint.

"We see people coming at it from an IT perspective, typically with an integration thought looking for how to integrate information on how to collaborate," LeBlanc said.

Increasingly, however, he said that IBM's SOA business stems from business consulting engagements or companies looking to streamline existing processes, a project that includes SOA technology.