Service Oriented Architecture
Almost every software vendor advertises that its applications are based on service oriented architecture (SOA), but if you take a closer look, you'll see not everything that is advertised as “SOA” is service-oriented. At Epicor®, we took the road less traveled to bring you enterprise solutions that were built from the ground up using best practices for service oriented software design.
What is SOA?
Service oriented architecture, or SOA, is an approach to developing enterprise software applications in such a way that software processes are broken down into services which are then made available and discoverable on a network using standard protocols. Each service provides functionality that can be adapted to the needs of the enterprise while hiding the underlying implementation details. SOA addresses the complexity, inflexibility, and weaknesses of existing approaches to business process design, workflow, and application integration.
The Epicor Approach to SOA
Epicor started with .NET, Microsoft’s platform for building and exposing applications as independent services using the Microsoft Windows Communications Foundation (WCF). The more than 1200 services that comprise Epicor ERP are available using a variety of protocols and standards. For example, the net.tcp protocol provides low payload sizes and very high binary throughput for use with smart client applications. At the same time, Web services protocols like SOAP 1.1, SOAP 1.2 and REST are supported using data formats like XML and JSON. This approach offers both high performance and network optimized access to services as well as high interoperable access to make integrations to any outside system as easy as possible.
By exposing business logic purely through services, Epicor allows you to build your own business rules, better manage business processes, and access the system anywhere, anytime, and any way you want. Combine this with Epicor Service Connect, a business process orchestration tool that allows you to define workflows from business logic exposed as Web services, to achieve made-to-order process workflows that meet the needs of any business.
Benefits of Service Oriented Architecture
Service oriented architecture can ease the integration of the diverse environments found in many organizations. SOA facilitates collaboration and information sharing throughout the organization and with external partners. By exposing business processes, SOA helps businesses to focus on the best ways to improve operations. SOA provides the ability to support a business model that crosses organization lines. SOA enhances collaboration, facilitates end-to-end business processes, and improves operational effectiveness.
Service oriented architecture allows you to customize your business processes without modifying source code. With SOA, making the processes in your systems match your business is a matter of configuration, not customization. That means that when it’s time to upgrade to the next release, you can do so much more easily than if you had customizations scattered throughout your implementation.
An additional benefit of service oriented architecture is that it provides the ability to streamline business processes, which in turn promotes agile business process management. SOA provides a way to make business processes more visible so they can be customized and optimized to better meet increasing customer demands for reduced response time while maintaining high quality and reliability. And perhaps most importantly, SOA keeps the complexities of application-to-application and business-to-business integration at arms length, significantly reducing costs, and raising technology to a business level.
Epicor offers complete service oriented architecture (SOA) enterprise solutions to help you connect people, processes, and applications for a flexible, visible, and agile business.