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Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA)

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 that not everything that is advertised as “SOA” is service-oriented. At Epicor, we have taken the road less travelled to bring you enterprise solutions that were built from the ground up using best practices for service-oriented software design.

What is Service-Oriented Architecture?

Service-orientation is an approach to developing enterprise software applications and technology. Simply put, service-oriented architecture involves breaking down software processes into services which are 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. Service-oriented software design addresses the complexity, inflexibility, and weaknesses of existing approaches to business process design, workflow, and application integration.

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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 service-oriented approach offers both high performance and network-optimised access to services as well as high interoperable access to make integrations to any outside system as easy as possible. By exposing business logic as web 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 organisations. SOA facilitates collaboration and information sharing throughout the organisation and with external partners.

By exposing business processes, SOA helps companies focus on how to best improve operations. Service-orientation provides the ability to support a business model that crosses organisational lines. Enhance collaboration, facilitate end-to-end business processes, and improve operational effectiveness with service-oriented architecture.

SOA allows you to customise your business processes without modifying source code. With service-oriented architecture, making the processes in your systems match your business is a matter of configuration, not customisation. That means that when it’s time to upgrade to the next release, you can do so much more easily than if you had customisations scattered throughout your implementation.

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Service-Orientation for Business Process Management

Service-oriented architecture provides the ability to streamline business processes, which, in turn, promotes agile business process management. SOA renders your business processes more visible so they can be customised and optimised to better meet increasing customer demands for reduced response time while maintaining high quality and reliability.

Most importantly, SOA keeps the complexities of application-to-application and business-to-business integration at arm's length, significantly reducing costs and raising technology to a business level. Epicor UK offers a wide array of service-oriented enterprise software solutions to help you connect people, processes, and applications for a flexible, visible, and agile business.

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