The pace at which business is conducted has increased dramatically over the past decade. A recent study indicates that the timeframes for completing certain transactions - such as airline operations and call center inquiries - have been condensed from days and hours to seconds. Customers now demand instant and integrated information. They want to access data anytime, anywhere. In order to respond to changing customer needs, stay competitive and gain market share, companies are adopting service-oriented architecture (SOA).

SOA reduces the complexity associated with integrating applications and processes by standardizing the way IT assets are used with common components and processes. By focusing on delivery of integrated business services rather than single unit performance, SOA can provide real-time benefits to customers and stakeholders, but SOA is not without its challenges.

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