The current holy grail of IT is a service-oriented architecture (SOA) that allows simple, quick and low-cost composition of complex business processes from functionally, organizationally or geographically disparate systems and components. Much has been written about SOA and Web services, but mostly from a technical, academic background, focusing on special applications or features. The full benefit from SOA for today's corporations, however, comes from being able to adapt whole business processes and not just individual applications to ever-changing needs. The more flexible a business process is, the more it will benefit from a good SOA that covers a large number of process variants and supports the easy plug-in of many diverse components. Campaign management can be considered a great benchmark for SOA because of its complexity and flexibility and because it involves transactional, planning and analytical components, thereby making use of the whole spectrum of enterprise software.
IT management of business processes is under increasing pressure from several directions; business processes are becoming more complex and flexible, while at the same time the degree and breadth of process automation must be continually extended to maximize cost savings. And all that has to be achieved with an evolutionary approach, taking into account an existing landscape with numerous systems from different vendors, relying on different technologies, being owned and used by different people inside the company.
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