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11/8/2005
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Merrill Lynch Embraces SOA

The financial services firm is partnering with SOA Software and IBM Global Services to build a service-oriented architecture.

Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., one of the world's leading financial management and advisory firms, announced a partnership with SOA Software and IBM Global Services on Tuesday to build a service-oriented architecture, which promises a way for different services to better communicate with each other.

Merrill Lynch is currently rolling out SOA Software's Service Manager, which will serve as the software infrastructure for all Web services applications that the company will build internally. Service Manager will provide Merrill Lynch with security, monitoring, management, and governance of its Web services. Additionally, IBM Global Services' SOA Management Practice is helping Merrill Lynch deploy the SOA infrastructure.

Andrew Brown, Merrill Lynch's technology architect, says the deployment will allow the company to scale out its use of SOA and Web services and improve the way it deals with clients. "The whole Web services architecture and the implementation of the SOA platform is underwritten by trust and it is the trust of our clients that when they send us data over the wire that their data is protected, their identify is protected, and the result that comes back from sending us that data is protected," Brown says.

Around 36% of businesses are adopting SOAs or Web services to increase customer satisfaction and revenue, according to an InformationWeek Research SOA/Web services survey of 120 business-technology professionals.

Early next year, Merrill Lynch plans to roll out its first Web service application—portfolio revaluation—based on the new architecture. The application will be used by clients to assess hedge fund portfolios, where a lot of calculation is necessary. "What will happen in financial services is what's happening is supply chains today. The goal is to take Web services and distribute them directly to clients," says Brown.

Getting processes and applications to talk to each other is a sign of true service-oriented architectures, says SOA Software's founder and chairman Eric Pulier. But businesses deploying SOAs today still have to work through some challenges like the complexities that SOAs add to their IT systems and cost-effectively integrating them into their legacy systems.

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