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SOA & WOA: Article

A SOA Adaptation Strategy

Without semantics, data has no meaning and is just a binary

Interoperability is the ability of two or more systems to work with each other. In the loosely coupled environment of a service-oriented architecture (SOA), separate resources don’t have to know how each of them work, but they do need to interoperate with each other by having enough common ground to exchange messages without error or misunderstanding.

On the other hand, semantics is the intended meaning. In computing, semantics is the assumed or explicit set of understandings used in a system to give data meaning. Semantic interoperability is the foundation of a SOA implementation. It ensures that service consumers and providers exchange data consistently and flexibly.

Interoperability wasn’t a concern years ago when manufacturing started developing IT systems. Manufacturing has invested heavily in creating large, complex, heterogeneous IT systems to support critical business processes. This investment must be maintained. But to remain competitive, manufacturing must find ways to seamlessly integrate the disparate manufacturing applications within its enterprise business systems and with its suppliers. To simplify the integration of disparate manufacturing systems, semantic manufacturing interoperability should be viewed as a necessity.

Manufacturing interoperability means sharing information seamlessly among the different manufacturing and business applications in the enterprise and with the extended enterprise. This information sharing is now a necessity as well as a challenge. Since interoperability is achieved by implementing standards and semantics is achieved by implementing ontology, this article explores the opportunities and challenges of manufacturing semantic interoperability and focuses on interoperability as a foundation for an enterprise-wide SOA adaptation strategy. Ontology deserves another article. We’ll also identify the interoperability standards that apply when sharing and exchanging information with partners, and between the plant systems and the business systems (P2B).

More Stories By Ramy Abaas

Ramy Abaas is a Global Strategy Architect focusing on SOA and EII, working for HP and helping GM, a leading global technology services company. He has more than 22 years of experience designing and developing IT systems for the Big-Five and Big-Three organizations.

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