Like most financial institutions, Irish Life Investment Managers (ILIM) has to be flexible in its product offerings. The Irish Life & Permanent subsidiary uses SOA to help achieve rapid automation and integration and empowerment of change in the business.

The company uses BEA’s Aqualogic Product Suite and WebLogic Integration to support these demands for product innovation, business partner integration and to take a shorter time to bring products to market. The Aqualogic BPM suite will be used to maximise the automation, measurement and optimisation of key business processes at both departmental and enterprise levels.

"BEA AquaLogic is a best-in-class, best-of-breed solution positioning ILIM to achieve the full benefits of a production-scale SOA environment,” says David Jones, SOA Architect Lead, Irish Life Investment Managers. “We see this infrastructure as being an enabler for ILIM to automate and optimise key day-to-day business processes, to reduce integration effort, minimise complexity and to put some of the change back in the hands of the business. In turn, this will enable ILIM’s IT and the business functions to maximise their automation options and reduce the time to delivery.

"Ultimately, BEA are helping ILIM to maximise its ability to innovate and quickly respond to market and client demands whilst always operating in a cost efficient, controlled and tightly regulated environment."

The BEA AquaLogic implementation builds on an existing highly successful BEA WebLogic Server deployment, which until now has been the backbone of the company’s strategic application development. ILIM is implementing the BEA AquaLogic BPM Suite to create, execute and optimise its business processes. This provides ILIM with strong collaboration between business and IT through specialised modelling and design tools that shall ensure efficient iterations by each participant in the development process lifecycle.

It also helps align ILIM’s business analysts and IT in their goal to design, connect and deploy the processes and services that underpin the company’s success. By introducing this repeatable yet agile development process, new ILIM services and processes can be optimised, measured and controlled more effectively.

BEA AquaLogic Service Bus is a key component of the SOA environment, designed to deliver the flexible, intelligent and high-performance integration and mediation capabilities of an enterprise-class service bus with operational service management and support for service life-cycle governance in a single, unified software product. Using AquaLogic Service Bus, ILIM is well positioned to accelerate the integration of packages, internal or external systems/architectures and processes using a single centralised integration hub. This architectural approach to integration supported by the BEA product will aim to simplify the management of integrated shared services across the SOA and give total visibility to all concerned.

In tandem with BEA AquaLogic, ILIM is also deploying BEA WebLogic Integration to implement services and service-enable some of its back end systems. When these are registered as services within the BEA AquaLogic Service Bus, other services or composite applications such as business processes, portlets or black box systems act as consumers. This helps ILIM to maximise its existing legacy assets for newly created solutions and also accelerate the integration of business flows (and ultimately service offering) with business partners, clients and with other parts of the Irish Life & Permanent Group.

The overall SOA environment in which the BEA product set is being adopted is also being designed to enable ILIM to react faster to certain types of change thus reducing the cycle time for delivery.

“Rapid IT response is a necessity where there is short lead time (product, client, partner or regulatory related for example), and you operate your business in a service operational excellence environment” says Jones.

"We can’t afford to wait 3 to 6 months for a project or release to go into production. The business wants new requirements or optimisation implemented in weeks rather than months. We have to recognise there are development life cycles for different types of changes and solutions. Our existing approach of one size fits all is no longer a luxury IT can enjoy. BEA’s products will help support meeting those different demands and the change management challenges we will face."