Enterprise B2B eCommerce Service Oriented Architecture
Enterprise & B2B eCommerce SOA implementation
How and why an SOA provides value for Enterprise and B2B eCommerce platforms
What is Service Oriented Architecture for eCommerce?
Enterprise and B2B eCommerce solutions are typically implemented with a lifespan target of 3-10 years and many times the need to "start over" with a platform is significantly oriented toward technology changes internally as well as externally. A Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) enable software solutions to interact, integrate with and grow with internal and external systems changes and varying needs. As the environment changes, the platform can interact and change to adapt.
How It Works
The model of SOA for eCommerce is a set of software comprised of self-contained, independent, loosely coupled services executing alone or composed with other services to fulfill business requirements, implementing business processes. In other words, a solution that allows for interchangeability of parts while delivering on a core business function. Imagine needing to start with a core enterprise eCommerce solution that processes payments for a business division's needs. Upon validating the business division's results with the eCommerce platform the next needs might be as follows:
- Core B2B eCommerce solutions validated for single division.
- Add additional divisions for multi-store eCommerce with branded stores and domains per division.
- Securely integrate order fulfillment from online store to line of business and ERP/CRM systems.
- Automate product, category, inventory, and customer data/pricing levels to site from line of business systems dynamically.
- Enable customer dashboard to provide sales order documents and processes for quotes, invoices, purchase orders, etc.
- Enable multi-lingual capabilities with multi-lingual shipping and fulfillment integration.
- Export select product/categories to 3rd party resellers such as Amazon, eBay, etc.
What SOA Does For eCommerce
For the scenario above it would be realistic for any of the above steps or extensions to require partial or full rebuilds of a system if the system depends on a non-service oriented architecture. Non SOA results in code based dependency and no-separation of concerns within the application's core functions. Conversely, when extending an application the SOA enables an application to preserve core functions while still being able to "extend" to additional eCommerce needs.
Under the Hood
Let's take a look at an example in more detail - for the scenario where we go from a B2B eCommerce solution for a single domain to enabling a multi-store and then integrating to internal line of business and ERP/CRM systems the SOA is critical. The SOA by it's nature enables "endpoints" that the ERP/CRM systems can "talk with" without developers having to "rebuild" or duplicate the application development necessary to interact with the eCommerce database and business logic. For example, when the eCommerce admin utility creates a new product it passes it's data from a user interface that interacts with the site through a service - that exact same service can be called by the ERM/CRM integration layer to push new products into the eCommerce store. This effectively reduces overhead for the ERP/CRM integration by up to 60-70% in development effort.
Service-oriented architecture (SOA) is a software design and software architecture design pattern based on discrete pieces of software providing application functionality as services to other applications. This is known as service-orientation. It is independent of any vendor, product or technology. [Wikipedia]
SOA eCommerce services may be reused and reorganized to implement new business processes, as the business needs change. Reusing the services lowers the time and cost of new business process development and increases flexibility while lightening the integration process with other businesses units and processes.
Clarity Can Help
To find out if Service Oriented Architecture is right for you, or if you need assistance with implementing SOA for eCommerce, contact us for a free quote today!