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Sidebar: Banking on the ESB

By Heather Havenstein
May 16, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - First Command Financial Services Inc. is using Sonic Software Corp.'s ESB to support data transformation and routing needed for a customer-facing portal application it plans to roll out this spring.
Fort Worth, Texas-based First Command, which provides financial services to active and retired military families, wanted to use Web services to automatically fulfill customer requests like changing an address. But because customers often have several accounts, including ones for banking, securities and insurance, these services had to link with multiple back-end databases from a variety of vendors, including IBM, Microsoft Corp. and Oracle Corp.
"There weren't many products that allowed you to have open standards and do data transformation seamlessly," says John Quinones, CIO and vice president for IT at First Command. "We needed the ESB to be able to talk to many different databases [and] many different data sources, then take the data, understand business logic of where that data needs to be shared and get it to those locations. It has to not only transport it, it has to translate it into the various formats that are readable by those databases."
In addition, First Command needed technology that would let it apply specific rules. For example, if one member of a family requested an address change, the addresses of other family members would stay the same, Quinones adds.
Using the ESB has helped the company slash its development cycle from eight months to three weeks because developers don't have to customize application programming interfaces to integrate applications.
"It's like plug and play -- you make a change to the application, but not the interface," Quinones says. "We wanted to be able to build applications that we could put on the network knowing they could hook into the ESB and that we could move services across that ESB to provide the needed flexibility and speed of data."

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