Case #2 background: Transit Line Systems Inc.

Case #2 background Transit Line Systems Inc

Transit Line Systems Inc. (TLS) is a prominent corporation in the private transit sector. It employs over 1,800 people and has offices in four cities. Though its primary line of business is providing private transit, it has a number of secondary business areas, including the following:

  • A maintenance and repair branch that outsources TLS service technicians to public transit sectors.
  • Parts manufacturing for other industries.
  • A tourism branch that partners with airlines and hotels.

2.3.1. History

TLS existed as a mid-sized corporation centered around a single private railway for several years. However, the end of a long-term battle with a rival railway (which resulted in the bankruptcy of its competitor) sparked an era of growth. TLS enjoyed a successful period of expansion during which it established two further private railways in separate cities. Over the course of approximately ten years, TLS made a series of corporate acquisitions, including:

  • G&R Tracks Ltd., a privately owned railway company (its original competitor) that provided TLS with enough rail assets to launch a new railway in a neighboring city. G&R had over 180 employees, but TLS kept only ten technical specialists.
  • Sampson Steel Corp., a large manufacturing plant that produced various metal parts for clients in the automobile and airline industries. An economic downturn sent this company to the brink of liquidation until TLS stepped in. TLS formed a partnership with Sampson Steel, making TLS majority owners, but allowing the original Sampson management group to continue operational control of the factory. While Sampson Steel continues to service its existing clientele, its primary focus became the production and assembly of parts for TLS's railways. Though only generic parts can be produced by the factory, this arrangement allows TLS to acquire these parts at a fraction of the original supplier's prices.

2.3.2. Technical infrastructure

The TLS head office contains a sizable IT department. Of the 200 IT professionals that support TLS's automation solutions, approximately 50% are contractors, hired on a per-project basis.

The overall technical infrastructure is mixed. More contemporary eBusiness solutions are hosted in a clustered server environment, capable of high transaction volumes and with robust backup and disaster recovery mechanisms in place. Individual legacy systems are typically isolated in separate environments, depending on the nature of the system. Mainframes have their own space, and a series of Windows servers individually house older, specialized client-server applications and associated databases.

2.3.3. Automation solutions

Following is the subset of TLS's inventory of legacy systems that we will be referencing in case study examples:

  • A distributed enterprise accounting solution, accommodating some 400 users. It replaced TLS's original accounting package during its expansion period, when accounting requirements grew along with the size of the company. This solution is partially custom developed but relies mostly on out-of-the-box accounting features. It provides sophisticated Web front-ends for intranet and remote access but also offers some desktop tools for analysis and reporting. The product vendor is relatively progressive and has offered a set of Web service adapters that plug into different modules of the overall system.
  • A third-party time tracking system used by some employees that are outsourced by TLS to record the time they spend at client sites. The information collected by this program is later manually entered into the accounts receivable module of the accounting system.

2.3.4. Business goals and obstacles

TLS is a corporation that has undergone a great deal of change over the past decade. The identity and structure of the company has been altered numerous times, mostly because of corporate acquisitions and the subsequent integration processes. Its IT department has had to deal with a volatile business model and regular additions to its supported set of technologies and automation solutions. TLS's technical environment therefore is riddled with custom developed applications and third-party products that were never intended to work together.

The cost of business automation has skyrocketed, as the effort required to integrate these many systems is increasingly complex and onerous. Not only has the maintenance of automation solutions become unreasonably expensive, their complexity and lack of flexibility have significantly slowed IT response time to business process changes.

Tired of having to continually invest in a non-functional technical environment, IT directors decided to adopt SOA as the standard architecture to be used for new applications and as the founding principle to unite existing legacy systems. The primary motivation behind this decision is a desperate need to introduce enterprise-wide standardization and increase organizational agility.

As the storyline begins, TLS has built its first service-oriented solution already (Figure 2.2). This is the B2B system to which RailCo and many other vendors connect to conduct transactions online. The services that comprise this solution are introduced in Chapter 5, and are then referenced throughout the chapters that discuss Web services technology. However in Part V, TLS embarks on a new SOA project. This shifts our focus to a new set of services, as well as the related adjustments TLS makes to its technology platform.

Figure 2.2. The Web services that comprise the TLS B2B solution.


Case Studies

Part I: SOA and Web Services Fundamentals

Introducing SOA

The Evolution of SOA

Web Services and Primitive SOA

Part II: SOA and WS-* Extensions

Web Services and Contemporary SOA (Part I: Activity Management and Composition)

Web Services and Contemporary SOA (Part II: Advanced Messaging, Metadata, and Security)

Part III: SOA and Service-Orientation

Principles of Service-Orientation

Service Layers

Part IV: Building SOA (Planning and Analysis)

SOA Delivery Strategies

Service-Oriented Analysis (Part I: Introduction)

Service-Oriented Analysis (Part II: Service Modeling)

Part V: Building SOA (Technology and Design)

Service-Oriented Design (Part I: Introduction)

Service-Oriented Design (Part II: SOA Composition Guidelines)

Service-Oriented Design (Part III: Service Design)

Service-Oriented Design (Part IV: Business Process Design)

Fundamental WS-* Extensions

SOA Platforms

Appendix A. Case Studies: Conclusion

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Service-Oriented Architecture. Concepts, Technology, and Design
Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA): Concepts, Technology, and Design
ISBN: 0131858580
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 150
Authors: Thomas Erl
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