Monday, January 12, 2009

SOA and the value of the pound

Received two interesting and unrelated e-mails over the course of the past couple days:

Here's the first. (It discusses how you can save on software purchases by buying them through U.K. sites, because the pound is relatively right now)

Weak UK pound benefits US buyers of Scan2CAD raster to vector conversion software.

The worldwide credit crisis has resulted in the weakest British pound for many years. For US CAD and CNC software buyers, this provides a ray of sunshine in what is otherwise a generally gray and gloomy economic prospect. The current weak British pound allows US buyers of British software to take advanatage of a favorable strong dollar / weak pound exchange rate to save around 20% on their purchases.

Softcover International Limited, the UK publisher of the industry-leading Scan2CAD automatic raster to vector conversion software, has announced US buyers purchasing Scan2CAD Pro from its UK-based website,, will save around 20% or approximately US $100 on the US $498 list price. A saving of about US $60 is to be had on Scan2CAD Regular (list price US $298).

These savings are only available while the British pound is in its current weak state. Any strengthening in the pound and the savings will be reduced. However, any further weakening in the pound and the savings will increase. Interested buyers wanting to save money should take advantage of this situation while the pound is weak to buy Scan2CAD now.

Today's (2009.01.12) opening exchange rate is GBP £1 = USD $1.49, among the lowest in more than six years, down from a peak of $2.1160 last November. The last time the pound fell at this speed was in 1992. Any US CAD and CNC buyers purchasing Scan2CAD now will get the biggest bang for their buck available in automatic raster to vector conversion today.
advice. - END OF RELEASE

Does this work for scanners too?

Release number two:

This is a release for a book on SOA implementations. As some background, I mentioned SOA as one the trends document imaging professionals need to be aware of in 2009. Despite some setbacks, I don't believe that SOA is DOA and apparently, the author of this book doesn't think so either.

Here the release, which is fairly comprehensive and includes some interesitng points:

"Seven steps to SOA nirvana…

'Adopting a services-oriented architecture should be undertaken as a gradual process, working toward your vision of a new IT enterprise which is more responsive to business drivers,' says expert Tom Termini.

Complex concepts have emerged over the past few years regarding the potential productivity an organization can achieve with their web site. But few take the mystery out of as well as a new book titled The Zen of SOA by Tom Termini.

Termini has created an executive blueprint which describes how top management can look and move forward with clear goals, appropriate resources and confidence. Termini explains how Zen can be applied in the development and deployment of a system architecture in a manner easily understood by managers making them more effective in the complex world of information technology.

The key in this quest is to act as a mediator who understands the roles of the critical actors and players and to adopt a posture that is both flexible and resilient.

Termini sees the adoption of SOA as a continuum.

Among the many ideas he recommends to successfully deploy an effective SOA:

1. Learn from others – study what worked for other organizations that may have had parallel processes, or similar objectives to yours. For example, at the Federal Trade Commission, we learned that commodity hardware and software promote the transition toward a fully-realized SOA. From the detritus of a failed EAI effort, the fruits of a SOA success can be found with the creative application of an “agile” approach.

2. Maintain a “baby-steps” approach toward a fully-realized SOA – expectations are more realistic, costs are spread over a longer period, risk is deferred, and you have the opportunity to foster organizational adoption. Cultural resistance is often the primary reason for failure in enterprise IT endeavors. If your adoption posture is incremental, you will lessen the impact on your organization, customers, and partners so they can assimilate change gradually.

3. SOA is more about the business customer than about IT innovation. Service-Oriented Architecture, when rolled out successfully, can empower the people driving the business processes in your organization, free up limited Information technology resources, and improve flexibility to meet change. While on task at the U.S. Department of Justice, we learned a portal is integral to Web-enabling the enterprise. Why? It provides the single, simple point-of-entry to the SOA-enabled systems for the less-technical business user. We found the portal was excellent at answering the question, where do I go to find what we already have? It also simplifies the human interface, since all Web applications share the look-and-feel or some derivative of the portal’s cascading style sheet. Finally, the portal simplifies single-sign-on access - and ease of access means greater acceptance by the user community.

4. ESB does not equal SOA. Providing an enterprise services bus (ESB) to your organization does not mean you have a SOA. Gaining a full grasp of this concept is key to embracing the Zen of SOA. Think commodity software as well as hardware: one of the keys to SOA success. While we’ve found the messaging layer to be critical, often time success can be achieved by simplifying a few key business processes and SOA-enabling with a web service. Example: customer record lookup, because so many systems touch on that process.

5. Manage the SOA as part of the whole enterprise. Think of the SOA approach as a layer to simplify complexity – as above, consider the customer lookup process. What vital information needs to be presented to a consuming service? This layer does not stand apart from the organization’s larger enterprise; rather, it supports the business architecture. The underlying services orchestrate and communicate business processes-these components are part of the technical architecture. Internal developers, external consumers and others will require access to reuse SOA services.

6. Measure progress and communicate results. The successful implementation of any SOA must be driven from the top down. This means gaining early wins that engage senior management. Define three or four metrics and regularly communicate results.

7. Promote SOA as the Future. Implementation of a SOA blueprint may never fully end, because business processes change or new ones are required. Your target architecture inevitably will evolve to accommodate changes in the external environment and corresponding adjustments to organizational goals.


Anonymous said...

Regarding our press release about the saving in the US dollar cost of Scan2CAD when purchased from us in the UK, you ask "Does this work for scanners too?"

With reference to wide format scanners, the answer is both "Yes and No!".

Yes, most products bought outside the USA with a strong dollar versus weak local currency will provide a price saving.

However, once purchased you will then incur high shipping costs to receive the product in the USA. On top of this, you may also have to pay Import Duties and other taxes. Any savings made by buying abroad need to be weighed against the added costs of shipping and taxes.

Also, wide format manufacturers will regard such a purchase as a grey import, something which they all want to avoid as it upsets their comfortably priced apple cart. To prevent this from happening none will guarantee any support for grey imports. A US support warranty will almost certainly not be made available on a wide format scanner purchased outside the US. If you think support is important, and it often is in wide format scanning, you may want to consider buying an expensive scanner closer to home.


Steve Hannath,
Softcover International Ltd.

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