One of my favorite toys to play with as a child were Legos. I loved being able to quickly build virtually anything I could envision. What I found so unique about Legos is that I could build a castle, a racecar or a rocket ship from the same set of blocks. The possibilities were as endless as my imagination.
Only recently has this logic been applied to software development. Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB), the building blocks of the Java language, are reusable. EJBs are analogous to Legos in that they can be used in different sequences to get different results, even though the basic pieces are the same. Thus Java provides cheaper and faster development solutions and the ability to easily upgrade existing components.
EJBs will have a greater impact on the financial services sector than any other market segment because banks need to have the flexibility to quickly click applications together using existing content. Most banking processes are generic, almost every bank will need the same basic solutions set-teller, ATM, call center, etc. By having a component-based solution, banks would be able to put systems together using content they already have as opposed to reinventing the wheel each time they need to integrate a new channel, or provide an additional service.
Java-based solutions can greatly facilitate financial institutions' mergers and acquisitions. Consolidations between community, regional and money center banks need a common business model. Banks must employ a solution that provides a common multi-channel architecture (MCA) across different physical locations and different banking units, which can be tied together and delivered through a Java-banking portal model, as opposed to the traditional application client server model.
One of the most important factors banks must consider when integrating a new channel or using any new technology like Java and EJBs, is that data is well-organized and remains on a core legacy system. When banks have a consistent view of customer data through the same EJB-based component architecture and a consistent update process across all channels it has a higher potential of keeping data consistent. The ideal approach to such integration is to overlay a multi-channel architecture onto the best-of-breed integration technology such as IBM WebSphere, BEA Web Logic, and Sun Microsystems' iPlanet.