SOA Hooks Up Wisconsin’s State Agencies

Caseworkers for the State of Wisconsin needed to access their records, but it was hard to do with the state’s IT infrastructure. Wisconsin operates more than 30 agencies whose staff accesses applications and critical information on about 5.5 million Wisconsin residents that is housed on mainframes and servers.

The state’s employees needed to be able to quickly access legacy data in real time, and ultimately selected Cape Clear Software’s Enterprise Services Bus software. Cape Clear provides ways to coordinate Web services on top of the existing messaging infrastructure. As part of the contract, the state also implemented Neon System’s Shadow z/Services, a component of the Shadow RTE mainframe integration suite, which offers a foundation for mainframe integration for bi-directionality between legacy screens and modular-based apps in SOA.

“We find it difficult to share information from disparate sources, and our solution was to use ESB technology as part of the state's overall service-oriented architecture implementation,” says Werner Gade, section chief for the enterprise infrastructure department of administration.

Prior to implementing Cape Clear and Shadow z/Services, Wisconsin’s IT staff would create a Web service if one agency accessed a CICS program using .Net and another agency called it using Java.

The Web services and SOA created with Shadow z/Services allow caseworkers to access mainframe-based records in real time, improving productivity and customer service.

The software “significantly” reduced the time and effort developers would have been required if they customized the process, says Paul Noeldner, application infrastructure consultant for the state’s Department of Workforce Development. “Legacy components are alive and well, and now we have new ways of integrating them,” he says. “[People] assume the mainframe is gone, but this tool allows cost-effective reuse into the future.”

According to Gade, his department has integrated data with other agencies, including the Department of Workforce Development, and is close to integrating its purchasing and accounting systems.

About the Author

Kathleen Ohlson is senior editor at Application Development Trends magazine.