Donal Reddington on mass customization, crowdsourcing and digital manufacturing

ADP Turns to SOA

Information Week carries a feature on Automatic Data Processing (ADP), who are using Service Oriented Architecture to develop mass customized software services.

One comment by ADP CIO Bob Bongiorno is particularly interesting:

In addition, by using existing components, ADP can cheaply create new services, such as a feature to allow the downloading of a W-2 tax form that by itself wouldn’t generate much revenue, but added to other similar apps could help fatten the bottom line. “You’re not needing to rebuild everything from scratch. It’s just a question of reassembling components in different products,” says Bongiorno, who sees this leading to mass customization of services. Customers can buy only the components they need for a payroll or HR service, as opposed to the entire package.

This is exactly the type of flexibility that writers on SOA have been describing in recent times. Of particular importance is the way that individual elements of the service can be purchased, without the customer being forced to spend extra on a ‘package’, much of which they don’t need.

Many consumer goods producers who already use mass customization (or are planning to do so) could take an example from ADP – true mass customization is as much about allowing customers to leave things out as putting them in.

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