A Christmas Carol: Wells Fargo Sings the Praises of SOA

by Bart Narter, December 21, 2007


San Francisco, CA, USA December 21, 2007

Wells Fargo has successfully used its SOA platform to view customer information across accounts, provide information to a myriad of channels, and establish direct connections to commercial customers. This platform has also played an instrumental role in the merger of customer accounts between Wells Fargo and Norwest.

Celent's service-enabled version of A Christmas Carol tells the story of SOA Past, Present, and Future. Service-oriented architecture did not spring from IT shops without a foundation. Wells Fargo began incorporating technology from abstract disparate systems in 1993 using common object request broker architecture (CORBA) and object-oriented programming. The Wells Fargo deployment of SOA and its predecessors was driven first by the need to view accounts across multiple core systems for wealth management customers. It expanded to help other groups of customers and further developed to serve multiple channels.

SOA played a key role in the successful integration of Wells Fargo's and Norwest's core systems. It used CORBA technology and its account factory router, also known as the "Intergalactic Translator," to allow employees and customers across the merged company to access customer information independently of the system in which this information resided. This SOA strategy has extended beyond internal processing to include machine- to-machine (M2M) integrations between Wells Fargo and its corporate customers, creating tighter bonds between the financial services company and its clients.


Source: Wells Fargo, Celent

"Wells Fargo has been working with SOA and its predecessor technologies for around two decades. The bank has demonstrated a maturity of understanding and experience best exemplified by the Wells Fargo Extensible Markup Language (wfXML). This IFX-compliant standard creates a common financial services language and set of service definitions across the institution," says Bart Narter, author of the report and senior analyst with Celent's banking group. "Because it is IFX-compliant, it can also be used outside of Wells Fargo, to communicate with customers or other financial institutions."

A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, was originally published in 1843. Dickens wrote serialized novels, coming out in monthly installments. In keeping with this spirit, Celent is publishing a series of reports on SOA. The first report is titled A Tale of One City: Core Renewal via SOA at National City Bank, December 2007. Subsequent reports will include Great Expectations: Can SOA Deliver? and Our Mutual Friend: Core Driven SOA.

This 18-page report has eight figures and one table. A table of contents is available online.


Members of Celent's Retail Banking and Wholesale Banking research services can download the report electronically by clicking on the icon to the left.  Non-members should contact info@celent.com for more information.


Celent is a research and advisory firm dedicated to helping financial institutions formulate comprehensive business and technology strategies. Celent publishes reports identifying trends and best practices in financial services technology and conducts consulting engagements for financial institutions looking to use technology to enhance existing business processes or launch new business strategies. With a team of internationally based analysts, Celent is uniquely positioned to offer strategic advice and market insights on a global basis. Celent is a member of the Oliver Wyman Group, which is a wholly-owned operating unit of Marsh & McLennan Companies [NYSE: MMC].

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Table of Contents

San Francisco, CA, USA December 21, 2007

A Christmas Carol:  Wells Fargo Sings the Praises of SOA


Executive Summary 03
SOA Timeline 04
Client Relationship System 07
Business Object Services 09
CORBA as a Predecessor to SOA 12
SOA at Wells Fargo 14
M2M Integration 17
Conclusions 18






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