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Despite significant investment, the promise of reuse in IT (information technology) solution development—shorter delivery times, cost reductions, risk mitigation—has seldom been realized in practice. The difficulties of reuse at the front end of the projects have overwhelmed the potential benefits downstream. Enterprise Solutions Structure (ESS) is designed to provide a rigorous and powerful structure to facilitate the sharing of experience and IT architectural assets across IBM's solutions development community worldwide. The key question this paper seeks to answer is, can the ESS approach address this very real barrier and deliver the promised value? Described here by the consultants involved are a number of customer engagements in which the early ESS work was exploited. We show how relevant assets could readily be identified and the value they contributed to both our clients and IBM at different stages of the full engagement life cycle—at bid/proposal time, in contract definition and scoping, and during the engagement—and the continuing benefit after the engagement. Finally, we outline some of the challenges yet to be addressed.
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