Avis Budget has built a service-oriented architecture using BEA technology on which it has deployed its first application, a tool called E-Receipts that enables customers to receive electronic receipts via email.

The car hire firm, which operates in more than 70 countries and has 30,000 employees, said its SOA platform – known as Omega (short for One merged enterprise and global architecture) – was intended to give it a competitive edge in a crowded market.

“Our investment in Omega and the apps that run on top of [should] enhance our strong competitive position,” said John Turato, the company’s vice president of technology.

“We want a flexible business platform that enables us to turn innovative ideas into reality quickly and reliably.”

The SOA platform is being used to support all customer contact channels – call centres, airport rental counters, standalone facilities, and the Internet. And Avis Budget said adopting an SOA framework meant is was able to reuse services created for one application on subsequent projects.

It said, for example, that drivers who need rental cars while their personal cars are being repaired can often have their insurance companies pay for the rentals, and it was already using the notification service originally built for E-Receipts to communicate with insurance carriers and drivers about payment authorisation.

“Reusing proven software components can accelerate project timelines, reduce costs, and improve outcomes,” said Turato.

“E-Receipts is a tangible example of the transformative influence of SOA. In the past, making a core business process such as rental returns paperless would have been impossible. Now, it is a reality.”