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Survey: Only 37% of enterprises achieve positive ROI with SOA

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Nucleus Research and KnowlegeStorm have recently released a report of a survey they did, citing that only 37% of 106  enterprises polled achieved positive Return on Investment (ROI) on their SOA deployments.

Joe McKendrick reacted and said that 37% percent is actually not too bad since most companies are just beginning to learn and implement SOA, furthermore most companies don't know yet how to define KPIs that tie SOA activities and business performance together.

Todd Biske also said that correlating SOA and ROI is difficult since SOA is not a project but rather a way of approaching the technical solution within projects. The way the business is run is what generates ROI. Todd suggest that a better way to measure SOA impact is to look at development costs. Indeed, even the Nucleas survey found that developer productivity improvements were in the range of 28% for companies that adopted SOA.

Another point made in the survey is that SOA adoption rates are relatively low and only 4 out of 10 developers in the surveyed companies practice SOA. Not too surprising considering the incredible amount of hype around SOA. Brenda Michelson sumed it up nicely:
I say good. Good riddance to the droves of hypesters, amplifiers and marketing managers that couldn’t stop themselves from slapping a $OA label on anything or one that recognized http or used an angle bracket.

As for the rest of us, those who “get” SOA and its true value proposition, it is time to reclaim SOA.  To start, we need to remove the large obstacles on the SOA business value path.
Brenda then continued to list the things that should be addressed such as properly defining SOA, identifying real business problems SOA can help with,  defining methods to deliver actual solutions,  go beyond the vendor packaging of SOA components,  figure an agile way to implement SOA and lastly:
Let’s consider, plan, measure and report on SOA in the correct perspective, as a lifestyle change that encompasses people, process and technology
At the end of the day it seems that behind the hype cloud, real SOA experiences are starting to emerge.  Development teams are realizing productivity gains, but whether or not they would also translate to business ROI depends on the actual business case that is behind the SOA initiative. Doing SOA just for the sake of SOA will  not yield a lot of benefit.

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