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InfoQ Homepage News State of SOA Survey 2010: SOA Is Well-Established in Enterprise Today

State of SOA Survey 2010: SOA Is Well-Established in Enterprise Today

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Recently, TechTarget and Forrester Research team members collaborated on the report to determine the state of SOA in the year 2010. The content of the report covers the following:

  • Stats and figures that show how SOA is expanding
  • How IT professionals implement their SOA methodology
  • When and Where SOA is being used
  • The future of SOA

According to report’s executive summary:

Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) has come a long way since it came to industry attention in 2002 as a cure for proliferating, incompatible Web Services. As an industry buzz word 'SOA' does not now fly as high as it used to. At the same time, SOA as an architecture or practice has clearly grown deep roots in technology shops. In IT today, architecture offices and development teams continue to work to cast their application development and integration projects in terms of services that can be reused and interchanged in the future... Survey results show that 47.4% of respondents work in organizations where SOA projects are underway, and 30.9% have multiple SOA projects underway. In terms of project scope, this work is seen as "enterprise-level" in nature in 62.6% of the cases... Use of SOA has not dropped even as "cloud computing" has emerged as an alternative buzz word du jour.

The report also shows that in order to overcome budget’s constraints of the last couple of years SOA direction has changed - it is now more closely aligned with the BPM efforts and is often introduced as an application modernization initiative. According to the report, 70.5% of the respondents are using or planning to use SOA for implementing Web applications, while 51.3% and 48.7% are using it for data services and legacy integrations respectively.

SOA arose as a means to curb unbridled Web services, but these same services continue to fuel both the Web-enabled corporate software portfolio and the SOA movement.

Another notable observation of the report is 65.58% success (23.19% - considerable success; 42.39% some success) rate of SOA projects:

SOA efforts may be making the auspicious leap from their past life as highly speculative undertakings with more than modest chances of failure to mainstream, evincing success-failure ranges on track with, well, typical IT projects!

The report also shows that the driving forces behind SOA usage are changing. The main SOA drivers in 2010:

Improved data integration (29.2%), legacy integration (26.7), flexibility of application development (27.2%), and department-level application integration (21.9%) now surpass cost reductions (20.5%) and developer productivity (19.2%).

Commenting the results of the report, Forrester’s Randy Heffner notes that the most interesting result was the fact that:

... the most significant challenge facing SOA initiatives, by far, was beyond SOA itself. 27% said that their biggest concern was "Designing how to do SOA in an integrated way with other initiatives (e.g., BPM, events, BI, rules, etc.)." The second top concern, "Evaluating and selecting the appropriate tools and/or frameworks [for SOA]," was so named by only 13% of respondents. In other words, the industry is realizing that individual, siloed technology strategies miss the mark - it is a multi-technology world. SOA is important, but business technology (BT) solutions need more than SOA, and they need their SOA approach to be integrated with their approaches to other technology and design domains.

In Heffner’s opinion, SOA practitioners are moving towards a business capability architecture to provide a new foundation for their technology strategy:

  • Start with business outcomes... the metrics - the business outcomes - that most determine the organization’s success boil down to the balance sheet, statement of operations, and statement of cash flow, combined with soft metrics that indicate the organization’s power, stature, and influence in the marketplace.
  • Direct the evolution of business capabilities. Business plans make a poor foundation for tech strategy... A better foundation is an organization’s core capabilities - product design, customer service, etc. - which we build on and evolve to achieve better outcomes... we need to implement them using an integrated, operational, measurable combination of people, processes, technology, and physical resources...
  • Provide design implementation models oriented around business change. A business capability map is good, but [it needs to be supplemented with] design principles and implementation models for integrated, coherent, holistic implementation of business capabilities. This includes the notion of a business capability platform - a cohesive, integrated, multi technology, business-focused platform - that gets past the single technology focus of our current day BPM apps, event-driven apps, and the like.

The report proves once again that in spite of all setbacks, SOA is firmly entrenched in today’s IT and business undertaking.

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