Research: SOA Spending Set to Double in 2008

By Ericka Chickowski  |  Posted 2008-02-27 Print this article Print

SOA is on the rise suggests recent research.

New research out this week shows that the use of service oriented architecture (SOA) is mushrooming within the typical business environment as organizations begin to utilize the SOA ecosystem to cut down on the difficulty of changing application systems to support changes in the business.

The growth of SOA expanded by 100 percent last year and companies who did deploy spent an average of $1.4 million on SOA projects in 2007 according to a study released by AMR Research this week.

In an interview with Baseline, the report’s author, Ian Finley, predicted that 2008 could see enterprises funneling enough funds into SOA projects to double SOA spending by year’s end.

“The market is beginning to shift from it being dominated by first timers to people who have done their first project and are now trying to ramp up,” said Finley, who is research director for AMR. “I think that we're going to see the dollars go up significantly as a result of that big slug of people who have just done their first project. We could see it double by the end of next year.”

Finley’s report showed that many 2007 early adopters of SOA primarily implemented it through one-off pilot projects as a way to prove its usefulness in development of business applications and processes. For the most part, these tests were successful enough for most of these organizations to make plans to expand the use of SOA in the next year.

“What we've seen in the early adopters, once they get comfortable with the first project, then they get enthusiastic and they want to use it in much more of the total IT workflow,” Finley said.

According to analysts at Gartner, SOA was used in more than 50 percent of large, new applications and business processes in 2007. Gartner believes that by 2010 more than 80 percent of large, new systems will use SOA in at least some part of their design.

As organizations begin to use SOA more prolifically throughout their environments this year, Finley believes that they will encounter a few unique challenges they may not have needed to contend with during limited use of these services.

“When you get to the second and the third and the fourth project you won’t have 10 people doing SOA, you’ll have 20 or 30 or 50, and then all of sudden you’ll realize, ‘Wait a minute. I need to somehow have a process for deciding what services should be built and what services should be used and who is going to take care of those services if  I build a service for a particular project and run it to solve a particular business problem,’” he said. “If somebody comes along and starts using it for a new project, who is paying for that? And who gets to decide how we're going to change it to make it better?”

Research released by Gartner last month showed that some enterprises are already struggling with the reuse of services developed for specific business processes.

“Some companies have been disappointed by the low level of service sharing ("reuse") that they have achieved. Some SOA projects have failed for a variety of reasons, including unclear objectives, lack of coordination between business units implementing SOA in isolation from each other and spending too much time modeling interfaces without delivering working systems,” wrote Charles Abrams and Roy Schulte in the Gartner paper. “Nevertheless, the majority of SOA projects succeed, and most companies that have started using SOA continue with it and expand their use of it.”

Finley predicts that the issue of SOA governance to streamline SOA projects as they become more common within organizations will become increasingly important this year. Additionally, he believes that organizations that decide to throw themselves into SOA full-force this year will need to make important decisions about what technology will support their SOA efforts. “Folks will have to choose a technology path. Through a lot of your early SOA efforts you can choose whatever is cheap and easy because all you are doing is dipping your toe in the water, but then if you start saying ‘Lets do this as a corporate standard and get everyone involved and build this new architecture out around this technology over the next 10 to 15 years,’ suddenly everyone has got stakes in what technology gets chosen to do that,” Finley says.


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