SOA Big on SAP and IBM Agendas

Enterprise software giant SAP is looking to bolster its position in the service-oriented architecture (SOA) arena, by launching a variety of consulting services aimed at helping customers transition to SOA.

The new consulting services will help customers develop a road map to transition their enterprise systems to SOA, according to Bernd-Michael Rumpf, head of SAS’s Global Field Services group and chief executive of the software company’s systems integration division. The services will also help companies roll out SOA-based systems, leveraging the vendor’s NetWeaver technology.

“We are providing customers with the clear services that will enable their successful transition to enterprise SOA,” Rumpf said in making the announcement at the company’s TechEd conference this week in Amsterdam.

Included in the list of new consulting services is SAP Business Strategy for Enterprise SOA, which essentially helps customers define an SOA strategy for their business and technology requirements. An SAP Modeling service similarly helps customers build an implementation design based on their specific business processes.

Most of the large enterprise software players have been making announcements in recent months related to their SOA offerings and consulting services, as the technology continues to gain momentum. IBM’s latest earnings gave some indication of just how big a role SOA is playing in its future growth plans.

In its third quarter results, released Oct. 17, IBM said revenue for its WebSphere family of software products, which is a key plank in its SOA application integration strategy, increased 30% over the same period a year earlier. It didn’t break out WebSphere’s specific revenue, but said revenue for IBM’s middleware brands, which include WebSphere, Tivoli, Lotus and Rational products, was $3.4 billion, a 12% increase over the third quarter of 2005. IBM software revenue overall was $4.4 billion in the quarter, a 9% increase.

IBM had a big quarter, posting a profit of $2.2 billion, or $1.45 a share, up from $1.52 billion, or 94 cents a share, a year earlier.