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Cost Reduction is the Key Long-Term Driver of SOA Adoption


Friday, February 16, 2007; 03:22 AM

Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/c50500) has announced the addition of SOA Reality Check: Three Waves of Adoption through 2012 to their offering.

Depending on who you talk to, Service Orientation is either the biggest disruptive innovation in software, or merely a rerun of object-oriented programming and development. Mega-vendors IBM, Oracle and SAP -- among others -- are spending billions to promote Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) as the way forward for businesses struggling to create more flexible, agile business processes while reducing the cost of application development and management. Given all the “noise” in the market about SOA, we determined that it was time to find out what users are really doing with SOA -- hence we set out to interview over forty senior IT executives to find out what they are -- and are not -- doing with SOA. Hence the title of this report -- a “SOA Reality Check.”

When we embarked on our research program in the summer of 2006, our goal was to conduct a real-world analysis and assessment of SOA adoption. This includes understanding the types of applications where SOA is being applied, the degrees of enterprise compared to point solution deployment, whether SOA adoption is being led by business or by IT leadership, and the depth of enterprise SOA penetration.

This Strategic Research Report presents the results of this primary research program, which was conducted in two phases from July through December 2006. Phase I included 40 deep-dive interviews with senior user IT executives and application architects at large enterprise and mid-size customers (thirty-four of whom were based in North America, with the remainder from Europe and Asia Pacific). This phase also included our analysis and opinions regarding the implications of these data on the Small Business market based on broader research conducted over the past eighteen months. Phase II included briefings with leading SOA vendors in which we discussed our research findings and the likely evolution of SOA through 2010 and beyond.

As with many of our studies, we have combined a fact-based research foundation with our own thought leadership to produce this report. While the interview based research is a snapshot in time, we also provide a forward-looking view as to how SOA is likely to evolve and play out over the next five years, as well as our assessment concerning key lessons learned and best practices that were shared by both early adopters and the vendors that they are doing business with.

We believe that this methodology results in a balanced view of the promises and shortcomings of SOA from both the user and vendor point of view. A summary of our findings and conclusions follows.


Enterprises committing to SOA will evolve through three defined implementation Waves:

-- Wave I: Departmental initiatives, Project-based

-- Wave II: Cross-departmental initiatives, Process-based

-- Wave III: Enterprise-wide initiatives, Program-based

SOA is experiencing slow but steady adoption among large and mid-sized enterprises, but it is still very early in the deployment cycle across all enterprises. Our research findings on deployment include:

Most firms who are deploying SOA are focused around two stages -- either early stage planning, and/or trial SOA deployment focused around legacy application integration.

Those who are implementing are primarily taking a technology-led approach to SOA deployment -- whereas earlier research that we conducted in early 2005 suggested that many early adopters were viewing SOA as needing to be a business-led initiative.

The key long-term driver of SOA adoption -- cost reduction -- outdistances all others by a two-to-one margin. Unlike other technology revolutions of the past such as client/server and minicomputers, users are also citing “code reusability” and “business agility” as strong secondary drivers of SOA.

While short-term challenges associated with standards and technology maturation will need to be overcome, there is significant reason to believe that SOA may not reach its full potential to transform businesses over the long-term. To do so, users will have to find ways to overcome three key inhibitors to SOA adoption:

-- Funding the upfront investment required for enterprise-wide SOA deployment is a key concern and potential inhibitor to SOA adoption.

-- Sharing computing resources will require a change in the way line-of-business managers view, and use, IT, as well as in the way IT itself is managed.

-- SOA Governance: Users recognize the importance of SOA Governance as a success factor, but are not yet doing too much about it.

In summary, while there are many success stories around SOA, there remain significant barriers to its long-term acceptance as a foundational technology and IT management approach. Our Insight: The real benefits of SOA are unlikely to be realized unless:

-- Users are willing to take on the serious challenges of implementing SOA as a wholesale change in the way business units work together and develop systems,

-- Vendors do a better job matching their rhetoric and roadmaps to users’ short-term goals, rather than to the grandiose, longer-term goal of improving business agility.

Topics Covered


Research Summary

Three Waves of SOA Implementation

Wave I: Departmentally-focused, Project-based

Wave II: Cross Departmentally-focused, Process-based

Wave III: Enterprise-focused, Program-based

Planning Positions

The Promise of SOA

The Vendor SOA Vision: Strategic Meets Tactical

The SOA Reality is Long-Term and Strategic

SOA Adoption Trends

Three Waves -- Adoption Timeline

Starting Points -- Functional Areas and Application Categories

SOA Business Drivers

SOA Inhibitors

Initial Investment Factors

SOA Immaturity Factors

SOA Management Factors

Lessons Learned

Table Stakes Investments

An Investment in Change

An Investment in Governance

SOA Best Practices

Summary Implications and Recommendations

Implications and Recommendations for Users

Implications and Recommendations for Vendors

Table of Figures

Sidebar: SOA Defined

Figure 1: Three Waves of SOA Implementation

Figure 2: SOA Adoption Phases

Figure 3: SOA Adoption Timeline: Mid-to-Large Size Enterprises

Figure 4: Initial SOA Implementation Areas

Figure 5: Initial SOA Application Implementations

Figure 6: Top Six Drivers of Long-Term SOA Success

Figure 7: Drivers of Long-Term SOA Success

Figure 8: Top Inhibitors to Long-Term SOA Sucess

Sidebar: The Critical Importance of Governance

For more information visit http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/c50500.



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