SOA uptake still split amid market confusion

The benefits of SOA still not widely understood

A joint Computerworld and Hydrasight research project on the adoption of Service Oriented Architectures within local enterprises has revealed a stark divide between those who have and those who have not gone down the SOA path.

In a survey of 48 senior IT executives, 44 percent said their organization is using SOA in production today, 35 percent said they weren't, and a high 20 percent didn't know if the organization was at all.

The survey also indicated a lack of confidence in the maturity and proliferation of SOA solutions.

Some 41 percent disagree that their organization's SOA capability is mature with the same number agreeing their SOA capability will be mature by 2009. Furthermore, 35 percent don't believe SOA will be widespread within their organization by 2009, however, 41 percent see SOA as providing significant benefit to the organization by 2009.

Of those organizations not yet doing SOA, about 43 percent of organizations considering SOA deployments in the coming 12 to 24 months have not started the project, and 43 percent are not considering SOA at all during that time frame.

Hydrasight managing director Michael Warrilow said there is clearly a pool of SOA early adopters who highlighted the potential benefits moving forward but there is a disparity between those who have adopted it and those who haven't.

"Early adopters consider themselves immature today and are getting most advancement from internal development," Warrilow said, adding SOA is the new EAI.

"The intention is to grow SOA but most of it is soft," he said.

Of the organizations using SOA, Microsoft took out first position as the chosen software vendor with 53 percent followed by Oracle at 41 percent, IBM and "others" at 35 percent. HP, BEA, and SAP brought up the rear of the field. However, 52 percent said IBM software is more likely to be used if an SOA project were to proceed, followed by Microsoft at 38 percent.

Microsoft's high standing is a mystery to Warrilow, as is HP's, but he believes it may be due to customers choosing incumbent vendors for SOA projects.

When asked how the organization is likely to achieve the greatest benefits from the use of SOA, 82 percent of respondents cited integrating internal applications, with 47 percent stating integration with existing business partners, and 29 percent see SOA as a path for integration with future external parties.

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