Two Reasons Enterprises Are Not Pursuing SOA

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2008-11-03 Print this article Print


Overall, the two major reasons why organizations choose not to pursue SOA are a lack of skills and expertise, and no viable business case, the Gartner study showed. If the business case has been tested and is not viable, then there is no reason to do it. However, Gartner officials said there appears to be much confusion about how to construct a business case for SOA. 

Between May and July of 2008, Gartner conducted a series of surveys about the adoption, use, benefits and practices for SOA. This included an initial sample of more than 200 companies worldwide with more than 1,000 employees. There were three subsequent phases to survey attendees at Gartner conferences with SOA-related subject matter. These subsequent surveys had a total of 119 respondents that met the screening criteria, Gartner said.

According to the survey, 53 percent of the respondents were already using SOA in some part of their organizations. Another 25 percent were not using it but had plans to do so in the next 12 months; and 16 percent had no plans to use SOA at all.  About 20 percent were building event-driven architectures, and 20 percent were planning to do so in the next 12 months.

However, although the Gartner survey relies on survey data, not all analysts see the same things in the results. Jason Bloomberg, an analyst with ZapThink, which does a lot of research in the SOA space, said:

"They're picking up on two trends: organizations that haven't shown sufficient value with SOA, and are thus scaling back in the face of the downturn, combined with the fact that SOA is becoming more mainstream, and as such, SOA best practices are becoming generally accepted enterprise architecture best practices. The second trend is the more subtle, since an increasing number of organizations are doing SOA without calling the projects SOA projects. Surveys, unfortunately, don't pick up on the second trend if they simply ask people about their SOA efforts."

"Use of modern programming environments is closely associated with SOA," Sholler said. "This suggests that more organizations are focusing on SOA in the context of new developments that use Java, Microsoft .NET and some of the dynamic programming languages, such as Perl, Python, PHP and Ruby. Organizations should think about options when applying SOA in legacy programming environments because skills blending the two will likely be scarce."

Gartner found that the enterprises planning not to adopt SOA represent a diverse group. The highest concentrations of organizations not pursuing SOA and having no plans to do so are in process manufacturing and agriculture and mining, Gartner said.

The survey also found that the adoption of SOA and the plans for adoption vary widely by region. Overall, SOA adoption in Europe is widespread, moderate in North America and lagging in Asia, the Gartner study showed. In Europe, current adoption rates are very high, and only a tiny percentage of organizations having no plans for adoption in the future, Sholler said.

In North America, the adoption rate is high, but a low number of organizations have committed to adopt SOA in the next 12 months, and a fairly high proportion has no plans to pursue SOA, he said. The picture in Asia is quite different, where adoption is less than half of that in other regions, and where the majority of organizations are not planning to pursue SOA within the next 12 months, Sholler said. 

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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