How Popular is SOA?
Companies can save up to $53 billion in IT spending over the next five years by investing in service-oriented architecture, according to a new benchmark report from Aberdeen Group. Yet the research, "The SOA in IT Benchmark Report," found that only 16 percent of the companies surveyed have had more than 24 months of experience with SOA. Aberdeen also found that only 15 percent of the 300 IT and business executives surveyed have managed or completed at least three SOA-related projects.
"Companies cannot expect business benefits from SOA before the IT department has been able to assimilate what SOA can do for them," says William Mougayar, vice president and service director for Aberdeen Group's CIOs Strategic Agenda practice. "The number one cascading effect of SOA's benefits for the IT [department] is the development of new products and capabilities, but this is only possible after full life-cycle SOA implementations."
The top challenge to SOA adoption, cited by 41 percent of survey respondents, is "limited visibility for SOA value," Mougayar says, because SOA is not yet widely deployed. But as more companies begin the process of implementing SOA, he says its benefits will become apparent. "By focusing on the architectural requirements behind SOA, companies can take advantage of its strategic value," he says. "The architecture is what gives SOA its highest value."
Ultimately, SOA will give IT departments a higher level of predictability in delivering IT software thanks to three key benefits. Companies that use SOA have been able to speed up deployment of IT software, have experienced easier integration of software with other legacy systems, and have been able to incorporate updates and customization adjustments faster. A $10 billion company with a $300 million IT budget can save $30 million per year from a broad SOA adoption after a five-year horizon of implementing SOA in at least 75 percent of its applications, according to the study.
"SOA is for the long term. Companies will try to balance the initial cost of developing SOA applications against the expected savings form the deployment, integration, testing, and maintenance phases," Mougayar says. "The savings are real in productivity gains, time, and costs. Whether the SOA development is done internally or outsourced, IT maintenance costs will fall."
Mougayar says continued deployment of SOA will reside with "forward-thinking" CIOs because SOA presents them with the opportunity to "flex their muscles. Running IT like a service, adopting open-service architectures, and linking business to IT originally via a business services orientation will help the IT organization achieve service-oriented IT."
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