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Do You Believe SOA Related Projects Will Increase or Decrease in the Future?

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From Miko Matsumura of Software AG: SOA Adoption has not appeared overnight, to say the least. As early as 2002 there were reports of "The Year of Web Services" (SOA was not a popular term at the time). SOA Adoption has followed the chaotic behavior of "coupled oscillators," the oscillators being the business and IT. These two forces are only loosely "coupled" in that the business has many options and sources for IT services, whereas IT only has one source of business.

In this frame, SOA Adoption appears to be on the rise. A recent Forrester report as well as a Gartner report on market size for SOA Governance among others indicates a healthy growth of SOA. Do you believe SOA related projects will increase or decrease in the future?

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  • Juliet once said "A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet"

    Meaning of course that it is possible that SOA will end up being named other things like "Enterprise Services" or Service Adoption Programme.

    In answer to the above, the pattern of coarsely grained reusable networked components (business services) for the Enterprise will definitely rise. Recent Gartner and Forrester research corroborate this, and in fact reassert that the name for those projects will be "SOA".

    SOA has undergone a lot of shifts in its storied history, but ultimately, the metapattern of aligning business and IT is pretty ubiquitous and organizations that dont shift to it will struggle.

    The SOA Governance market as an indicator is growing --Software AG leads in this with 55% YoY growth, but others are showing very similar numbers.

    Now I know Business and IT are FAR from the romantic Romeo and Juliet. Here's hoping that the two of them end up together less tragically than Shakespeare's famous couple.

  • I really like this question as it gets to the heart of the debate raging in the market right now about whether or not SOA is dead. There are two phenomenon going on right now: 1. the pace of the adoption of the architectural methodology and approach describes by SOA is increasing as organizations becomes more mature with establishing the required best practices, skills, governance, and cultural alignment required for successful SOA adoption and 2. This means that SOA is becoming an established IT approach and architectural basis for new projects, but is also losing the need for being described as a project in-and-of-itself.

    Similarly to other widely adopted and assimilated IT paradigms, SOA will simply become one of the main ways of delivering IT value. Just as you don't hear people speaking about whether there is an increase in client-server projects or networked projects, I believe you will hear less-and-less about SOA projects, ironically as the number of projects that are based on SOA are rapidly increasing.

    So, I believe, as IT matures in it's ability to plan, design, develop and deliver new solutions based on SOA principles, the number of projects successfully delivered based on SOA will grow quickly as will the resultant benefits derived from taking a SOA approach. The interesting dynamic is that as that occurs, SOA will continue to take a step further back from the marketing limelight as the next new thing takes precedent, as we are seeing with emerging paradigms such as cloud computing. In summary, yes, the number of SOA projects will increase but we will hear less about the SOA part of the project and more about the ROI and results.

  • For the most part, I agree with Miko's assessment stated here that in some way, shape or form, service-oriented design patterns will continue to be used in the development of enterprise solutions. However, it's kind of like asking do "bears $$$$ in the woods," to which the answer is not yes, it's, "yes, when they don't $$$$ in the cave, lake or river." That is, there will be a rise in SOA as long as SOA droppings continue to litter the field.

    The more important question is not one of quantity, but quality. Will SOA-related projects deliver the value and ROI that is expected based on the investment?

  • Now that’s something I can relate to with pleasure. And yes, I strongly believe that an increasing number of projects are and will be SOA related. This links directly to topics I posted here and elsewhere about Architecture being the real force that drives the recent evolution – Cloud, SaaS, RIA etc…

    But there’s even more to it, and this is a great occasion to share the insight.

    How about the following analogy, that I borrow from my past colleague Avishai Shafir (presently Director of Product Marketing at BluePhoenix) : Imagine a world in which we have to supply all our needs on our own… - that would set us deeply back in time, won’t you agree? If you think about it, modern society is based almost exclusively on services: Trade, Health, Transportation, Finance, … and these services are founded upon Specialization, Standardization, Regulation and Scalability, among others. Come to think of it, we live in a SOA! Yet in the IT world, we’re still very much in the primitive autarchic era in which every solution/application has to supply all its needs on its own. Now, imagine how far could Business Technology (that’s the next thing beyond IT) evolve with SOA and ubiquitous services – may be as far or even beyond what modern human society achieved by building on a SOA.

    So let me supplement this with a question of mine – Do you agree to the statement that we are living in SOA?

  • Based on all the conversations we are having with our customers and prospects it is clear that the deployment of services is on the rise. It may not be growing as fast as some of us would like but the signs are there. IT organizations are seeing a greater demand by the business for improving agility and time to market. Businesses need to continue evolving and innovating which does not change, the one thing that does change is that there are less people to address the growing demands. As IT organizations attempt to keep up with business demand and competition there will no doubt be an increase in non-compliant services and organizations wanting to take short cuts. The effect will be more risk taking. I have to believe that this is one of the reasons why people have started to focus on governance according to some of the recent research.

  • I think SOA projects will continue to increase - the majority of the aggregate spending won't be brand new starts as much as being more comprehensive types of service orientation - as the initial projects are proving value, we seek to better govern, validate, measure, etc. and improve collaboration across more teams.

    However I think this question will decrease! Remember there used to be a big technology space called "eCommerce" and it is still going on today... I think most of the experts on this board would probably be fine calling SOA "whatever" instead (thanks Miko) as long as it delivered the agility and cost benefits.

  • ALL projects in the future will be SOA-related -- though they might not be called SOA. Just as every project has some connection to the Web or Web protocols -- but no one calls them "Web projects" anymore. Kelly Emo said it here, in that nobody talks about client/server or networked projects.

  • Forrester's survey data says "increase" -- even increase strongly. Even after the start of the current economic crisis, 18% of enterprises (organizations with 1000 or more employees) said they would start on SOA during 2009. Of the 44% of survey respondents at enterprises already using SOA, 59% say they are expanding their use of SOA. Many are far along the SOA adoption road: 19% of SOA user enterprises apply SOA to 25% or more of their solution delivery projects. More SOA users + expanding use by current SOA users = more SOA related projects. More data is available for Forrester clients in two reports:

    1) SOA Is Far From Dead — But It Should Be Buried at http://www.forrester.com/go?docid=54063

    2) Across All Vertical Industry Groups, The Majority Of SOA Users Are Expanding Its Use at http://www.forrester.com/go?docid=48276

  • For decades SOA has been a know design pattern for distributed computing. Because SOA is defined by loosely coupled services it is the most adaptable design.

    Large organizations today are inherently distributed. As stove piped monolithic departmental or enterprise solutions give way to more adaptable integrated solutions, SOA is the natural design choice.

    The real problem with SOA is the hype and the misunderstanding of what it is, what it can do, and how to design, manage, and reuse loosely coupled system components. We may be nearing the end of the hype cycle, and everyone who bought the hype but didn't to do work to figure out how to actually design SOA solutions have jumped into the trough of disillusionment and declared SOA dead. Now SOA can finally rise from the ashes in it's true form and potential, providing practical, adaptable, distributed and federated solutions.

    SOA needs to succeed in the future because the design pattern is the correct one. People just need to figure out how best to apply it and there's a learning curve there. For some reason, IT always wants to believe in technology silver bullets, and is hesitant to invest in education instead of just technology.

  • The answer is a resounding "YES". SOA has been around in one form or another well before the acronym SOA was coined. The goal of well-meaning architects has always been to align business and IT, increase business agility, and establish IT value/credibility with robust user-oriented solutions. SOA is the latest name given to that admirable, always slightly out-of-reach goal. The same goal will be called something else later but the principles of SOA will stand. The architecture pattern embodied in SOA has stood and will continue to stand the test of time.

    A related question though was anwered previously on the ebizQ SOA forum related to the Biggest SOA inhibitors. So, while I am confident that the number of SOA projects will increase in the future, the rate at which that will occur depends on how well these inhibitors will be overcome.

    Another question that comes to mind relates to the never ending debate between "Quantity" and "Quality". While numbers are important, they don't tell the whole story. Are we better off if the number of SOA projects goes up while the success rate (aka quality) does not or gets worse? Yes, thinking about quantity is important, especially as one embarks on new initiatives and wants to ensure that they will not fall behind the times even before their initiative is over but remember that any discussion about quantity must be balanced with a corresponding discussion on quality.

    So, I end this post with the question:

    Do You Believe that the Quality of SOA Related Projects Will Increase or Decrease in the Future?

  • I think that many organizations have been implementing SOA projects for many years and will continue to do so. If it is simply 'an architecture', as was discussed in another thread on this forum, it requires organizations to invest in training as suggested by a previous contributor. If people want to implement a SOA in this context, it does not require the purchase of lots of new and expensive tools and software. Unfortunately, the broad software community tends to associate SOA with purchasing bundles of software thus confusing the issue.

    On the other hand if we relate the question to 'standards based SOA', I believe as organizations understand the interoperability benefits they can get, projects using standards will increase over time as real benefits can be seen by the business immediately. Of course they will also gain the benefits of an architectural SOA as well !

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