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Gartner Says SOA Centers of Excellence Can Save Companies Up To 30 Percent on Application Integration Projects


Top-performing integration competency centers (ICCs) -- or service-orientated architecture (SOA) centers of excellence -- can help companies achieve significant cost savings on application integration projects, according to Gartner, Inc. Analysts estimate that ICCs can save an average of 30 percent in integration application and data interface development time and costs, 20 percent in maintenance costs and achieve 25 percent reuse of integration components. With integration projects typically costing between $250,000 and $1,000,000, potential savings can reach $100,000 or more.

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The ICC carries out projects with high business value, such as integrating the processes of order-to-cash, loan origination or claims adjudication across disparate applications and systems.

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"Every IT department of any size should have an ICC," said Paolo Malinverno, research vice president at Gartner. "Its benefits quickly outweigh any organizational challenges that must be addressed while the ICC is created. ICCs/SOAs centers of excellences are absolutely vital in every SOA project out of the pilot stage."

Gartner warned that many ICCs will fail to achieve such savings because of insufficient sponsorship and other organization execution problems. "There are three major lethal showstoppers for the ICC," said Mr. Malinverno. "These are unclear corporate governance policies that muddle the ICC's decisions, the selection of a suboptimal integration-suite product and underestimating integration costs."

ICCs are mostly found in large companies, which frequently have more than one and federate them through a careful split of the areas of influence. Most midsize companies haven't yet created an ICC, but many will as they implement more sophisticated integration tools, web services and SOA projects.

Gartner said that SOA in itself should not be seen as a quick fix. Survey findings indicate that it takes a considerable amount of time -- typically two to three years -- before leveraging services covers enough application functionality to reverse increasing IT costs. Even SOA projects having reuse as a primary objective typically take one to two years to start reducing project cycles. Despite this, Gartner predicts that organizations with the majority of integration work funneled through an ICC/SOA center of excellence are likely to see results sooner than those who take a piecemeal approach.

Gartner analysts will further explore application architecture and governance, changing software platforms and web and multi-enterprise collaboration at the Gartner SOA and Application Development & Integration Summit, taking place on 25-26 June in London. The Summit brings together a compelling blend of Gartner expertise, end-users and vendors in four conference tracks, including new research and best practice advice, real-life case studies, interactive panels and solution provider sessions in more than 80 sessions over two days.

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