A week doesn't pass by without one or two rants from columnists, bloggers or analysts about the overly technical focus of SOA proponents and SOA-oriented vendors. This week, for example, analyst Dana Gardner of Interarbor Solutions argues that SOA technology has little value unless it can solve a specific business problem.
One huge SOA proponent, IBM, is promising value in months from its SOA-oriented offerings, and it will do so by focusing on existing pain points, not the highly touted (and somewhat technical) benefits of agility, flexibility and reuse.
But SOA as a pure technology base has actually had a huge, if rarely mentioned, effect on business use of IT. SOA technology is at the foundation of Salesforce.com, NetSuite and RightNow. These three software-as-a-service providers ,who control 80 percent of the SaaS market, are arguably game-changers. In all fairness, however, they are young companies that never had to deal with the legacy issues faced by more established enterprises. Nonetheless, they are redrawing the map for major software categories like CRM.