Is SOA only for large, "rich" companies?
Francis Carden, the CEO of OpenSpan, raised this issue in response to last week's post, "A Tool for Explaining SOA to the Business." He called it the "Rich Man/Poor Man divide" and noted it's a trend he has recently noticed.
"I'm seeing companies with buckets of cash being thrown at this re-architecture and seeing some good results for the most part. However it is still a very slow progress on a corporate scale for the Rich Man. I'm seeing the Poor Man realizing, he has no choice but to make do with what he has and he might as well just try to make what he has better."
It's a good question, and one I've been pondering since I read his comment. I suspected he was right - after all, technology tends to be expensive, creating an automatic barrier for small businesses. But then again, it's hard to get a hold on what SOA costs. After all, you don't have to buy middleware to build your SOA. You can use Web services and free tools - or so I've been told.
This week, ZDNet SOA blogger Joe McKendrick raised a similar issue by stating, "Small companies don't have time for SOA."
McKendrick cites the recent Nucleus Research survey as evidence. That survey is by now well-known in IT circles for the SOA ROI results, but as McKendrick points out, the survey also noted that only 15 percent of companies with less than 100 employees are working on SOA projects. Meanwhile, 35 percent of companies with more than 500 employees are working on SOA.
Maybe large, wealthier companies are the ones adopting SOA because it's too expensive? But then again, maybe your company needs to be larger just to receive any benefits? Maybe small companies are agile enough without SOA?
I'd love to hear back from others on these questions.