An extremely interesting report was released last week by Saugatuck Technology. The company's research indicated that, by and large, SOA continues to be a technology-driven phenomenon, and that may prove its downfall.
Part of the problem is simply that business managers are under pressure to solve pressing tactical problems, not implement enterprise-wide visions -- and SOA certainly falls into the latter category. But there's another, structural issue that may be even more difficult to overcome. Businesses are made up of financial silos as well as technology silos. And figuring out who's going to pay for the development and maintenance of any given service is no simple problem.
Microsoft is addressing the tactical vs. strategic issue by consciously avoiding a top-down approach to SOA in favor of one that focuses on solving tactical business problems (with technology that nonetheless conforms to broad SOA standards). This may be a smart approach. According to a recent study sponsored by BEA, only 22 percent of the funding for a typical SOA project comes from dollars earmarked for SOA. The lion's share, 59 percent, comes from business solution budgets.
As we've noted in the past, the best hope for SOA to achieve success on an enterprise scale is as a set of enabling methodologies and technologies for business process management, which is as business-driven as it gets.