Survey Says: SOA and Web Services Worth It

Loraine Lawson

When you're knee-deep in as massive a switch as SOA, you inevitable start to wonder: Is this really worth it?


A recent survey and an eight-year SOA implementation story indicate yes.


This month, CIO Insight published the results of a Web services and SOA survey, which queried 164 IT leaders about their experience with SOA and Web services. It's worth noting that 60 percent of those who responded were the chief IT officer in their organizations.


Now, before you continue with this post, I should warn you that the survey poised every question as about SOA AND/OR Web services. Yes, I know, the two aren't the same thing or inevitably linked, and that's something of a flaw, but it wasn't my survey. I think the results are still worth reviewing.


The survey is presented as a series of slides on the site. Here's a highlight of the findings that caught my eye:

  • When asked about how SOA/Web Services improved data and application integration, 12 percent reported their expectations were exceeded and 45 percent said their expectations were met. Thirty-five percent said their expectations were partially met, while 5 percent said the project failed expectations. Not bad.
  • Apparently, SOA/Web Services and Business Process Management, (the technology suites, not the business approach), are linked for a sizable minority. Forty-eight percent reported they are upgrading their BPM suites to take advantage of SOA/Web services.
  • Seventy-two percent say their Web Services/SOA efforts have made it possible for the company to develop and deploy software more quickly. And 66 percent say it's increased the productivity of the software development team.
  • Tying in with yesterday's post about SOA enabling companies to extend legacy systems, 73 percent reported that Web services/SOA have allowed the company to continue to use legacy systems. However, 61 percent reported that Web Services/SOA has accelerated moving away from legacy applications.
If you're looking for something a bit more specific, you might want to check out this article about the British Telecom's shift to SOA. After 8 years of work, the company now says it's completely SOA-based. You can also read a more critical assessment of BT's announcement, as written byAndy Mulholland, the global chief technology officer of Capgemini Group, an IT outsourcing and consulting firm. As he points out, the resulting 20 percent drop in IT staff required is a huge indicator that SOA is worth pursuing.

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