Can We Call SOA a Success Yet? Survey Says...

Loraine Lawson

When is it safe to say SOA is successful?

According to a recent survey by SOA governance company Amberpoint, we can say so now. The survey found that nearly four out of 10 enterprises report their SOA implementations met all their goals. Sixty percent said SOA met most of their goals.

But even more telling is this statistic: Only 1.5 percent of SOA projects ended in failure, a figure that beats the industry average for all software projects, according to TechWorld.

Even if you add in those surveyed who opted not to proceed with their SOAs, the failure rate still isn't even 5 percent.

This surprised Amberpoint as much as the rest of us. "Ed Horst, Amberpoint's VP of marketing, was surprised by this particular result and could offer no explanation for it," the article notes.

Apparently, the SOA governance company wasn't anticipating these type of results, since the survey didn't push for more details on the SOA implementations. Still, there's enough here to answer a lot of "Yeah, but" arguments you might have. For instance:

  • The survey did reveal that only 20 percent of those surveyed were restricting the SOA projects to a single department -- so small implementations are not a huge factor in the success rate.
  • The survey also showed 58 percent of enterprises included "non-SOAP" messaging, such as MQ or RMI, in their SOAs, indicating this isn't a case of "Just a Bunch of Web Services" masquerading as a SOA.
  • The survey did show that packaged applications -- specifically, the article mentions SAP - are included in 68 percent of SOA systems, so while you may not be able to "buy" a SOA, you can certainly buy a solution that helps move your SOA along.

While the Amberpoint survey suggests SOA is a success, others are less keen to embrace SOA's success.


For instance, Oracle's Larry Ellison said it could be 10 to 20 years before companies can take full advantage of SOA's benefits -- although, he made those comments before Oracle's big move into SOA-based data integration suite this month.


Australian Oracle consultant Chris Muir is inclined to agree with Elison. As Muir wrote recently on his blog, in the real world, building a SOA can be very messy. Although his problems actually have more to do with wayward business processes than anything specifically SOA, his point should be well-taken: SOA may be a good approach, but it's not magic. SOA still has to work in a world that may not be ready to capitalize on what it offers.


Wall Street also remains skeptical, according to this blog post from Wall Street & Technology.


Wall Street is bothered by the lack of service level agreement and the resulting service quality assurances, according to Hugh Grant, director of global IT research and development at Credit Suiss.


That's hardly not surprising from a conservative and heavily-regulated industry that measures success by minute market fluctuations. And who can blame them? Grant also listed concerns about security, funding, risk and compliance as major obstacles to SOA adoption at investment firms.


These companies are exploring SOA slowly, though their use is restricted primarily to small integration and business activity monitoring projects within business units, according to Grant.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Feb 19, 2008 9:00 AM Loraine Lawson Loraine Lawson  says:
It should read "masquerading." My mistake. Reply
Feb 19, 2008 1:59 PM Kirstan Vandersluis Kirstan Vandersluis  says:
The survey also indicates that certain implementation areas area a better fit for SOA than others. Integration projects, and any development activities requiring access to numerous systems, are natural fits for SOAs. The survey shows that 75% of respondents view integration as a primary area where SOA should be used. I think we will see accelerated growth of SOA adoption particularly in the integration area. Architects and developers are beginning to see the fit here, and are looking at SOA as the natural implementation strategy for integration. We are close to the point where, as an architect, you need to justify why you would NOT use SOA for the integration portion of a project. Reply
Feb 19, 2008 2:26 PM andy andy  says:
hi, i came from China, i just want to know what's the meaning of "mascarading"?Thanks. Reply
Feb 20, 2008 12:56 PM Faisal Taimoor Faisal Taimoor  says:
Companies with documented SOP (standard operating procedures) will have great time after implementing SOA strategy they would be more dynamic and would give tough time to there competitors. This article is good to know that we could invest in SOA for future. Reply
Feb 20, 2008 4:49 PM Vijayashankar Vijayashankar  says:
SOA is a nice concept. It might be a misnomer for so many legacy applications, but it is the way to go for Web related software products.Licensing can be done easily, with proper expiry management, and pay as you go concept provided for the features to be used.All the worlds best software co's are working on it, so as startup ventures that I know off! Reply
Feb 20, 2008 7:54 PM andy andy  says:
Thanks! Reply
Feb 23, 2008 1:14 PM Marcel Fleming Marcel Fleming  says:
As for packages application, as mentioned, I would like to see more information on how they help companies go along with their SOA strategy. In principle (and theoretically speaking) I see SOA as a menace to some "monolithic" application that have strong "process-embedded" functionalities in their core. For such applications, which are prevalent in real world, SOA will bring benefit only for integration... which is is still much less than what can be achieved by SOA. Reply

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