Four Tips for SOA Success from Financial Services Survey

Loraine Lawson
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The financial services sector is set to embrace service-oriented architecture (SOA) in a big way during the next two years, according to a recent Forrester report, "SOA Is Anything But Dead In Financial Services."


Already, 80 percent of these firms use SOA in some way, but the recent Forrester survey found that 71 percent of firms will increase services in anywhere from a third to a majority of their applications, according to news articles about the $499 survey.


The IT research firm surveyed 80 IT decision makers from financial services firms based in Europe, North America and other regions, including countries such as Australia, Japan and South Africa. Forrester found nearly three-quarters had deployed SOA and business services "in a significant number of business applications in a production environment."


I wasn't surprised to see that the U.S. is more likely to use services than Europe or the UK, since that's always been the trend in SOA. Only five percent of European firms have more than half of their applications using business services, according to TechWorld. In the U.S., that number is 12 percent.


Even more striking, though, is how widely services are deployed here. Sixty-two percent use SOA in less than a third of their apps, while 9 percent use it in more than a third-but not the majority.


So, what's up with financial services and the sudden SOA love? Joe McKendrick, an SOA expert who writes about SOA for ZDNet, says the driving factors are "cost-cutting, knife-edge competitive, and being watched like a hawk by government regulators."


Everyone who wrote this new survey without fail mentioned that the Burton Group at one time pronounced SOA dead. That's true, although only half the story, and since I've recently explained that, I'll skip it this time.


What's more useful, however, are these tips for SOA success from the report's author, Forrester analyst Jost Hoppermann. TechWorld reports that Hopperman identified several guidelines for succeeding with SOA deployments:

  1. Bottom-up or top-down-There are arguments for both, but Hoopermann's advice here is simple: Choose one.
  2. Beware of consultants and systems integrators pushing you to do SOA their way, instead of the way that would behoove your organization.
  3. Make sure you have the relevant business structure in place to support business services; although, the article doesn't explain what that means, and I'm not sure.
  4. Be reasonable about your deployment schedule. Realize it may not be possible, for instance, to have half of your apps running business services, even within an 18 to 24 month period, leading me to wonder how likely it is that many of those surveyed will hit their goals within the stated timeframe.

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