Gartner Calls It: SOA Slowing. But Why?


If you're sick of hearing about SOA, I have some good news for you: Gartner says SOA is slowing:

"Since the beginning of 2008, there has been a dramatic fall in the number of organizations that are planning to adopt SOA for the first time. In 2008, this was cut by more than one-half, down to 25 percent from 53 percent in 2007, while the number of organizations with no plans to adopt SOA more than doubled from 6 percent in 2007 to 16 percent in 2008."

There were a lot of Web sites covering the news. I checked them out. You're just as well off reading the press release, because -- with the exception of InfoWorld -- they're all written from it.

So, here's my "just the facts, ma'am," summary:

  • There are two major reasons companies aren't pursuing SOA: A lack of skills and expertise and no viable business case.
  • While companies say they don't have a valid business case for SOA, Gartner suspects part of the problem might be they don't know how to construct a SOA business case.
  • There is one other possible factor the press release doesn't mention: The economy. As IT Business Edge blogger Ann All recently pointed out, CIOs are cutting projects and spending across the board. Gartner analyst Daniel Sholler suggested the economy could have been a factor in this InfoWorld article.
  • The survey also found most people are using it with new developments, despite the potential for SOA to simplify legacy integration. The press release hints this may be because companies may lack the skills needed to apply SOA to legacy systems.

If you're one of the companies that opted out or slowed on SOA, the press release should make you feel good about your decision. Check out this quote from Daniel Sholler, research vice president at Gartner:

"Organizations without a clear business case for SOA and without a plan to develop or acquire the necessary skills are justified in taking a cautious approach, and delaying SOA adoption plans for the coming year."

See there - you're not a laggard. You're cautious. Own it, love it, be proud. Good for you.


Also, you should know you're not alone: Although SOA once seemed inevitable, now there are plenty of organizations who've evaluated it and said, "No thanks." This is particularly true in process manufacturing and agriculture and mining sectors, Gartner found. (As a sidenote, I'd love to interview someone who'd made that decision; e-mail me!)


But not everyone believes SOA is slowing -- at least, not SOA as an architectural practice. InfoWorld SOA blogger David Linthicum argued this isn't about SOA, in fact, but SOA, in semantics


"The fact of the matter is that 'SOA,' the TLA (three-letter acronym), is indeed shrinking in popularity. It was bound to happen. The current economic uncertainty is just making it happen faster. However, SOA at its essence is a long-standing architecture pattern that had value before the SOA TLA was invited, and will continue to have value going forward way into the future. ... you may not call it SOA in the future, but it will be SOA."

Maybe. If that's the case, I don't suppose we'll ever know.


Or, really, even care.