SOA Spending on the Rise. Surprised? Here's Why

Loraine Lawson

IDC this week announced a new prediction for service-oriented architecture: Business spending on SOA will increase by 25 percent, with businesses in the Americas leading the charge.


But unlike previous years, when the focus was SOA as a standalone issue, this year we'll see SOA coupled more with other initiatives such as BPM and master data management, according to ZapThink analyst Jason Bloomberg.


Bloomberg made that statement during a Briefings Direct Analyst podcast headed by Dana Gardner, (a transcript is available on ZDNet.)

I followed up with Bloomberg recently to ask him what he meant by "SOA plus other things." Here's what he said:

It's important to realize that SOA is really a rather loose collection of best practices. It's not necessarily a well-defined list where you have some checklist of things to do SOA and if you miss one, you're not doing SOA. What's happening is architecture teams are incorporating SOA best practices into various other initiatives. ... So we're seeing a lot of SOA best practices in cloud computing and master data management and other areas, BPM, where the projects may not be identified as SOA projects, but they're leveraging SOA best practices as, essentially, established architecture best practices.

Ruediger Spies, VP of enterprise applications at IDC Central Europe, discusses SOA's foundational role for BPM and cloud in the Network World article. Ironically enough, the piece is titled, "SOA is Not Dead, Says IDC," a headline that could be construed as a stab at Burton Group Research Director Anne Thomas Manes' infamous 2009 obituary for SOA.


Those of us who actually read Manes' complete remarks can appreciate the irony, because the fact is, Manes was right: Her point was NOT that SOA was dead, but that it was dead as a standalone business initiative. As she explained to me in an Q&A last year:

The core point I wanted to get across is that when an IT group goes before the funding board to say they want to get funding for a project, they shouldn't be calling the project SOA, because if they do, they're not going to get the money. ... You need something more concrete than that. What they really need to do is identify each of the concrete things they're trying to do: We need to build this set of services; we need to perform these practices. Let's figure out what it is you really need to do that is going to actually deliver a value to the business.

I was surprised to learn the Americas will lead on SOA spending, although only marginally. IDC predicts that spending in the Americas will increase 24.7 percent from 2008 through 2013, while Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) will experience a 24 percent growth. That seems like a slim margin to me, but Spies seems to think it reflects better architectural practices in the EMEA area.

"We in Europe already have a better architecture for IT than U.S. companies, therefore spending does not need to be as high in Europe, because it is already better linked together," Spies said at the IDC's SOA and Beyond Conference 2010 in London.


Whatever. Apparently, EMEA shouldn't brag too much, since Asia Pacific is expected to experience even less growth in SOA spending, at 23.2 percent.

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