SOA is shrinking...the TLA

SOA, the concept, will be with us for a long time -- long after SOA the buzzword does not get as much play in the press.

I was at an analyst roundtable this afternoon at the Software AG Innovation World 2008 conference down here in Miami. Of course, with that many pundits in the room, I'm not one to compete for talking time. However, I was listening carefully, including to a comment from Gartner's Frank Kenney, who stated that SOA was shrinking in enterprise priorities.

I spotted the InfoWorld article when I got back to my hotel room.

"The number of organizations planning to adopt SOA for the first time decreased to 25 percent; it had been 53 percent in last year's survey. Also, the number of organizations with no plans to adopt SOA doubled from 7 percent in 2007 to 16 percent in 2008. This dramatic falloff has been happening since the beginning of 2008, Gartner said."

The article goes on to state that the reasons for the downturn are largely around uncertainty in the economy, thus the reaction of killing SOA projects to cut costs quickly. It was also interesting to note that this was largely based on geography.

"The survey found that adoption of SOA and plans for adoption vary widely by region. SOA adoption is nearly universal in Europe, moderate in North America, and lagging in Asia, Gartner said."

I've noticed that as well -- that companies outside of the United States are typically less reactionary, and understand the value of driving change for the better within architecture, and thus put things like SOA further in front of the line. In the United States, they think more tactically.

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 have called it SOA in the past, but it was SOA. Also, you may not call it SOA in the future, but it will be SOA.

Thus, don't get caught up so much with the buzzword, but more around what the core value of the concept is contributing to IT as a whole. SOA, the concept, will be with us for a long time -- long after SOA the buzzword does not get as much play in the press. Trust me on that one.

Also, if you remember from my 2009 predictions from last week, I said that the "SOA" term would diminish in popularity. It's just the way we cycle through buzzwords in this business. We continue to do the same thing, in slightly different ways, and call it a new paradigm. Sorry to sound cynical, but you know that's true.

Moreover, the core concept of SOA is innate to other emerging areas such as cloud computing. The ability to leverage remote services and turn them into solutions is core to cloud computing. That's SOA, the concept, no matter what you call it.

But, you know me, I embrace change.