Interesting SOA data from Forrester

Forrester survey data says SOA has grown to the extent that now 44 percent of large businesses use SOA for strategic business transformation

Forrester Research has been kicking up some SOA dust recently, with this interview with Randy Heffner, the vice president and analyst for Forrester Research. Randy explains the current state of SOA adoption and gives an overview of Web- oriented architecture.'s Peter Schooff did the interview; there is a podcast of the interview as well.

Beyond this interview, Forrester Research also recently published a report entitled "Building Interoperability And Federation Into Your SOA Platform Strategy." Forrester's Mike Gilpin was the main author of that one, and he'll be on my podcast in November. I'll have my own take on the report later this week or next. You may be surprised where I come down on all of this.

So, back to Randy. When asked by Peter where SOA is today, his response was:

It is mainstream. And Forrester survey data says that among the largest firms, 80 percent are using SOA or will be by the end of this year. If you look more broadly, 70 percent of large businesses and nearly half of small to medium businesses are into SOA. And more importantly, those are using SOA are by and large satisfied.
So for three years running, about 70 percent of current users have said they'll do more SOA and only 1 percent or 2 percent will cut back. You don't get a large consensus doing more of something unless it's working. But lastly, we at Forrester take a strategic view of SOA so we ask about it. And strategic use of SOA has kept growing over the past three years to where now 44 percent of large businesses say they use SOA for strategic business transformation, and that's important stuff. So SOA is alive and well and I talk to successful SOA users all the time."

Indeed SOA is alive and well, you don't need a survey to determine that. The core issue is what "SOA" actually is within these enterprises. You find that SOA is indeed a long-term strategic change in the direction of their enterprise architecture, in some cases. In other cases, it's just a portal project that happens to use a few Web services. Thus, the use of the term "SOA" is applicable to all sorts of IT projects out there, some of them strategic and some of them tactical -- keep that in mind.

It was nice to see that Randy is finding that those who focus on the architecture, and proper service design, are winning the SOA game. It's taking some time, but the smarter analysts are giving the same advice: Technology does not lead the architecture; architecture leads the architecture. There are a number of failed SOA projects that have proven that to be true. That's becoming common knowledge, so we're back on the fundamentals -- and that's a good thing.