Forrester pumps life into SOA

SOA 'jumps the shark' -- but in a good way

Forrester Research just published a new report entitled "SOA Is Far From Dead — But It Should Be Buried," by Randy Heffner. The title is a bit misleading, by the way.

Not much here we did not already know, but they always have new numbers that I'm sure will be a part of every SOA vendor presentation from now until 2013.

The fact is that SOA is very much alive. The data shows that:

The majority of enterprises use SOA. In Forrester's Enterprise And SMB Software Survey, North America And Europe, Q4 2008, 75 percent of IT executives and technology decision-makers at Global 2000 organizations said they will be using SOA…

[ Keep up on developments in SOA with InfoWorld's Technology: Architecture newsletter. ]

As we've covered here many times, SOA is not a product or a set of standards, it's an architectural pattern systemic to the way you go about IT architecture. SOA has been permeating within IT for years, thus very little architecture is done these days without some SOA influences, I'm finding. This includes the use of cloud computing, which is just the extension of architecture outside of the firewall to cloud computing providers.

Across all current SOA users in our survey, 60 percent say they are expanding their use of SOA

…and may not even know it. I've been finding that those leveraging SOA approaches, techniques, and technology typically consider it just good architecture, albeit core SOA approaches are core to that architecture. Perhaps SOA has jumped the shark (in a good way) from a hype-driven drama over the last five years into something that more of a reality show or practical reality.

Across all the SOA users in our survey, 22 percent apply SOA to 25 percent or more of their solution delivery projects, while another 43 percent use SOA on 10 percent to 24 percent of their projects.

Nearly 30 percent of current SOA users reporting using it for "strategic business transformation" — and seeing SOA's strategic business impact comes only when you understand something about doing SOA right.

More good news.

What's core to this research and other research that seems to be finding the same thing is that SOA is beginning to be a part of IT, which is where you would expect to find it. The expansion of SOA into the core architecture will be largely organic for the next several years…it's just something you do or a best practice.

Moreover, enterprise IT is beginning to understand the realities around SOA. It's hard to do and will take a while to get right. The small battles, or tactical wins, triumph in the larger architectural war. I think we'll be in much better shape in five years, and the numbers from the analyst firms will reflect that.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.