SOA confuses IT heads

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SOA confuses IT heads

Confusion surrounding the real benefits of service-oriented architecture (SOA) means CIOs are wrongly dismissing it as a cynical marketing ploy.

Two-thirds of the 100 UK IT directors in a Diagonal-commissioned survey believe SOA is a product of hype and marketing spin. Yet, 55% of respondents also say they’ve been hampered from meeting business demands by rigid and complex IT systems - a problem SOA is designed to solve.

Some 28% are making a “fundamental mistake” in thinking SOA is simply about software development and architecture. This means they are miss-selling it to the board as a technology rather than business project. “Organisations must recognise that SOA is not just about gluing technology together, it’s about changing your technology architecture so IT systems no longer hold you back from undertaking business improvement or transformation project,” says Mark Williamson, managing director at Diagonal Consulting.

Given IT directors’ own confusion, it’s easy to see why 84% of them believe their chief executives and financial directors fail to understand SOA or its benefits.

“It’s also about automating parts of your business processes to make them more efficient and agile. These are things that all CEOs are clearly interested in.”

Research firm IDC says firms will spend $8.6bn this year enlisting help for their SOA projects from outside services agencies. Within four years, this figure will have almost quadrupled.

In the US, transportation, utilities, manufacturing, services and finance sectors are already making major investments in SOA, finds IDC. in March 2006 Last month, the Digital Standards Agency became the first UK public sector organisation to adopt SOA.

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