Boosting customer relations and beating rivals are main SOA drivers, says AMR

Expenditure on SOA projects is currently being driven by either a desire to enhance customer contact-building or to fight off competition, according to AMR Research.

Expenditure on SOA projects is currently being driven by either a desire to enhance customer contact-building or to fight off competition, according to AMR Research.

According to the analyst house’s annual IT spending survey, at least a third of all SOA investment decisions are based on one or other of these goals, making them the top influencers when going down this route.

In terms of boosting customer interaction, organisations are deploying SOA concepts and writing Web services to create new interaction points. By combining customer information from multiple systems into a single composite application, the aim is to increase revenues as a result of making it easier for customers to do business with them.

For those companies that are trying to take on the competition, particularly in industries such as high-tech, financial services and telecommunications - where the first to market with a new product or service is likely to capture most market share - the goal is to improve agility and speed, however.

Other motivators for SOA spending include meeting customers’ technology requirements and increasing market share levels.

But AMR found that achieving these desires was often frustrated by poor levels of integration among existing systems. Dennis Gaughan, the firm’s director, said: “These business issues collide head on with the IT organisation’s current challenges: diverse application landscapes that are often poorly integrated, which results in inflexibility and high costs to change and maintain.”

Company executives increasingly believe that SOA concepts are a key way of overcoming significant IT barriers such as integration and the cost and pace of change, however. “With SOA, you can make changes to a service or a number of services, while minimising the impact to applications that use the service. More importantly, SOA is about connecting those services in new and distinct ways, orchestrating improved and more flexible business processes from existing assets,” Gaughan said.

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