SOA and RFID top CIOs' wishlists

Service-oriented architecture is the number-one must-have technology for CIOs according to a survey carried out by IDC, with RFID and VoIP adoption close behind

With IT budgets set to remain flat, chief information officers are thinking hard about what to spend their cash on — and RFID, SOA and VoIP are set to top the list.

Service-oriented architecture (SOA) will top the list of CIOs' must-have technologies, according to a survey carried out by research firm IDC, with SOA use predicted to rise 144 percent between 2007 and 2009. Last year, 22 percent of CIOs said their company was using SOA whereas 53 percent said it will be in 2009.

Companies first saw SOA as another standards and application development wave that would just fade away, according to Melissa Martin, senior market analyst at IDC. "It was one of those trendy types of buzzword," she said, adding that firms are starting to see the benefits nonetheless.

The rise in CIOs' take-up of SOA is partly due to the media, according to Martin: "You see the phrase in the press so often, all the CIOs are thinking: 'what does this mean?'". Vendors' increased promotion of the technology also plays a part.

Radio frequency identification (RFID) took second place in the survey, with usage of the tags predicted to rise by 122 percent. The track-and-trace chips were used in eight percent of companies last year, while 18 percent of them expect to use it in 2009.

Martin said she was surprised by RFID's high placing: "I thought RFID was an odd one to be there, especially in the top 10."

RFID adoption will "still be slow", she said, and adoption will not accelerate until costs come down and its performance improves, easing the way for CIOs seeking to develop a business case.

RFID should grow most significantly in closed-loop supply chains based on tracking high-value physical assets such as containers, trailers, datacentre and engineering assets, according to the survey. Manufacturing and logistics will be among verticals adopting the technology, Martin said, with utilities also showing interest.

VoIP came in third in the top 10, with a 97 percent rise in interest between 2007 and 2009, although the technology is already seeing high adoption rates with 39 percent of businesses surveyed already using it last year.

The other technologies in the top 10 were: IT services quality certification; virtualisation; storage over IP; salesforce automation tools and marketing management; ITIL (information technology library); document management and online exchanges; and marketplaces or portals.

Virtualisation taking a spot was no surprise, Martin said, adding that the technology has plenty of expansion potential, despite uptake rates of 32 percent among organisations last year. "I think it's yet to reach its full potential. It's sort of similar to SOA. It's out there and it's been out there for a while, but people don't understand the benefits."


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