Looking for work in the SOA field? Then 2005 may be the year for you as new cross-departmental and cross-organizational SOA initiatives are rolled out. ZapThink, a market research firm, expects to see a "dramatic surge" in demand for SOA consulting services this year.
"While IT end-users focused their attention on Web Services and SOA products and the vendors who offered them up to this point in time, their attention is now moving to professional services organizations (PSOs) as these consulting firms ramp up their SOA practices," the firm states. "Even enterprises with large IT shops realize that they cannot scale a new architectural approach without skilled outside help -- and thus, 2005 will be the year of the SOA consultant."
ZapThink further goes on to provide some perspective on the skills and capabilities that SOA consultants should possess. It considers SO architects to be particularly vital. "While SOA architect consultants have somewhat different responsibilities from their end-user peers, these consultants must have the same broad understanding of both business requirements and technology implementation," it states. "Depending on the focus of the practice they belong to, they may require deep vertical industry knowledge. But in all instances, SO architects must have significant understanding of how to meet continually changing business requirements through business processes consisting of composable, loosely-coupled Services."
Beyond SO architects, ZapThink also sees a critical role for business transformation consultants. "Companies are now realizing that implementing SOA means far more than a simple reorganization of application resources," it points out. "The broad, business-based movement to SO, more so than the technical implementation of SOA, should lead to the ability for companies to undertake broad reorganizations of their business based upon how they leverage IT assets across the enterprise. As a result, business transformation consultants versed in helping their clients handle the broad human change issues necessary to transform their business are every bit as essential to enterprise SOA deployments as SO architects are."
Clearly, the opportunities for consultants are growing. The question is what will need to happen in order to meet the demand. Several recognized consulting firms have begun to build practices, IBM in particular. But there is also a newer group of firms dedicated to SOA and Web services. Expect such firms to stand in the vanguard of the movement.