You've got the SOA budget -- now what?

Survey finds most integration projects are tactical, not strategic

I've been talking a lot about the challenge of selling the concept of SOA to management, but perhaps we need to also worry about how we spend money that already has been made available. At least, that's what a recent survey of 100 IT executives in the UK concludes.

As with anything else, you can't just throw money at integration problems

The survey, reported in ITWeek, found that over a third of large organizations planned to increase their budget for integration software during 2006. (Of course, that means two-thirds aren't increasing their integration budgets, but I don't want to get off track here...)

In light of at least a third bumping up their integration budgets, the survey also found that many enterprises "are failing to take a strategic approach to this increased investment. Less than half of those firms surveyed had specific teams assigned to integration projects, while only 38 percent undertook proof-of-concept practices prior to integration projects." The predominant approach is to make purchasing decisions for integration tools on a project-by-project basis take integration projects on a case-by-case basis.

SOA is a complex undertaking, and executives are still debating about the best tools and strategies, the article quotes Mike Fuller, a spokesperson for InterSystems, the study's sponsor. "Many firms' integration efforts were also hampered by poor communication between many IT departments and the rest of the business.... You need to develop a cross-discipline governance committee where business and IT people can look at the integration projects that are needed to better support business processes."

Bottom line: As with anything else, you can't just throw money at integration problems.

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