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Across the board and across the bow

One of the most valuable aspects of WebMethods' new study on SOA is that it forces us to recognize the weak focus of our current efforts to position and market the idea of SOA. As I wrote in my last piece, we are now struggling to determine where to find greatest opportunity for building market momentum and driving organizational change. This study gives us some valuable data points from which to move.

One of the most valuable aspects of WebMethods' new study on SOA is that it forces us to recognize the weak focus of our current efforts to position and market the idea of SOA. As I wrote in my last piece, we are now struggling to identify the levers of greatest opportunity for building market momentum and driving organizational change.  This study gives us some valuable data points from which to move.

Lance Hill, vice president of product and solution marketing at WebMethods, told me that the company didn't see in its study any clear focus of SOA energy. It wondered whether there might be particular vertical markets that would drive growth or, perhaps particular projects such as ERP, B2B, E-Commerce or Systems Consolidation. But that didn't turn out to be the case.

"We got back answers all over the board," he said. "I tried to do my fuzzy math against that answer set and really couldn't come out with anything that said there was any type of vertical or specific project play for using SOA and Web services. It really is across the board. It would have been nice to have an aha like, 'People who wear red shirts want to invest in SOA.' But it didn't come out like that."

That is a problem in terms of smartly directing our limited sales and marketing resources. Where to begin?

We have WebMethods to thank for vividly identifying the problem that the industry as a whole faces. It is not as clear that this is a huge problem for WebMethods though. As Joe points out, the company's research survey generated a tremendous response -- virtually overnight -- from its client base (and it only cost them a small Starbucks gift card). It learned that 80% of repondents had deployed Web Services and that more than half had projects with high transaction volumes. "Our adoption curve is pretty high," Hill said. "It is higher than the average vendors' adoption curve."