Analysts: vendors are mellowing their SOA pitches

Signs that SOA is evolving from a seller's to buyer's market

SOA vendors seem to toning down their act, either gearing their pitches to more immediate business benefits of SOA, or moving away from the "SOA" term altogether. What does this mean for users?

Signs that SOA is evolving from a seller's to buyer's market

That's what CIO's Pam Baker seems to be finding in her recent snapshot of the SOA market in this post-credit-crunch-subprime-debacle-oil-spiked economy (the "unrecession"). There's more of an emphasis on mashup (composite) applications and reuse, which can be measured, versus the more amorphous "business agility" argument, which nobody knows how to measure.

Sandy Rogers over at IDC -- who knows the SOA scene very well -- said she's noticed a mellowing of the SOA pitches:

"Some vendors, those who were a bit too zealous regarding their expectations on volume and buy-in time lines, have ratcheted down the noise and focus on SOA... Meanwhile, other vendors-those who remain committed-are becoming a bit more realistic and mature about the pace and extent SOA will advance. Now they are [better] articulating how it can fit into overall IT strategies."

Sounds good. The noisier vendors, Sandy added, are getting all Web 2.0-ish, tending to call their wares "mashups," versus SOA-enabled or composite applications.

Is the economy a factor in quieting the market? Are vendors finding SOA to be a harder sell? Perhaps. But what we're seeing here will likely have been happening if the economy were roaring along with 25% annual growth.

And, some things get so ubiquitous they no longer a big deal. Remember when vendors used to pitch the fact that their applications were browser-accessible? We've been predicting for some time that SOA-enablement would just be there, in the fabric of applications, and vendors will go back to selling analysis tools or financial software -- not "SOA."

And, the article does not mention a huge, looming disruptive force changing the game in this market -- open source SOA-enabling solutions, along with Microsoft's increasing presence with commodity priced wares. More SOA efforts are being built around the Apaches, MuleSources, and JBosses. There's even an open source governance toolset on the market.

So the implications are that SOA is quickly evolving from a seller's to buyer's market.

As Gartner analyst Frank Kenney stated in the article, this all should make it easier to negotiate pricing on vendors' SOA-enabling solutions. "Start with the vendors you already work with. You might not have to buy as much to make SOA happen for you. Take, for example, enterprise service buses: Tell your vendors, 'I have problems making your widget work with my SOA plan, so get in here and help me fix it.'"

Sounds like good news for end-users -- and perhaps better clarity for SOA.