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Asian companies still lack SOA awareness

New study says inadequate awareness at the enterprise level will be an adoption roadblock unless there's more education and market awareness.

SINGAPORE--An overall lack of awareness on service-oriented architecture (SOA) is the key factor holding back wider adoption within the Asian region, according to a new survey from Springboard Research.

Researchers at Springboard who surveyed 2,615 CIOs and IT decision makers in Australia, China, India and Singapore, found that only 21 percent were aware of the concept behind SOA. The survey also found that IBM had a significant lead over other IT vendors, where 50 percent of organizations that plan to implement SOA said IBM was the best suited to help them migrate to the Web services architecture.

Dane Anderson, vice president of research at Springboard, noted that while many major IT Vendors are banking on SOA as part of their growth strategy, it is clear that more needs to be done in educating the market on SOA and the benefits that it can provide.

"While there has been considerable hype about SOA in the market, adequate awareness is not filtering down to the enterprise level, which will be an adoption roadblock unless more education and market awareness takes place," Anderson said.

Ravi Shekhar Pandey, Springboard's senior market analyst attributed the lack of awareness to the fact that SOA is fairly new in the region, and IT vendors only started aggressively marketing and promoting it in the past year.

Another reason for the lack of understanding is the absence of a proper definition of SOA, compounded by the fact that every vendor defines SOA on the basis of its own products and solutions, Pandey told ZDNet Asia.

"Often, prospective users are bombarded with huge amounts of information by vendors that usually leave them confused," he said.

Besides a lack of understand, however, he stressed that a more challenging obstacle is that many business organizations still are not sure what value SOA can deliver to them.

"As SOA is about transforming the entire approach to IT, covering people, processes and technology, too many starting points make it confusing, often leading to 'no' or a delayed decision to deploying SOA," Pandey said.

SOA for app integration
In other key findings, the survey established that of all the organizations that deployed SOA, the majority--54 percent--are using it to achieve application integration. The second highest driver of adoption, at 27 percent, utilizes SOA to deliver Web services and Web applications. The next two groups, both 9 percent, use SOA to achieve data integration across the enterprise and to enable services to be shared across the enterprise.

The survey also identified factors prohibiting organizations from deploying SOA, where the most common factor cited by organizations was uncertainty about the benefits SOA would deliver. The respondents also named inhibitors such as other IT priorities, legacy applications, organizational issues and funding limitations.

The good news for SOA vendors is that Springboard expects awareness and understanding of SOA to grow in the region over time, as IT vendors continue with their market education and development programs.

Pandey said: "As the number of successful SOA implementation stories increase, more organizations will show interest in it."