It's like 1999 all over again. Well, sort of. It's one thing to see a product or service category rake in the revenues, but another thing when an abstract architecture becomes a hot money-making commodity. Such is the world of SOA, 2006. Call it the "dot-SOA" boom. Okay, boomlet. Without all the pinball machines this time.
The question is, will all this happiness trickle down to beleagured IT departments and enterprises looking for relief from high integration and maintenance costs? In 2001, these were the folks left to clean up the mess left from the last party.
Accenture, never one to do anything in a small way, has just announced it was investing $450 million to develop SOA-ready applications over the next three years. The consulting company said it will be opening a new research lab for SOA-based applications that will initially focus on health care, a fast-growing industry, as well as financial services, Accenture's specialty. The effort includes a new R&D lab, a blueprint for SOA implementation, and expanding Accenture’s portfolio of cross-industry offerings.
The folks at Accenture know a cash cow when they see it, of course. There seems to be plenty of big bucks flying around SOA these days. A new report from CNET's Martin LaMonica finds that for many vendors, SOA efforts are paying off rather nicely these days. For example, IBM reported second-quarter earnings that slightly beat analysts' expectations, in large part due to a strong showing from its software group. Company Chief Financial Officer Mark Loughridge singled out the growth of its WebSphere middleware brand and the customers' increased spending on service-oriented architecture.
LaMonica adds that other larger vendors are also cashing in on the SOA bonanza. Tibco Software has exceeded analysts' expectations for four straight quarters. BEA Systems, which saw revenue decline in 2005, is seeing better times this year. Oracle's said that its fast-growing middleware portfolio has passed $1 billion in fiscal year 2006. Meanwhile, Microsoft's server and tools business continues to grow rapidly, to the point where it's almost even with its Windows and Office business units.