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Forrester: SOA plans 'ambitious' within financial services sector

Eight out of ten financial services firms use SOA approaches today; most want to have a large chunk of their application portfolios service-enabled within the next two years.

Want to know how service orientation efforts are going?  Follow the money -- literally, as in look to see what the financial sector is doing. A recent survey from Forrester finds eight out of ten financial services firms use SOA approaches today. Plus, they want more service orientation in their business systems, delivered at a faster pace.

A team of Forrester analysts, Jost Hoppermann, Mike Gilpin and Sander Rose, just released details of the survey of 80 IT decision-makers, from financial services across the globe. "Our findings show that the service-oriented approach has taken off in financial services: The vast majority of surveyed firms use SOA today, close to three-quarters use SOA and business services in a significant number of business applications in a production environment, and many have plans to extend the SOA footprint in their firm."

What's driving the need for SOA within the financial sector, which has recently seen its fair share of turbulence? Major factors are cost-cutting, knife-edge competitive, and being watched like a hawk by government regulators.

The survey finds that close to 80% of surveyed financial services firms use SOA and business services in a production environment today — for a range from less than a third to the majority of their applications — and a further group of nearly 20% is exploring SOA for test purposes or within initial pilots. "Only a dwindling minority do not use SOA and business services at all today or do not know about their SOA status," Hoppermann and company write.

SOA plans tend to be ambitious with the financial services sector as well, Hopperman and company observe:

"Many financial services firms plan to extend their SOA footprint significantly.... However, many financial services companies have bigger plans: They want to speed their move toward SOA, and a few even consider moving from 'no SOA' or test or pilot stages to one-third or more of their application landscape being SOA-enabled in 18 to 24 months."

The Forrester data shows 71% intending to service-enable a large chunk of their application portfolio within the next two years -- up from 21% that are service-enabled now.

The Forrester note also cautions, however, that while many financial services firms are rushing into SOA, they still need to address concerns outside of technology -- such as designing a service landscape.