IBM: concern about SOA maturity is sooo 2004

IBM says it will be doing SOA for decades to come, HP says SOA is ready for the mainstream

Some analysts say SOA has yet to prove itself. However, the two biggest IT infrastructure vendors say SOA has moved well beyond the "prove-it" stage.

IBM, which sometimes can be very tepid about ballyhooing some of its most well-respected technologies (think iSeries and AIX) appears to be anything but tepid about pouring its resources into SOA.

IBM Senior Vice President and Software Group Executive Steve Mills even declared (as reported by TechTarget's Mike Meehan) that SOA is "something we're going to be doing for decades to come."

IBM says it will be doing SOA for decades to come, HP says SOA is ready for the mainstream

Plus, worrying if SOA is mature enough is so 2004, he added. "It's not three years ago," he said. "It's 2007. The capabilities are there." IBM currently has more than 4,500 SOA projects in place or underway at customer sites, he said.

Mills made his remarks at IBM's first SOA customer confab in Orlando, called Impact, with about 4,000 customers, partners and IBMers in attendance. ZDNet colleague Dana Gardner was also there, noting that IBM has a a direct salesforce of 13,000 (not to mention partners' salesforces), with marching orders to bring SOA democracy to every corner of the globe. (On top of IBM solutions, of course.)

Mills also reported that SOA is fixing everything but global warming. He noted that leading adopters of SOA report cost savings (97%), improved flexibility (100%), reduced risk (71%), increased revenue (51%), as well as business alignment benefits.

Mills also said that SOA may play a role in cutting IT labor costs by up to 70%. Plus, he said, CIOs that adopt SOA get higher placement in the corporation. They tend to be "chief transformation officers," with seats on the executive committee, said Mills.

The next big hurdle for SOA, Mills said, will involve enabling high-volume transaction systems through the SOA integration layer. Many companies will be wrestling with this issue over the next two years.

At the Impact event, IBM announced new SOA certification programs, an online portal of SOA information, and new SOA software and services.

HP also made some SOA announcements this week, and also provided some live customer examples. "It's time for SOA to come out of the prototype stage and move into the mainstream," said Ann Livermore, executive vice president of HP.

At the same HP telebriefing, Vladimir Mitevski, a vice president of product management for Thomson Financial, said some of the company's managers initially had trouble embracing the concept. "When we went to the senior management and started talking about SOA, I confused these people left and right," he is reported as saying.

But by speaking a language management understands -- return on investment and savings -- Mitevski was able to break through. "Because SOA enables one person to deploy a new service instead of 20, and the task can be accomplished in hours instead of weeks, management could see the return on investment."

As part its briefing, HP announced new SOA solutions, including Systinet 2.51 for governance, change impact and business process testing software, and new SOA monitoring and management software.