Forrester's Marc Cecere has just published a report in which he observes that any downturn in the economy will increase "demand for tech professionals specializing in IT architecture as businesses consolidate their operations."
As reported in Silicon.com, Cecere predicts that "as organizations look at reducing costs through mergers and acquisitions, skills around data, applications and process integration will be increasingly in demand."
Hot areas in IT would include "specialist skills in storage, software reuse (as part of SOA) and mobile and wireless devices." There will also be rising demand "around architecture because there's going to be a lot of data integration, application integration, especially process integrations."
This point of view is also validated by IT recruiter David Foote, who recently said that companies he's talked to could use "about five times as many architects" as they now have on staff.
We've been debating the impact of the economy on SOA projects for the past year at this blogsite. IT budgets have been mean and lean since the dot-com crash of the early 2000s, and this is when service-oriented architecture first took root, emphasizing sharing/reuse, greater standardization, and greater flexibility. The big question has been whether a softer economy would mean SOA projects being put on ice, or being accelerated as a cost-cutting vehicle. Plus, Cecere's predictions may hold true even if the economy were to swing into an unprecedented growth boom over the next few years.
Either way, SOA -- in conjunction with other strategies such as open source and cloud computing -- has enormous potential to help streamline business operations and increase flexibility in a turbulent and uncertain marketplace.