Study: SOA shaves costs five percent a year

A new study out of Aberdeen says SOA savings happen eventually.

Lately on this site, we have been discussing the investments necessary to get SOA going, and where the money will come from.

A new study of 120 companies out of Aberdeen says organizations can shave off at least five percent a year off integration costs with SOA methodologies. Aberdeen looked at the "best in class" organizations segment in the study (who are well along in SOA) and calculates that these organizations "are reducing application maintenance costs as a percentage of the IT budget and increasing the percentage of allocated line-of-business innovation." The report suggests that much of these savings come with deployment of enterprise service buses to support composite applications drawing from multiple enterprise applications.

Aberdeen also found that "nine of every 10 companies are adopting or have adopted service-oriented architectures and will exit 2006 with SOA planning, design, and programming experience."

Nine out of 10 sounds awfully high, but Aberdeen casts a wide net around what exactly constitutes an SOA. Aberdeen divided SOA implementations into three camps:

"SOA Lite" --  for users deploying Web services that don't require heavy-duty enterprise functionality such as high-volume scalability or security. (A lot of Microsoft .NET and open source users here.)

"SOA ERP" -- for users spinning SOAs out of their ERP packages. (Oracle, SAP.)

"Enterprise SOA" -- the big, heavy-duty stuff, requiring governance and mission-critical uptime capabilities.

For the typical company in the midst of an SOA effort, an important milestone step is the move from SOA Lite to SOA ERP or Enteprise SOA, Aberdeen says. That's when the real savings and agility begins.