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Survey: large enterprises expect less than 30 percent SOA reuse

Reuse is the most important metric by which large companies will be measuring the success of their SOA efforts – but most don’t expect high levels of reuse to happen any time soon.A new survey commissioned by BEA Systems finds that a majority of the largest global organizations (61%) expect no more than 30 percent of their SOA services to be eventually reused or shared across business units.

Reuse is the most important metric by which large companies will be measuring the success of their SOA efforts – but most don’t expect high levels of reuse to happen any time soon.
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A new survey commissioned by BEA Systems finds that a majority of the largest global organizations (61%) expect no more than 30 percent of their SOA services to be eventually reused or shared across business units. In fact, only five percent expect to see more than half of their services to be reused.  (Survey available from BEA  here.)

In previous posts, I surfaced arguments for and against (and against) relying on reuse as an SOA value driver.

However, by an 84% majority, these same respondents consider service reuse is one of their most critical metrics for SOA success. In fact, 50% say they already have an incentive program to encourage reuse. What wasn’t clear was if these incentives were carrots or sticks. (The matter of whether project teams be rewarded for using shared SOA-compliant services, versus punishing those who don't , is discussed here in a previous post.)

But, perhaps it’s too early to tell. The survey of 151 organizations with at least $1 billion of revenues finds that are still early in their SOA efforts. A total of 70% of these large organizations have only deployed up to two or three projects as part of their SOA efforts. About 30% say they have deployed SOA enterprise-wide.

It appears that most of these large enterprises have signed off on the SOA concept overall. The survey found that at least 81% said their upper management had given its blessings to the SOA vision.

What is the SOA vision discussed here? I had the opportunity to speak with Sara Hepner, senior director of services marketing for BEA, who said that the exact definition of service-oriented architecture was left open to respondents’ interpretation. A working definition of SOA was “left to the respondents to define it themselves.”

Cost savings is a primary driver for SOA at 30%. Interestingly, European organizations are more likely to see cost savings as an SOA benefits. North American companies are inclined to view SOA as a route to business agility.

Where’s the money for SOA initiatives coming from? The survey found that large enterprises have already spent about a million dollars on their SOA efforts, and expect to spend a million more over the coming year.

Interestingly, the survey found that 59% of the money for these projects is coming from business solutions budgets attributed to existing projects. Only 19% cannibalized other IT projects. Even more interesting is the fact that 22% reported they have a specific budget with funds earmarked for SOA projects.

However, despite the management support and inflow of new money, Hepner observed that 40% of these enterprises said their “SOA projects were impeded due to justifying the investment financially. They’re having a hard time building strong ROIs.” Software infrastructure was the most significant cost involved in SOA projects, she said.

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