The SOA glass -- 35% full, 65% empty

New survey numbers tell us that even the big boys aren't very far along with SOA. Much work still lies ahead.

Capgemini just released a survey of 200 Oracle OpenWorld attendees that is almost ho-hum -- about one-third (35%) of respondents currently say they have SOA, and a total of eight in ten (82%) plan on adoption in the near future. Surveys on hot technology areas tend to always show high rates of "planned" adoption some time off in the future, because no CIO is going to say that he or she won't even consider the technology.

What caught my eye, however, was the composition of the survey respondents. Namely, about 41% hail from large organizations with $1 billion or more in annual revenues.  While Capgemini is hailing the results as proof that SOAs are emerging as a "new strategic reality," I think the results are telling us we have a way to go yet.

Think about it -- only about a third of the largest corporations out there say they have SOAs. That means, conversely, that two out of three are SOA-less. Mind you, these are the big guys, with all the money and resources to build SOA anytime they want. And, to reiterate, eight out of ten may be saying they "plan" SOA development in the "near future," this is a vague timeline. I doubt we'll be seeing 80% of this group with SOAs in 2006 or 2007.

Of course, SOA is not a well-defined concept, either. If you install an ESB to tie together a couple of applications, do you have an SOA?  If all of your applications support Web services standards, is that SOA? If one department builds standardized and reusable components, but nine other departments don't use them, or aren't even aware of them, is that an SOA?

Going back to the survey, there's that group of 18% who not only don't have SOA, but aren't even considering it for the future. What's their story?