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U.K. boards running scared of SOA

A new survey finds that U.K. IT directors worry about SOA being more about "new technology", than leveraging what organizations already have.
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Written by Tony Hallett on

Boardrooms are being blinded by the alphabet soup that surrounds service-oriented architecture (SOA)--leading to a hard time for heads of IT looking for budget and ultimately a lack of flexibility at user organizations.

That's according to a survey of 100 U.K. IT directors undertaken by Vanson Bourne on behalf of Diagonal, a systems integrator and major SAP partner.

SOA refers to the re-engineering of IT systems and development that makes use of reusable chunks of software, aligned to business processes. It is an approach which, in theory, shouldn't lead to lots of costly legacy infrastructure and is a step up on from the Web services trend of the past five years, which has seen software components plugged together over the internet to allow new and dynamic end user services.

Melvin James, enterprise services director at Diagonal, said: "There is far too much focus on SOA at a detailed, standards level. It actually isn't about IT projects but delivering business transformation and benefits."

The study found 84 per cent of those polled thought their CEOs and FDs do not understand SOA and its benefits. At the same time, two-thirds of the IT heads in the survey consider it hyped and a term used for marketing purposes.

Diagonal's James said different software vendors coming at SOA from different angles--from niche players specializing in the area to large, more generalist vendors such as Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and SAP--have tried to differentiate their offerings and clouded the overall benefits to be had.

There is a worry at board level that SOA is about new technology and new spend rather than leveraging what organizations already have and improving process, added James.

Tony Hallett of Silicon.com reported from London.

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