A service-oriented architecture (SOA) approach to software design is becoming a major initiative of many organizations worldwide, thanks to the promise of providing a dynamic and highly efficient process that allows for continuous changes in response to evolving business and market conditions. SOA success depends on solid executive backing and a keen understanding that business process optimization is the real killer app for a service-oriented architecture.
The State of SOA study, sponsored by Satyam, was conducted by TechWeb in an effort to understand how organizations are leveraging SOA to help their businesses become more adaptable to change and more responsive to shifting dynamics.
The following report illustrates the challenges businesses face and the opportunities they discover as they work to construct a comprehensive and highly automated software foundation to support business processes.
The study reflects the reasons SOA is heading to the top of enterprise to-do lists, as organizations deal with turbulent economic forecasts and increasingly competitive market conditions.
Among the key benefits organizations say they have seen from their SOA implementations are faster application deployment, facilitation of business process optimization plans and increased ease of development.
SOA Initiatives Driven by Business Requirements to Be Agile and Cost-Effective What business/economic issues are driving your organization to explore implementing SOA as a means to improve business processes? Multiple responses allowed Desire to automate operations to improve customer response times 70% Requirements to lower operating costs through automation, due to the recession, internal budget concerns, or both 36% Need to capitalize on emerging market opportunities 30% Must accelerate time-to-market due to increased competition from international businesses 19% Other 10% The State of BPO The State of SOA The need to build a business that can react quickly to changing market dynamics and better meet customer needs is, in large part, driving companies to launch SOA initiatives.
Businesses Aim to Streamline Integration With SOA Multiple responses allowed What technology requirements are leading your business to use SOA as part of a business process optimization strategy? Need to simplify integration among separate applications supporting discrete business processes 39% Require the ability to reuse components to expedite application development and process change 33% Desire to improve process automation 20% Need to preserve legacy software assets 7% Other 1% The State of BPO The State of SOA Businesses view SOA as a way to modernize their application infrastructures by better integrating existing software to support cross-application processes, and by creating a repository of reusable components to be tapped for use in new business processes.
SOA Presents Opportunity to Improve Knowledge Processes What processes is your business trying to improve by using SOA? Multiple responses allowed Nearly half the survey respondents believe SOA will have a positive impact on their analytics and business intelligence processes. A service-oriented architecture can give organizations a foundation to adapt business processes quickly in response to intelligence delivered by BI reports and dashboards. The State of BPO The State of SOA 44% 39% 35% 34% 29% 28% 23% 18% 18% 17% 17% 15% 8% 6%
More Than One-Third Are Just Starting Out With SOA One response allowed Which of the following best characterizes the role SOA plays or will play in your company’s software design strategy around business process management? We are in the initial phases of designing, testing and/or deploying composite applications in support of business process optimization 40% We are currently evaluating whether SOA could help us optimize our business processes 25% We have a cohesive and functional software environment that leverages SOA to support business process management 19% We have decided to use SOA in our software development environment, but have not yet begun the design process 16% The State of BPO The State of SOA Though there is considerable enthusiasm about SOA’s potential, most businesses are still just scratching the surface with regard to the role a service-oriented architecture will play in their software design strategy with respect to business process management.
Most Companies Still in Discussion and Development Stages At what stage are you in your SOA implementation? One response allowed Twenty-one percent of surveyed companies are beginning to develop and design applications around a service-oriented architecture, and 20 percent are still in the discussion phase. Just 11 percent are implementing SOA-based applications. 21% 15% 4% 21% 13% 11% 10% 2% 3% The State of BPO The State of SOA
Majority Implementing SOA Enterprisewide Is your organization implementing SOA on an enterprisewide basis, or planning to do so? Yes, part of enterprisewide strategy 57% No 19% Don’t know 24% Have you run into any issues implementing it this way? One response allowed Based on the 178 who answered “Yes” above Most organizations see value in orchestrating enterprisewide SOA initiatives, though some report issues with costs, inefficiencies, and lack of cooperation. It is still too early to tell 52% No, it is going well 23% Yes, lack of IT and/or line-of-business cooperation 14% Yes, this is a costly and inefficient process 11% The State of BPO The State of SOA
Web Services Is No. 1 What technologies are you using, or planning to use, to implement SOA? Multiple responses allowed SOA does not equal Web services. Organizations can take many roads to achieve loose coupling among interactive software agents. But it’s clear that Web services are critical to many deployments. 91% 57% 27% 19% 17% 15% 13% 4% The State of BPO The State of SOA
SOA Still an Emerging Success Story What tangible results have you seen so far from your SOA implementation? Multiple responses allowed SOA has made application integration much easier in some companies, and allowed for greater consistency and flexibility across composite applications and systems. Some survey participants also laud SOA for increasing collaboration and knowledge exchange throughout the business. 25% 59% 24% 20% 3% 3% None yet, it’s too early to tell Faster application development/deployment time Facilitates business process optimization Easy-to-use software development environment None, this has not been a successful initiative Other The State of BPO The State of SOA
SOA Implementations: Most Satisfied, Some Excited On a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being “unsatisfactory” and 5 being “exceptional,” please rate the success of your SOA implementation so far. Given that SOA is still relatively new, it isn’t surprising that most wins thus far have been small and incremental. The majority of survey respondents report satisfactory progress on their SOA deployments. Just under one-quarter rate their SOA implementations “unsatisfactory” or close to it, while another quarter rate their SOA projects “exceptional” or nearly so. Unsatisfactory 1 2 3 4 5 Exceptional 6% 16% 57% 19% 2% The State of BPO The State of SOA
Poorly Documented Business Processes Challenge Half of Respondents What are the biggest challenges associated with your SOA deployment? Multiple responses allowed 38% 49% 20% 18% 6% 7% Poorly documented business processes Development time not as rapid as expected Application component reusability is not easy to achieve Management concerns that SOA is a fad that will not yield results Lack of IT cooperation Other More complex development environment than anticipated 35% 32% Lack of executive sponsorship Unproductive interactions among IT and line-of-business managers 14% 13% Very costly 12% Dissatisfied with SOA standards The State of BPO The State of SOA Not all SOA challenges are technical. In some cases, the business culture and funding issues create obstacles to SOA deployments.
Single Biggest Challenge: Complexity of Development Environment Of the challenges mentioned in the previous question, which one has been the single biggest obstacle to your SOA deployment? One response allowed SOA isn’t for amateurs. The complexity of development environments presents the biggest challenge to enterprises. 21% 24% 8% 7% 1% 4% Poorly documented business processes Development time not as rapid as expected Application component reusability is not easy to achieve Mgmt. concerns that SOA is a fad that will not yield results Lack of IT cooperation Other More complex development environment than anticipated 10% 9% Lack of executive sponsorship Unproductive interactions among IT and line-of-business managers 7% 5% Very costly 4% Dissatisfied with SOA standards The State of BPO The State of SOA
Application Component Reuse Is Low What percentage of application components has your organization been able to reuse? So much of SOA’s promise lies in its ability to speed application development by allowing reuse of components. But nearly three-quarters of survey respondents have been able to reuse only 25 percent—or less—of application components. The State of BPO The State of SOA None 17% 1 percent to 10 percent 31% 11 percent to 25 percent 25% 26 percent to 50 percent 18% 51 percent to 75 percent 7% 76 percent to 100 percent 2%
Less Than One-Quarter Use a Service Provider to Help in SOA Projects Have you used, or are you planning to use, a service provider to help develop and implement an SOA framework to optimize business processes? Yes 22% No 40% Don’t know 38% As the previous slides show, moving to become an SOA-enabled enterprise that can continually drive business process improvements is challenging and potentially risky. Yet most organizations are trying to make the transition on their own. The State of BPO The State of SOA
Respondent Demographics: Role in BPO Development What is your role in the development, implementation, monitoring and modification of your company’s software design strategy with respect to business process optimization? One response allowed The State of BPO The State of SOA 27% 14% 3% 7% 37% 5% 7%
Which of the following best describes your job function? Respondent Demographics: Job Function Don’t know 38% IT management 21% Executive IT management (CIO, VP of IT) 10% Consultant 8% IT staff 20% Executive corporate management (CEO, president, corp. VP) 3% General corp. mgmt. 4% General corporate staff 2% VP infrastructure/ application development 2% Senior architect 20% Project manager 10% The State of BPO The State of SOA
Respondent Demographics: Company Size How many employees are in your organization in total? The State of BPO The State of SOA Less than 100 12% 100 to 499 20% 500 to 999 7% 1,000 to 4,999 20% 5,000 or more 41%
Respondent Demographics: Industry Government 12.7% IT vendors 9.8% Education 7.9% Healthcare and medical 7.3% Consulting and business services 6.7% Financial services/banking 6.4% Manufacturing and industrial (non-computer) 6.4% Insurance and HMOs 3.8% Financial services/insurance 3.2% Financial services/securities and investments 3.2% Retail and e-commerce 3.2% Telecommunications and ISPs 3.2% Nonprofit 2.5% Automotive 2.2% Consumer goods 2.2% Financial services/other 2.2% Media and entertainment 1.9% Electronics 1.6% Hospitality and travel 1.3% Logistics and transportation 1.3% Biotech, biomedical and pharmaceutical 1.0% Construction and engineering 1.0% Energy and utilities 1.0% Food and beverage 0.6% Utilities 0.6% Distribution 0.3% E-marketplace (portals or auction) 0.3% Metals and natural resources 0.3% Real estate 0.3% Other 5.6% The State of BPO The State of SOA