Executive Briefings

Software Architecture & SOA: SOA is Dead! Long Live SOA!

Analyst Insight: Some have said SOA is dead, killed off by overambitious zealots, underperforming products, and bloated service engagements. Perhaps the SOA of their dreams is dead, but the real SOA is very much alive. It just happens to look a lot like past software...only a bit faster, cheaper, and better.

Recent AMR Research data showed most supply chain companies are not implementing or considering SOA technology in the next 12 months; yet a large proportion are planning on upgrading to SOA-enabled versions of their core enterprise applications.  SOA is dead as a product, but very much alive as an approach.

As with many transformative technologies, SOA was set up to fail. It was sold as a panacea. Vendors promised plug-and-play integration, instantaneous agility, programmer-less applications, and greener data centers. But we are now witnessing a backlash against SOA snake oil.

SOA failed to transform the industry overnight because it is plumbing-albeit, better plumbing-for doing things we already knew how to do. We solve the same business problems and many of the same technical issues as we did pre-SOA, but we can do it faster, cheaper and better. Despite the backlash, SOA continues to infiltrate companies, one technology fix and business renovation project at a time.

SOA will be with us for a long time. It's a compendium of current best practices applied to the problem of a rapidly changing business world. Unless the world stops changing or some radical new paradigm is invented, SOA will be the cornerstone of enterprise software for years to come.  SOA permeates everything from warehousing applications to Facebook. If there was a better approach, companies would be investing in it already. Until a successor emerges, SOA will continue to reign.

The Outlook

In 2010, expect SOA products to continue to fade as SOA becomes a standard component of every packaged application, SaaS service and integration middleware suite.  Smart companies will continue to use the SOA built into their applications, services and tools to gradually create themselves a faster, cheaper and better reality.

Recent AMR Research data showed most supply chain companies are not implementing or considering SOA technology in the next 12 months; yet a large proportion are planning on upgrading to SOA-enabled versions of their core enterprise applications.  SOA is dead as a product, but very much alive as an approach.

As with many transformative technologies, SOA was set up to fail. It was sold as a panacea. Vendors promised plug-and-play integration, instantaneous agility, programmer-less applications, and greener data centers. But we are now witnessing a backlash against SOA snake oil.

SOA failed to transform the industry overnight because it is plumbing-albeit, better plumbing-for doing things we already knew how to do. We solve the same business problems and many of the same technical issues as we did pre-SOA, but we can do it faster, cheaper and better. Despite the backlash, SOA continues to infiltrate companies, one technology fix and business renovation project at a time.

SOA will be with us for a long time. It's a compendium of current best practices applied to the problem of a rapidly changing business world. Unless the world stops changing or some radical new paradigm is invented, SOA will be the cornerstone of enterprise software for years to come.  SOA permeates everything from warehousing applications to Facebook. If there was a better approach, companies would be investing in it already. Until a successor emerges, SOA will continue to reign.

The Outlook

In 2010, expect SOA products to continue to fade as SOA becomes a standard component of every packaged application, SaaS service and integration middleware suite.  Smart companies will continue to use the SOA built into their applications, services and tools to gradually create themselves a faster, cheaper and better reality.