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Management and Governance Key to SOA, Report Finds

Companies working to tie together their disparate software and database systems using a service-oriented architecture (SOA) appear to be having mixed results, according to a report issued by the research firm Aberdeen Group. The firm conducted a survey of 950 companies and found that as much as half had "serious difficulties" when it came to establishing stable deployments for their SOA-enabled applications.

That finding is part of free white paper, "Management and Governance: Planning for an Optimized SOA Application Lifecycle," sponsored by Progress Software, iTKO and Mindreef.

The main reason for the difficulties, according to the report, were a lack of SOA experience and a lack of automated management and governance tools.

The report assessed the companies in the study as having various stages of SOA acumen. It classified them, based on their SOA expertise, as being "laggards," "industry average" or "best-in-class."

Best-in-class companies typically had more experience with SOA than other companies in the survey. Most (68 percent) of the best-in-class companies were seeing a return on investment from their SOA development costs, according to the report.

A key finding, based on the performance of the best-in-class companies, is that long-term planning should be the aim when deploying an SOA. Governance should be tightened at design time with an eye toward code reuse, which leads to reduced costs. The survey found that the more experienced companies had code reuse rates ranging from 50 percent to 70 percent.

Best-in-class companies typically had well-defined management and governance processes in place. The survey found that more than 80 percent of the best-in-class companies had automated solutions for operations and governance, typically using third-party software.

Companies were mostly interested in developing SOA solutions to develop new business capabilities for products and services, according to the survey. Best-in-class companies placed a greater emphasis on managing IT complexity as a goal.

The biggest challenge to implementing SOA was security, primarily because of the complex environment in an SOA. Some (38 percent) of the respondents described SOA security issues as "different from those of older IT."

The study was conducted between November 2006 and January 2007, polling more than 200 companies of varied sizes, with about 57 percent located in North America. The online survey was followed by telephone interviews with select survey respondents.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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