SOA gets cozy in financial services

The death of services-oriented architecture (SOA) has been much exaggerated according to a new report. Forrester analyst Jost Hoppermann said that in financial services companies, SOA is very much alive and is being increasingly deployed within the industry.

According to Forrester’s own figures, nearly 80 percent of financial services firms said that they

use SOA and business services in a production environment, while nearly 20 percent more are exploring the possibility of using the technology.

It’s a stark contrast to the situation two years ago when Burton analyst Anne Thomas Manes said that SOA was dead. Burton has already said that the obituaries were premature and and that there’s room in the business for SOA but Forrester’s contention is that SOA never went away at all. “SOA is no more dead than objects are – or COBOL” wrote Hoppermann, adding that the technology was not “about just buying a set of high-tech products and technologies.”

There’s a stark difference between continents. According to Forrester, North American financial firms are far more prone to use business services in their apps landscape, while only five percent of European firms have more than half of their applications use business services today. US firms on the other hand boast double that number with 12 percent of financial companies claiming that half of their applications using business services. 

Hoppermann outlined several guidelines for successful SOA deployment. He wrote that companies had to choose whether to design the SOA environment top-down or bottom-up. Hoppermann also advised organisations to be wary about the services of a consultancy or systems integrator. He warned that many such companies push customers into their own ways of working which might not be all right for the customers. He said that such firms may be fine as long as they support the path that the user organisation wants to go down. 

Finally, Hoppermann said that businesses needed to ensure that the relevant structure was in place to support their business services. And, most importantly, set reasonable schedules to roll out SOA services – he warned that it may not be possible for an organisation to have half its applications running business services within 18 to 24 months.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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