Forty-two percent of respondents to a recent IBM-funded study said SOA (service-oriented architecture) is the top spending priority of their organizations, the company announced.

While definitions of SOA vary, it generally refers to an IT architecture approach that eschews monolithic applications and instead breaks down functionality — such as a customer credit check request — into interoperable “services,” theoretically allowing greater development flexibility and the potential for re-use.

The Link Group conducted the survey for IBM, polling 300 clients that attended the company’s recent SOA conference, IMPACT 2008. Fifty percent of respondents to it said they are now deploying SOA and 27 percent reported having projects in the pilot phase.

Sixty percent said their projects are enterprise or division-wide and 96 percent of that group called their recent efforts “very successful” or “somewhat successful.”

The findings ring true, one analyst suggested.

“SOA both as a mindset and technology is largely just how enterprise software is done nowadays. It’s like object-oriented [programming] or client/server in the past,” said Michael Cot

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