Services-oriented Architecture (SOA) may be “the best thing since bread came sliced”, says a Canadian analyst, but surprisingly it hasn’t gained much traction in the marketplace. Today, a mere two-fifths of Canadian organizations are involved in an SOA project, with smaller businesses slower to adopt the architecture than larger ones.

SOA was pegged as “one of those next big things”, said David Senf, manager of software research at IDC Canada Inc., at the IT360 conference in Toronto last month. “But that was seven years ago, and it’s interesting to see where we’re at with SOA adoption.”

Our tortoise-like approach is evident when Canadian companies are compared to their U.S. counterparts, who are currently the market hares, holding a strong lead in SOA adoption. This is because Canada is primarily a mid-market country, with a manufacturing-heavy industry that tends not to be early adopters of this type of technology, said Senf.

“Most organizations are saying they’re going to use it when it makes economic sense, or in an ad-hoc manner – a very passive-type thing,” he noted.

According to Senf, benefits of SOA include decreasing time to market, increasing adherence to regulatory compliance, enhancing the customer experience, optimizing end-to-end processes, and providing business intelligence.

“When we look at companies [that] have automated more tasks, and virtualized across these different layers, we do see them achieving various cost benefits, being more flexible in their business processes.”

He said organizations passive to SOA view the architecture as “just another tool in a toolbox to get something done,” rather than using it to transform the business.

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