SAP survey finds UK SOA ignorance

The UK is falling well behind global counterparts in understanding, investigating and actively using service oriented architecture.

UK firms are particularly ignorant when it comes to the flexible computing approach of service oriented architecture (SOA), according to preliminary results of a global survey of SAP users.

SOA did not emerge as a dominant trend globally, but while one-third (33 per cent) of organisations said that they were actively deploying systems overall, the UK was well behind this curve with only 13 per cent in the same position.

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The survey of 147 SAP user organisations, of which 31 were UK-based, also found 55 per cent of those in the UK either didn't understand SOA or hadn't got a strategy in place to implement it.

But 32 per cent of UK businesses said they were in the process of investigating SOA, which compared favourably with the global average of 27 per cent.

Still, the chairman of the SAP UK and Ireland user group, Alan Bowling, was surprised at the lack of UK SOA adoption highlighted by the survey.

"I really can't understand why it is," he said, "especially as everything in the IT organisation is going that way. It's also a fact that SOA is designed to provide a set of reusable services surrounded by strong governance that can reduce the cost of business process change and optimisation."

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He said it was clear that many organisations still needed education on how to implement SOA and its potential benefits. To meet this need the SAP UK and Ireland user group will be offering a dedicated SOA bootcamp' at its annual user conference in London, 10 to 11 November 2008.

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Bowling didn't, however, think that SAP user organisations had any particular challenges to overcome in implementing effective SOA, nor was the SAP NetWeaver integration platform to blame for slow adoption among the user group.

"For the mature user familiar with SAP, NetWeaver can actually make SOA quite straightforward," he said. "But a large telco may be able to see the benefits more readily than a toilet roll manufacturer say, who just wants to get on with the business of making toilet rolls."

The SAP UK and Ireland user group carried out the research in conjunction with the worldwide SAP User Group Executive Network (SUGEN) community formed late last year.

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