Enterprises ignore SOA at their peril

The economic downturn is driving the growth of application development software.

Enterprises cannot afford to ignore application development trends if they want to be in the best position for the economic recovery, an analyst warned today.

Application development software, including service oriented architecture (SOA) and business process management (BPM), is playing an increasingly important role in realising more efficient and effective operations, according to Gartner.

Paolo Malinverno, Gartner research vice president told IT PRO that its SOA and Application Development and Integration Summit, held in London this week, had attracted more interest from end user than ever - despite budgetary pressures.

"The choice is no longer whether to do SOA or not do SOA. It's how to do it," he said. And he added that around 80 per cent of large enterprises were already using SOA to become more efficient.

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"The rest aren't under so much cost pressure, but are still preparing [their SOA strategies] now so they can be first out of the blocks when the [economic] downturn ends," he said.

He stressed that enterprises were realising the need for SOA and other application development components to better manage increasingly complex application infrastructures that often extended beyond the corporate firewall.

"Even if it is to fish data out of one system and integrate with another, like Salesforce.com for example, SOA is key," he continued. "And the cloud wouldn't exist if it weren't for web services. SaaS [software-as-a-service] wouldn't exist without SOA."

Recent research backed Malinverno's perspective, with Gartner saying earlier this month that the worldwide market for application development software grew 4.2 per cent in 2008, despite the turbulent economic climate.

It found said most organisations were now looking at the application development space to improve the speed of software development, strengthen security and reduce lifecycle management costs, as well as capitalise on the savings offered by growth of cloud and SaaS-based offerings.

As a result of this increased market activity, Malinverno said there would be no 'one-size-fits-all strategy' for implementing an SOA strategy.

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"If you are at the beginning, don't buy anything, but focus instead on a pilot and measuring success," he advised.

"If you are halfway, closely govern the production of services, and try and reuse existing ones more than creating new ones. If done properly, SOA really can help IT become better aligned with the business."

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