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 Wednesday.
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 Cote, an analyst with Redmonk. "The encouraging thing with SOA is that people seem to have figured out the basic goals and architectures at this point and have applied both complex and simple solutions to it."
The approach is also gaining steam because of its broad appeal among a company's various constituencies, he noted.
"On the IT side, it gives you a better idea of simply what to do and hopefully provides some efficiencies, if not really with re-use in the simplest term, then allowing people to re-combine things," he said. "From the business side -- in theory -- you can look at all these services and see what IT is providing you rather than just a big glob of stuff."