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SOA is not dead, says IDC

Well-designed SOA can enable BPM and cloud computing

Business spending on Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) will grow by up to 25 percent worldwide by 2013, according to analyst house IDC.

Ruediger Spies, vice-president of enterprise applications at IDC Central Europe, told the IDC's SOA and Beyond Conference 2010 in London that the growth will be led by the Americas, followed by EMEA.

"There are people in the market saying that SOA is over. Nothing is more wrong," said Spies, who also spoke about how SOA can provide a framework for cloud computing.

Spies said that between 2008 and 2013, SOA spending in the Americas will expand by 24.7 percent, EMEA will see a 24 percent growth and Asia Pacific will see a 23.2 percent growth.

However, although the EMEA region will see a smaller growth, Spies said: "We in Europe already have a better architecture for IT than US companies, therefore spending does not need to be as high in Europe, because it is already better linked together."

SOA can help to improve the alignment of IT with business needs, Spies added. However, in order for SOA to be successful, companies should "think long term".

"Architecture is not just a project - it's a project that has to run for some years," said Spies.

"Typically, SOA projects have a longer life span than ERP systems, which last around 12 to 13 years."

Spies also recommended that SOA architects define value for the business, enable the business to understand the contribution to the bottom line.

"It's all about integration. As a project manager, you need to understand the business requirements. It should not be someone who has just left university. It needs to be a person accepted on the business and IT side," said Spies.

Meanwhile, Spies said that SOA, if designed properly, will provide the basis for BPM strategies, which he described as a "pretty small step" from cloud computing.

"From now on, cloud computing becomes just another sourcing option for selecting and replacing existing systems," said Spies.

By adopting cloud computing, companies may then be able to reduce costs and increase flexibility.

Furthermore, although integration is one of the key challenges of cloud computing, Spies insisted: "If you've done your SOA properly, you will have the roadmap for the process architecture and the information architecture that builds the groundwork of things, and how they should fit together."