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SOAOpen Source 14 Mar 2008 11:27 AM
On Economic Recession, SOA, and Open Source by billm

I have spoken with some IT industry analysts recently on the question:  "Will a recession be good for open source?"  I think that orgainzations and IT managers will turn to the favorable economics of open source to get things done when budgets are tight; so yes, recession may be good for open source adoption.  

On a similar theme, will recession be good or bad for SOA adoption?  The opinions are a little more mixed on this question, but using Open Source to implement SOA is a great idea for over-stressed and under staffed IT managers to improve productivity as budgets get tighter.  

I ran across this interesting post from Brenda Michelson of the SOA Consortium on the subject of SOA adoption outlook as recession looms: 


SOA 2008 - It's the economy...

This morning’s dismal US Jobs Report and the ensuing analysis  laden with the “R-word” reminded me of a conversation our community-of-practice had on our December 4, 2007 call that I’ve been mean meaning to post on. During that call, prompted by an earlier discussion with Surekha Durvasula, I asked our members the following:

“What does the ensuing (or on-going) economic downturn mean for SOA in 2008? Will the economic downturn and associated budget cutbacks drive organizations to, or away from, SOA in 2008?”

In general, the group on the call spoke of the need for a SOA approach to respond to changing economic (and political) conditions. However, they do foresee changes in implementation investment philosophies, particularly at the resource (application and infrastructure) layers. In respect to garnering investment in tight times, organizations need to approach SOA as a joint business-IT strategy, directly linked to business initiatives.

What follows are excerpts from our call. For member confidentiality, names and organizations are not included. 

Industry practice leader - “It depends on how critical the business direction is that would be inhibited by not doing SOA. In other words, if in order to succeed in the downturn there is a business direction a company has to take that they can’t accomplish right now because of way it is functioning, like it or not, expense or not, they are going to move forward… they might be more selective in how they manage the waves of work they need to do.

I expect to see SOA going forward. Because it is based on – or should be based on -- business value, rather than just technology direction.”

Chief Architect 1 –“In the government sector, a new administration is coming on board. So, a lot of change is coming on many levels. This will create increased spending in IT and SOA specifically.

In the commercial sector, the economic situation might be a downturn mostly from a consumer perspective. Businesses will be looking at emerging and overseas markets to diversify and respond to the dollar bottoming out – manufacturing and portfolio investments. That type of business change is ripe for the development of a SOA approach.

I think we will continue to see SOA. Instead of just composite application development, we’ll see more choreography as it relates to peer-to-peer business interactions. Organizations will open up infrastructure to allow business peers to develop and consume SOA based business services.”

Technology Director – “The financial industry is definitely cutting back. But, other industries, such as telecommunications with the spectrum auctions and Verizon opening its network will continue to invest. As well, enterprises are beginning a rush to Web 2.0 and social networks, similar to the ecommerce rush. With the growth of Web 2.0/Social Networks (Google, Facebook, Yahoo!), enterprises, especially in consumer markets, will need to catch up. Both of these will result in the implementation of SOA. SOA is the backend.”

Industry practice leader – “While SOA will continue to grow, we might see cutbacks related to transformation beneath the services  because that is expensive to do. It’s a bit dangerous. But, I suspect companies might try to limp along – putting services on top of old applications. Depends on how dramatic the requirement is to transform. Such as, is the platform going to die? On the surface there will be services, cutbacks might be lower level.”

Chief Architect 2– “If you are a company faced with global competition or cost-cutting measures, you’ll still be service-enabling. But, I can see a move towards the prior point -- that underlying resource investments (applications and infrastructure) may be put off. Although, that wouldn’t be my preference.”

Business Strategist – “From a business standpoint, I think the downturn and budget constraints may help the SOA cause. I believe that people will look harder at the benefits. From that perspective, people will start to believe in SOA more from a point of necessity.”

Industry practice leader – “In other words from a downturn people will have to be more creative, and will turn towards SOA”


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