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Study: SOA efforts lacking quality control

A new survey suggests many companies are conducting service-oriented architecture projects to reinvent their corporate networks, and most IT executives favor SOA because of the concept’s emphasis on reusing existing assets.

But the study by the Waltham, Mass.-based consulting firm Hurwitz & Associates also suggests SOA efforts aren’t always accompanied by quality testing, leading to dissatisfaction with the results.

The study, underwritten by Mindreef--a New Hampshire-based software company formed in 2001 that focuses on Web services and SOA quality testing--surveyed 99 IT executives from North American and United Kingdom companies with more than 250 employees. More than half of the companies had revenues greater than $1 billion.

Sixty-six percent of the companies surveyed had begun deploying an SOA. About 90 percent of those cited reuse of assets and processes as a top reason for pursuing an SOA. Forty-seven percent of the respondents who had already implemented an SOA expressed satisfaction with their level of reuse, while 35 percent believed it was too soon to tell. Another 19 percent said they weren’t happy with the level of service reuse.

Other findings suggest reasons for the uneven results. Only 22 percent of the companies conducting an SOA initiative had a quality-assurance plan in place. Also, nearly half of the respondents either had no SOA repository or registry solution in place, or were using an in-house system.

The survey showed that 42 percent of respondents who had developed an SOA quality assurance plan were completely satisfied. Only 7 percent of respondents who implemented a SOA without a quality plan were completely satisfied.

Carol Baroudi, the study’s co-author, said the results are cause for concern. “It’s really sort of Wild West. …What we’ve got here is the potential for doing things really well or messing up on a big scale,” Baroudi said in a phone interview.

Collaboration is crucial to a successful SOA project, according to Baroudi. “My opinion is that SOA needs governance and it can’t be one person. That goes all the way down to the development level and all the way to the operations level,” she said.

The study is available at www.mindreef.com.

About the Author

Chris Kanaracus is the news editor of Redmond Developer News.

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