Out of more than 200 members in attendance at SOA Leaders Council meetings in June and July of 2005, more than seventy-two percent reported that they currently have a services-based application in production. Another twenty-two percent expect to have SOA systems in production by the middle of 2006. Organizations with production SOA applications had, on average, 25.1 staff members working in some capacity on their SOA initiatives and had built 41.5 services at the time the survey was conducted.
"Survey results from the SOA Leaders Councils reinforce what we've seen in the marketplace," said John Guerriere, vice president of marketing at ThoughtWorks. "An increasing number of enterprises are embarking on the architectural shift to services-based applications, and are now taking them in to production."
SOA Leaders Council members cited still-evolving industry standards and the challenge of reusing software components as the most difficult challenges in their work with SOA technologies. The most commonly reported means for proving the value of SOA were opportunistic projects and demonstrating how service-oriented architecture enables IT to better align with business goals.
The SOA Leaders Council is a collaborative community where IT executives, CIOs and architects planning, designing and implementing SOAs at large enterprises can share their experiences and expertise with their peers. Regional chapter meetings are distinguished from conferences and tradeshows by their interactive nature and the level of experience the members bring to the meetings. Featured hosts at chapter meetings have included leading analysts from Burton Group, Forrester Research and Gartner.
"SOA Leaders is a unique group as it is not single vendor specific, it's actual people with real implementations with different approaches to SOA," said Frank Kenney, a research analyst with Gartner. "Bringing together people with different technology backgrounds from different levels collaborating is what makes SOA work. The group challenged my thinking with real-life experiences."
An additional survey was conducted to gauge the value of the SOA Leaders Council events. Eighty-four percent of the attendees to the most recent chapter meetings rated the value of the events to be high or excellent. The value of group discussions was rated as high or excellent by sixty-eight percent of attendees, while the value of the discussion topic, which was "Building the Business Case for SOA" at the last meetings, was rated high or excellent by sixty-eight percent of attendees.