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SOA Implementations Face Challenges

The news is sobering, if not surprising. According to a recent poll administered by SOA Pipeline, SOA implementations are taking longer than expected, raising more challenges than anticipated, and returning ROI later than desired.
The news is sobering, if not surprising. According to a recent poll administered by SOA Pipeline, SOA implementations are taking longer than expected, raising more challenges than anticipated, and returning ROI later than desired.When asked how their SOA implementations were going, readers expressed their concerns about the length of time it was taking to achieve results. Only 24 of respondents agreed with the statement that "our SOA efforts are right on track, and we expect to receive a timely ROI from them." A much higher percentage of respondents (43 percent) confessed that the implementations were taking longer than expected, although they expressed confidence that they were "on the right track."

The sobering news came in the 24 percent of respondents who said their SOA efforts were encountering significant difficulties. Of those people, a full 60 percent agreed with the statement that "our SOA efforts have failed."

This backs up an earlier poll by Webmethods that found the same approximate results. Although use of Web services is increasing, companies are holding back a bit on SOA implementations due to concerns about how difficult they are to successfully bring off.

Such concerns haven't stopped financial giant Merrill Lynch from embarking on a grand SOA scheme with the help of SOA Software and IBM. Andrew Brown, Merrill Lynch's technology architect, says the deployment will allow the company to scale out its use of SOA and Web services and improve the way it deals with clients. "The whole Web services architecture and the implementation of the SOA platform is underwritten by trust and it is the trust of our clients that when they send us data over the wire that their data is protected, their identity is protected, and the result that comes back from sending us that data is protected," Brown says. According to a recent InformationWeek survey, about 36 percent of businesses are adopting SOAs to increase customer satisfaction and bolster revenue.

Early next year, Merrill Lynch plans to roll out its first Web service application--portfolio revaluation--based on the new architecture. The application will be used by clients to assess hedge fund portfolios, where a lot of calculation is necessary. We'll be keeping you posted on how the Merrill Lynch SOA implementation plays out.

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Brian T. Horowitz, Contributing Reporter
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Nathan Eddy, Freelance Writer
Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing