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Is SOA a Dodo?

Ross O. Storey | Jan. 29, 2009
Is Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) a let-down?

Canvassing the thoughts and opinions of the Asia Pacifics IT movers and shakers, as Fairfax Business Media does each year - through CIO Asia, MIS Asia, Computerworld Singapore and Singapore Malaysia - always throws up some fascinating responses.

This year we asked Whats Next for Asia Pacific IT in 2009 and, once again, we received some input that caused my jaw to drop, my bald head to furrow and my eyebrows to rise.

A certain management consultant, who shall remain nameless because I doubt he really wants to enter into an online debate to defend his position, had some particularly forthright things to say.

Proponents of Service-oriented architecture (SOA), such as Oracle, IBM, Progress Software, Accenture and Telelogic, will likely tell you that this IT approach creates a more flexible infrastructure for today's business demands. IBM alone invests more than US$1 billion per year in SOA. The proponents sales pitch will maintain that This is especially critical in today's business climate where business agility and cost-effectiveness are the most sustaining competitive advantages.

DodoBut our management consultant has a different view. He believes that during 2008, SOA 'seems to have gone the way of the Dodo, and that Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is heading for the trough of disillusionment. Im following him up on these comments and will let you know how I progress.

Of course, Wikipedia tells us that the Dodo (picture), related to pigeons and doves, was a one-metre tall flightless bird that once lived on the Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius, but has been extinct since the mid-to-late 17th century. There are no more living Dodos.

Researchers Hydrasight believe that the majority of medium and larger enterprises will continue to expand their SOA deployments and improve their immature SOA management practices. Hydrasight foresees that the total number of organisations adopting SOA in the Asia Pacific will not significantly expand during 2009. Yes, SOA is definitely not plug and play, and its difficult to measure its ROI, but is it really likely to become extinct?

As for SaaS, far more of the IT thought leaders that we consulted, felt that this was a technology approach that really was going places, rather than disillusioning people. And, they werent from, NetSuite, EnterpriseWizard or other members of the on-demand SaaS vendor camp.

On a personal front, I was amazed at a new web SaaS that Google helped me discover last weekend. It lets you convert YouTube music videos to MP3s so you can load them on your digital player. I had hours of fun doing just that because it was as simple as cutting an pasting a URL then choosing what you wanted. There is a plethora of this type of SaaS web sites you can find by searching. So, personally, I am in the camp that believes that SaaS has a very solid future both at the personal and enterprise IT levels. Im certainly not disillusioned.


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