Could growing fears of an economic slowdown in the U.S. be good news for service-oriented architecture?
While it’s morbid to consider, the answer might be yes. While most companies don’t have an operating SOA in place at the moment, many do (anywhere from 20 to 33% dependent on which poll you happen to be reading). If the U.S. economy takes a nap for a few quarters and money for new projects becomes tight, then SOA will be handed a golden opportunity to flash the agility it has long promised.
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Can the SOA vanguard connect to new partners, assemble new applications and create new efficiencies without requiring piles of money be spent on new software? If it can, then it stands to gain a significant advantage over its competitors, who may need to shelve good ideas until they can afford to implement them. It really is the ultimate test for whether you’ve turned your app dev efforts into a profit center rather than a cost center.
In fact, recent events are making ZapThink’s Ron Schmelzer and Jason Bloomberg look like prophets for having penned “Service Orient or Be Doomed” back in 2006 — a potential recession representing the “be doomed” part of the title for those who haven’t become satisfactorally service-oriented.
Later in 2006 the authors of “Service Oriented Architecture for Dummies” echoed the same sentiment, calling SOA crucial for “the very survival of a business.” Co-author Judith Hurwitz emphasized that very point in a podcast with us last year.
In 2008 we might get to see that play out a bit. In any economic downturn there are winners, companies who thrive while everyone else is struggling. If we hear that SOA is a behind-the-scenes force for a lot of those winners, then it could move from the realm of fond desire to corporate necessity. A recession could be the ultimate good news for people who love bad news scenario when it comes to SOA.
We’ll lead off our news coverage this week with a story on how analysts think SOA will fare if the economy chills. Expect this to be a major topic as the year progresses, as 2008 may turn out to be the year that SOA proves its business value or the year where it fails to match the hype.