Leading bank and investment-firm CIOs, IT directors, staff technology gurus and the like spoke February 11 at the New York City conference â€œWeb Services/SOA on Wall Streetâ€ Their theme could have been â€œSOA is not on Wall St. yetâ€ but thatâ€™s probably good news for the supplier community that packed the conference with new technology value propositions. The slow uptake of SOA means the large systems suppliers such as IBM (IBM) and HP (HP) have not run away with all the services oriented architecture (SOA) business already.
Listening to the Wall St. information-technology (IT) gurus is important because they and their peers in The City and Switzerland and Singapore are usually two or more years ahead of the curve in terms of IT implementation. When it comes to investing in (or marketing) IT, finding out how it plays in Peoria first is not good advice. So in that light, where does SOA stand?
The general feedback from the presenters, most of whom are in varying stages of evaluating or implementing SOA for their firms, is that Wall St.â€™s own culture of silo operations is going to make SOA a tough sell. SOA helps eliminate IT silos but if the business itself is siloed, it does not want to share its IT resources with the other departments. The speed of migration to SOA by industry may be determined by the extent it is or wants to remain siloed for business rather than technology reasons.
Secondly, SOA does not mean web services to these guys. All of the buzz about mash-ups and social computing has a bad feel to it if an enterprise has concerns about governance, security, and risk aversion. Or has governments breathing down its necks with those concerns. Thatâ€™s certainly true of Wall St. but increasingly, itâ€™s just as true of Main St.
As is often the case, the vendors sponsoring the conference wanted to push the IT users on to the next set of buzzwords. To heck with the title, â€œWeb Services/SOA on Wall Street,â€ how about complex event processing and Enterprise 2.0? Wall St.â€™s answer, â€œlet us walk before we run.â€ One of the best lines of the day: Look at the complexity of the Google (GOOG) infrastructure. And thatâ€™s â€œjust simple event processing.â€
The implications of this, as I have written about here and here and elsewhere, is that SOA is going to permeate the worldâ€™s computing infrastructure slowly, just as client/server computing did beginning 20 years ago but probably not reaching a tipping point until after the Y2K scare passed. Similarly, by the time SOA happens, the industry will be on to a whole new set of buzzwords. SOA will eventually have a major technological impact but very little impact on investment strategy.
— Dennis Byron