The metaphor of "services" lies at the heart of one of the world's most ballyhooed trends: using service-oriented architecture and Web services to integrate applications, automated processes and data.
In accordance with our version of Isaac Newton's Third Law of Motionfor every lionized technical trend there should be an equal and skeptical reality checkwe're tracked and probed these trends in previous articles and studies. But we haven't devoted an entire research survey to SOA and Web services until now.
Our May 2006 Emerging Technology study found an extraordinarily high satisfaction rate with Web services (90 percent) and SOA (86 percent). This month's Web services and SOA Survey goes deeper; we've delved into why companies turn to Web services and SOA and whether their expectations are met. We found SOA and Web services almost always aid process improvement, enable process innovation and foster information integration; in many cases they do not meet all expectations. These technologies prove less successful at reducing costs and promoting software re-use. Still, SOA and Web services do well enough that companies are upgrading or replacing a wide range of applications to take advantage of them.