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IBM Details SOA Roadmaps, Aims at Business Rather Than IT

IBM has provided more details of eight
industry-specific roadmaps
that it announced at its SOA user
conference in May, along with the results

of a customer survey that it took at the same time.

Rather than upcoming products from IBM, the eight roadmaps detail an implementation framework for six specific industries: one each for banking, insurance, retail and manufacturing, and two each for telecommunications and healthcare, which IBM says are its biggest customers. In most cases, the underlying mix of IBM application platform and SOA middleware products is not significantly different between the roadmaps, though IBM and some of its ISVs have developed industry-specific components that run on top of the platform.

The theory is that because SOA is all about service re-use, different enterprises within a given industry will be able to reuse the same services, even if their underlying applications and business processes are not identical. This strategy should be more flexible than monolithic single-industry approaches and simpler than building everything from scratch.

The most significant result of the survey: Two-thirds of all SOA decisions are made by C-level executives or other business managers, not IT pros. It also found that most customers had a significant skills shortage in the SOA area, including both the technology itself and its application to IT. Of course, this isn't surprising given the composition of IBM's consultancy services: Enterprises that don't feel they have a skills shortage may be more likely to go to one of IBM's competitors.

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