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The majority of business managers have little or no understanding of service oriented architecture (SOA) and the benefits it can bring, according to the latest survey from PMP Research. The study has been commissioned by the Evaluation Centre (

SOA is seen in some quarters as providing a common language for both business and IT practitioners. However, the research shows that we are still far from reaching this point. The majority of respondents think that the business has ‘little understanding’ (42%) or ‘none at all’ (16%). Only 10% think the business understands SOA ‘quite well’ and 22% think there is a ‘medium amount’ of knowledge.

The consolidation and integration of disparate information systems is still a major challenge for 88% of companies. But while meeting the need for inhouse integration and flexibility is demanding enough, there is now an increasing requirement to look outside the boundaries of the business and provide interactivity with the systems run by clients, suppliers and business partners. This is mentioned by 30% as ‘very important’ and 34% as ‘important’.

Companies also appear to be taking a more strategic view of integration with 43% currently engaged in, or planning, a large enterprise-wide integration programme. A further 26% say they have a number of small, individual integration projects currently in place or planned, whereas 28% say integration activities happen on a case-by-case basis according to development needs.

When it comes to selecting and purchasing integration tools the favoured approach, adopted by 42% of companies, is to evaluate and purchase tools to meet the needs of a specific project. This compares to 25% of companies who have a recommended set of integration tools as part of their development environment and 12% who have a recommended list of integration tools to choose from.

SOA is becoming the great white hope in designing more modular and flexible IT systems. From the survey 31% of the companies interviewed have started to design and implement systems based on SOA principles with a further 16% in the planning stage. However, this still leaves a significant number of companies who are yet to embark on this route, with 16% planning to look at it in the future and 23% having no plans to use SOA.

While SOA provides a range of benefits it also requires a different approach to designing and developing IT systems. The respondents feel it is not so much the technology implications of SOA that can provide problems, but the adoption of these new principles.

Ensuring that SOA practices are followed throughout the organisation is seen as a key challenge by 73% of the companies, followed by defining and creating appropriate SOA services (60%). The latter in many ways goes hand-in-hand with the difficulty of defining business requirements and processes accurately, also mentioned by 60% of respondents.

Cost-justifying a move to SOA is also seen as a problem by nearly half the respondents (49%) and the difficulty of managing a mix of third-party suppliers is cited by 42%. Issues over system security are also a cause of concern for 29% of companies.

Survey Statistics

We interviewed a broad selection of companies for this year’s survey into the enterprise integration market. The largest sector was banking & finance (20% of the sample), followed by the pubic sector (15%), manufacturing (13%) and retail (12%).

The organisations who took part vary in size – at the lower end of the spectrum, 21% report an annual turnover of between £50 million and £100 million, while at the top of the range 17% have turnovers exceeding £5 billion.

In between, 13% of companies come into the £100 million to £200 million bracket, 22% have turnovers of £200 million to £500 million and 11% have turnovers of between £500 million and £1 billion. A further 16% post turnovers ranging from £1 billion to £5 billion.

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Note for editors:

About PMP Research

PMP Research, ( founded in 1990, provides bespoke research, analysis and consultancy typically within the IT, telecoms and professional services markets.

Press enquiries:

For more information please contact Cliff Mills on 0870 908 8767 or email

About the Evaluation Centre

The Evaluation Centre ( is an interactive service for end users and consultants to assist them in the procurement process for software, services and technology.

Press enquiries:

For more information please contact Steve Markwell on 0870 908 8767 or email

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