China's SOA

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[CNETNews.com.cn] According to IDC's latest report China SOA Solutions: Opportunities and Challenges ,China's SOA-driven software and services market revenue was US million in 1006 and is expected to reach US0 million by 2010, posting a strong double-digit five-year compound annual growth rate.

"The emergence of SOA will bring about significant changes to China’s IT market. Apart from reviving the China’s middleware market, it will also enable system integrators (SIs) to improve efficiency and overcome difficulties encountered in numerous customization and integration projects. In the long run, service-oriented approach will help increase consolidation in China’s services market," said Enid Du, Senior Analyst at IDC's China Software and Services Research.

IDC expects further development of the traditional customized software application market as SOA practices are being introduced. At the early stage, costs associated with customized development may be less than SOA development. However, the returns on investment (ROI) of an SOA development approach will improve in the long term with the reuse and extension of existing services and processes.

Standardization of services in SOA is also a key step in improving corporate inter-department service collaborations. Organizations should expect to invest a significant amount of effort initially to establish this core structural milestone. An SOA approach is highly beneficial for corporations who are seeking for transparency and alignment of business services across different channels and departments where a large amount of redundant and overlapping services, processes and legacy systems exist. SOA approaches are also useful for organizations with new infrastructure where formal processes aligning business and IT can be instituted early to help with business agility and speed to market initiatives.

China’s IT market should leverage SOA standards and methodologies to steer away from proprietary domestic approaches, thereby giving them a level playing field versus foreign competition. As China embarks on a transformation of their state governance, software vendors are presented with an opportunity of refreshing and upgrading the existing legacy applications found in state enterprises. Software vendors could strengthen their offerings by participating in global SOA events and standards and applying these best practices in their software development lifecycle.

From a recent survey, IDC observed the adoption of SOA in large enterprises in industries such as Banking, Power, Telecom, and Transportation. These enterprises are utilizing SOA to build flexible systems that can integrate their existing complicated information systems in order to meet their business requirements. In addition, the Chinese government is also aggressively promoting the establishment of data-sharing platforms, hence paving the way for greater SOA adoption.

According to Dr Patrick Chan, Research Director for IDC's Asia/Pacific Emerging Technologies Research, China's existing large customer base and internal collaborative services market makes it a suitable platform to nurture external facing SOA services that are volume oriented, standard-based and interoperable to the customers. China's large network of B2B services should take the opportunity to evolve further towards global SOA standards and direction. Where reference models are concerned, China could look to case studies and approaches from multinational corporations such as Amazon and Salesforce.

However, as SOA is still an emerging technology with evolving standards and practices, examples of successful, large-scale SOA implementation are limited. End users should not expect to see immediate results from SOA deployments, as it requires collaboration and alignment between business processes and IT functions for successful SOA implementation.

IDC advises vendors to invest time and effort in nurturing partners towards building up the necessary skill set and consulting practices in terms of newer areas such as SOA change management, service identification, reuse and optimization. "When it comes to project execution, it is best to start with high impact business initiatives involving less mission critical systems. Piloting these projects to prove system stability and flexibility to their clients is a key step towards establishing trust and longer term partnership in customer SOA blueprint," said Felix Liu, Senior Analyst at IDC's China Software and Services Research.