Enterprises lacking SOA skills

Enterprises lacking SOA skills

Firms admit to missing 75 per cent of the required skills, study finds

Enterprises are suffering from gaping holes in the skills required for service oriented architectures (SOAs).

More than half the companies interviewed for a recent IBM survey said that they have only 25 per cent or less of the skills that they needed to build a functioning SOA.

Respondents said that they lacked people who had the ability to bridge the gap between IT and business. Other experience gaps included strategic mapping and modelling, SOA security and governance and integration.

A service oriented architecture allows firms to piece together new applications by combining pre-developed functionalities. To allow for such a combined view however, the architecture requires a universal view of the entire business that spans all departments, databases and existing applications.

Senior analyst Ron Schmeltzer with Zapthink, an analyst firm specializing in webservices and SOAs, underwrites the findings of the IBM study.

Many firms for instance focus on purchasing elements from the IT infrastructure that is required to build an SOA, such as an enterprise service bus (ESB), a server that integrates disparate systems.

"Many organization try to do SOA and end up doing something else that they think is SOA, but isn't," said Schmeltzer. [An SOA] is not something you buy, it's something you do."

The lack of SOA skills is holding back adoption of the architecture, he argued. It affects both companies as well as consultancies that offer help in setting up the new architectures, such as IBM.

Even though the challenge is large, it is typical for periods in which new architectures are introduced: "We had the same problem in the 90s when people built out the big websites."