According to a recent IDC study, companies will significantly increase investments in service-oriented architecture (SOA)-based services throughout the rest of 2006. The study, which analyzes the results of an IDC end-user survey of U.S.-based companies, reveals that the majority of respondents rated SOA as important to their overall IT and business strategy and further indicated that they are planning to purchase SOA-related services by the end of 2006. IDC cites a significant opportunity for service vendors to assist companies in implementing SOA, and believes vendors must continue their education efforts, provide guidelines and demonstrate business benefits to reach the majority of potential SOA users.

"Companies which will try to implement SOA on their own without any outside help from a services vendor will soon discover that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to successfully roll out a large or corporate-wide SOA initiative without considering the impact on the organization and its employees," said Marianne Hedin, program manager for IDC's Worldwide Services and Service-Oriented Architecture: The Services Opportunity programs. "To help them tackle the various issues involving organizational change they will need a service vendor."

When considering assistance from an external service provider, the survey finds that the companies planning to adopt SOA are most likely to turn to a large technology vendor, consulting firm or systems integrator and, to some extent, a traditional outsourcer. IDC believes that end users are more likely to turn to these large and established service vendors as they are unwilling to take a risk with a less-known services player when embarking on a new technology venture.

In terms of the types of services that both current and future SOA adopters are planning to acquire, the respondents claimed that their companies will procure a wide range of services including consulting, implementation, training/education, application development, application management/outsourcing and support services. Although consulting services continued to be on top of the list, additional types of services are also expected to be in strong demand by SOA adopters. In addition, the study reveals that the IT department is the primary decision maker for purchasing SOA-related services.

The study, "SOA-Based Services Buying Trends: A 2006 Survey of U.S. Companies," provides an analysis of the intentions and behavior of U.S. companies in purchasing SOA-based services in 2005 and 2006. The study presents the results from an IDC end-user survey, consisting of more than 400 end-users from a broad spectrum of U.S.-based companies. The study also explores different ways service vendors can position themselves to most effectively pursue and win deals in this fast-growing services market.

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