Why aren’t people achieving the benefits of SOA?

The cynical response is to invoke the “Gartner Hype Cycle” and say it’s been overhyped. But that just begs the question: why do things get overhyped? In general the reason is that someone comes up with a new approach to solving a vexing problem. At first it didn’t even have a name it just solved a specific problem. Eventually someone generalizes it and gives it a name. The very early adopters buy into the problem and how this approach solves the problem. However success creates a problem. The problem is that the early successes get associated with the category (SOA in this case) and new practitioners show up eager to do “SOA” or whatever it is that is trendy. There isn’t a problem with the technology per se, but the new wave of practitioners are more interested in being in the category than actually solving the problem that the approach was designed for. And so the solution becomes decoupled from the problem. No wonder the second wave is disappointed. No wonder there is a hype cycle. And no wonder that as Gartner themselves put it , almost everyone is doing SOA and only about 5% are achieving the benefits. The benefits require discipline not buzzwords and technology

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