Asian system integrators push SOA

Local knowledge vital to the technology's regional spread.

Local system integrators and independent software vendors (ISVs) are playing significant roles in the ability of service-oriented architecture vendors to penetrate four major domestic markets in Asia, according to Springboard Research. This is especially evident in the Chinese market, which is dominated by local players. These are the findings of Springboard's latest research covering Asia's SOA market, and based on a survey of 354 CIOs and IT managers of large and mid-market enterprises in China, India, Singapore, and Australia.

"Local SIs and ISVs form an important part of the SOA ecosystem by integrating systems well, and by building customised applications on vendor platforms," said Balaka Baruah Aggarwal, senior manager for emerging software at Springboard Research. "While international software vendors also offer integration and consulting services directly, ISV/SI partners are key providers of these services," Aggarwal added. The local ISV/SI partner landscape is unique throughout most of Asia because up until now, many multinational vendors worked in the region with their top tier global integration partners. However, the Indian market is a notable exception where global IT companies such as IBM, HP and Microsoft dominate mindshare as SOA players, despite the presence of home-grown IT giants like TCS, Infosys, Wipro, HCL and Satyam.

"The Indian players are now beginning to expand both in the domestic market and neighbouring markets in the region. The case for Chinese integrators is just the opposite, as they have established their hold on the domestic market and are now on the prowl to expand their regional and global presence," Aggarwal said.

"Integration skills of partners have a critical role in successful SOA projects as SOA involves bringing together disparate IT systems," Aggarwal explained. "The battle for SOA has extended from simply marketing SOA solutions to seeking out partners who have good integration skills and reach in the local markets. Ultimately it is good partners who will make the difference in vendors' ability to woo customers," she added.

The study also found that price is not the number one reason for vendor selection. Important reasons for vendor selection are proven products and solutions, clearly defined roadmaps for deployment and vendor reputation. On the other hand, the perception of SOA being expensive emerged as the top inhibitor for SOA deployment.

"As SOA is a strategic initiative, the process requires investment and a long-term organisational commitment. Further, since business managers typically control the budget in an organisation, particularly for extended strategic projects, vendors need to target business managers along with technology managers," said Aggarwal.

Len Rust is publisher of The Rust Report

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