SOA knowledge is more important than imagination, says IDC

MILAN – APRIL 4, 2007 – According to a new IDC study, companies across Western European vertical markets will continue to invest in IT at a compound annual growth rate of 4.3% between 2006 and 2010, reaching a value of just over $406.5 billion in 2010. Software is expected to be the fastest growing segment, closely followed by IT services (driven by operations and planning), while hardware is expected to register weak growth throughout the forecast period.

According to new IDC research, an understanding of service-oriented architecture (SOA) is becoming increasingly important, especially among the companies familiar with it, and more and more Western European companies are planning to invest in the solution in the future.

"IT vendors should focus on elevating the level of understanding of SOA as, once SOA familiarity becomes widespread across an organization, it rapidly becomes an essential part of its IT strategies," said Giacomo Laurini, senior research analyst, IDC's European Vertical Markets group.

Drawing on the results of IDC's European Vertical Markets Survey, the study analyzes familiarity, importance, and the main reasons to adopt SOA, together with the current adoption level of SOA and future investment plans.

The familiarity level of SOA varies notably among industries. On average, 60% of the interviewed companies have a sufficient knowledge of this technology. However, except for in the banking and insurance/other finance sectors, the percentage of organizations with a detailed level of SOA understanding is lower than 20%.

Nevertheless, verticals show a much higher homogeneity in the rank of SOA importance than for SOA familiarity. SOA has a strong importance for the IT departments of organizations that are familiar with it and around 30% of them rank SOA as being extremely important. This percentage is higher for insurance/other finance, government, and transport/communications/utilities.

On average, Western European organizations want to increase their SOA spending, with 11% of organizations planning to invest in SOA in the next 24 months. This percentage is more than double that of organizations planning to invest in SOA in the next 12 months (5%), which illustrates the growing interest in SOA. This is especially evident in the insurance/other finance and retail/wholesale sectors, where investments become more relevant in the 24-month timeframe.

SOA is important for IT departments because it can be an enabler for the improvement of IT systems quality. All organizations (besides business service) indicated that the main reasons to adopt SOA are the improvement in the quality of IT systems, the lower IT operating costs, and the need to allow greater integration of processes and information with customers and suppliers.

This IDC study, 2006 Western European Vertical Markets and SOA: An IDC Survey, by Giacomo Laurini and Angela Vacca (Doc #M05N, December 2006), offers survey-based results for SOA adoption and future plans in the Western European vertical markets and provides indications on the drivers spurring corporations towards a more intensive use of the SOA approach and details of the key projects launched in this area.

To purchase these documents, please contact your local IDC office or visit

SOA is also the main topic of the following forthcoming IDC conferences:

– May 8, 2007 – Copenhagen, Denmark

-May 8, 2007 – Stockholm, Sweden

– May 15/17, 2007 – Oslo, Norway

– May 22, 2007 – Amsterdam, Netherlands

– May 22, 2007 – Paris, France

– May 30, 2007 – Vienna, Austria

– September 27, 2007 – Frankfurt, Germany

For more information, please visit IDC's events pages at

About IDC

IDC is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 900 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 90 countries worldwide. For more than 43 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. You can learn more about IDC by visiting .