Its been a long time since IBM was so dominant in a market. According to Wintergreen Research IBM has an eye-popping 53% of the SOA tools market. I don’t know about Wintergreen’s methodology or whatever, but its pretty clear that in the Fortune 500 SOA game IBM is playing its hand extremely well. To see competitors play on IBM’s turf is very interesting. I mean trying to beat IBM on consulting-led transformation, with integration software pull-through doesn’t make a great deal of sense. It would be like me trying to go head to head with Gartner Group. IBM has literally thousands of salespeople on the SOA case, which nobody else can match.
I am not an unabashed fan of Big SOA. In fact I am somewhat more naturally oriented to a clean slate for service development. The Tabula RASA – Rest ATOM Scripting and Agile… that is the new approach. But the Fortune 500 needs to cover its collective ass when it spends big money on IT projects, and spend it is. IBM provides the air cover like no one else. Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM… is as true today as ever.
IBM is also doing a bunch of cool stuff in community and skills development- working on university curricula and certification programs, and using neat web 2.0 style front ends on the revamped SOA Business Catalog, for example.
Technically I am looking forward to seeing the integration between WebSphere Registry and Repository and the IBM Tivoli change and configuration management database (CCMDB), which has the potential to drive some really interesting alignment between service development and operations. Another interesting development will be WebSphere Process Server running natively on System z.
IBM increasingly owns SOA. Even if the market makes a huge shift to RASA, which doesn’t have much CYA magic, but will drive faster results, IBM will still be a strong position in a very valuable market. SOA is IBM’s Applications business, where business semantics lives, and competition with SAP and Oracle resides. I have no idea how Microsoft is going to play its way in, but hats off to IBM for defining a market and executing remorselessly. SAP has competition from IBM as much as Oracle. IBM- its not the competition, its the environment in which you compete. Like I say its been a while.
disclosure: IBM, Oracle, Microsoft and SAP are clients. IBM paid T&E for me to come to SOA Impact 2007 in Orlando.