Businesses are gearing up to adopt service-oriented architecture (SOA), citing tangible benefits resulting from a more agile and responsive IT infrastructure.

Two-thirds of’s 12-strong CIO Jury IT user panel said they have already moved to or are planning to move to a SOA platform in the next year.

This follows a benchmarking report from Aberdeen Group this week that said 90 per cent of organisations have adopted or are planning to adopt a SOA – although it warned doing so can eat up 40 per cent of a company’s IT budget.

Financial services is one sector that appears to be leading the way with SOA adoption. Yawar Murad, CIO at GE Life, said: “Our SOA strategy is a key enabler to extending the use of our legacy, while allowing us to invest in new capabilities and deliver optimised business processes.”

Mark Foulsham, IT director at online insurance company eSure, said SOA has moved from the hype of being the ‘next big thing’ to a reality.

He said: “We’ve been using a SOA framework for over a year and the benefits of the move to web services for eSure are significant. The proof of any new technology adoption is in tangible benefits to the business and in one area we have reduced speed to market from a weekly lead time to a near instantaneous release.”

Graham Benson, IT director at the Web Factory – the IT services arm of online music and entertainment retailer – said: “SOA allows an enterprise to create an application model which is more agile and thus responsive to changes in business requirements.”

But some have yet to see those benefits. Nicholas Evans, European IT director at Key Equipment Finance, is already using a platform that supports SOA.

He said: “While this architecture promises much I haven’t yet seen any case where it has already delivered benefits.”

Of those who have no plans for moving to SOA yet, there is still some scepticism. John Odell, group IT director at the BBA Group, said fourth generation programme languages (4GLs), object orientation and web services are just “yet another attempt at reusable code”.

Chris Broad, head of IS & technology at the UK Atomic Energy Authority, simply said: “SOA still appears to have more marketing than substance.”

Today’s CIO Jury was…

Graham Benson, IT director, The Web Factory (
Ben Booth, global CTO, Ipsos
Chris Broad, head of IS&T, UK Atomic Energy Authority
Paul Broome, IT director,
Nicholas Evans, European IT director, Key Equipment Finance
Mark Foulsham, IT director, eSure
Adrian Hughes, IT director, Amlin
Nick Masterson-Jones, IT director, Voca
Colin Moore, head of IS, Department for Education and Skills
Yawar Murad, CIO, GE Life
Rory O’Boyle, head of IT, The Football Association
John Odell, group IT director, BBA Group

If you are a CIO, IT director or equivalent at a large or small company in the private or public sector and you want to be part of’s CIO Jury pool, or you know an IT chief who should be, then drop us a line at