Gartner released their 2005 hype cycle a few months ago, listing SOA as having entered the trough of disillusionment. True to this prediction, a recent article by Charlie Babcock of Information Week states that sometimes SOA adds complexity rather than simplicity.
Up front it says 1/4 or respondants have said SOA has increased complexity. Bad news, of course, sells better than good news. You don't find out until later in the article that 69% said that SOA or web services met or exceeded expectations. That number is, frankly, really good for any new IT initiative.
Shockingly, the article also states that, to be successful, IT needs a clear understanding of employee and customer needs. What, you mean adopting SOA blindly without understanding your business doesn't work? This alone could explain the 1/3 to 1/4 that are having issues. Successful SOA isn't a technology initiative - it's a business initiative backed up by IT.
But, this survey is actually very interesting. If 69% of people say SOA or web services are exceeding expectations, does this mean we're through the "trough of disillusionment"? Maybe, maybe not. The issue is that Information Week have bundled "SOA" together in the same question as "web services." So, it's hard to know what the Information Week numbers really mean for SOA. Hopefully they (or someone else) will do another survey soon that tries to isolate web services from SOA to give a more meaningful set of numbers about SOA.
As this progresses, there will certainly be some ebb and flow on where people think this will fit. I think your observation hits to the heart of any success. User adoption and success for SOA in any form is on adoption and end value. I know the stats don't correlate, but if this meant that fewer projects failed versus before or more projects can be funded internally as they are able to leverage and reuse the services to reduce develoment and testing.
What does this mean for the evolution of Data? Are data services real, is there a data services layer? I have not been able to find many people successfully talking about this. Any thoughts?