The number of organisations planning to implement SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) has halved according to research from Gartner.

At the same time, take-up plans are also taking a dive: organisations looking to adopt SOA for the first time has fallen from 53 percent to 27 percent.

The number of SOA refuseniks, which has increased from just seven percent in 2007 to 16 percent this year has dropped for the first time in the five years that Gartner has been doing its global SOA survey.

 Dan Sholler, research vice president at Gartner, said "What we're seeing is that there are a bunch of organisations [that] for a variety of reasons don't expect to be doing anything specific about SOA next year," Sholler said.

This year's survey saw a decline in the growth rate for SOA, he stressed. Overall, organisations expect to be doing fewer projects next year, with the economy contributing to that to a degree, Sholler said. Organisations also may be doing fewer things for which SOA applies, he said.

A growing number of large organisations are deferring plans to utilise SOA, the study found. Fifty-three percent of respondents already were using SOA. Meanwhile, 20 percent of respondents were building event-driven architectures and 20 percent had plans to do so in the next 12 months.

Use of modern programming environments is closely associated with SOA, Gartner said. This suggests that more organizations are focusing on SOA in the context of new developments that use Java, Microsoft .Net, and dynamic languages like Perl, Python, PHP, and Ruby. Organisations must ponder options when applying SOA in legacy programming environments because skills in blending the two likely will be scarce, Gartner said.

Gartner also said the number of organisations already pursuing SOA shows a massive change in the future perception of SOA, from something that is essentially inevitable for all organizations in a short time to a situation where many organisations evaluated SOA and have chosen not to spend time and effort on it.

The two major reasons organisations choose for not pursuing SOA are lack of skills and expertise and no viable business case. There is confusion about constructing a business case for SOA, Gartner said.

Gartner conducted surveys between May and July 2008 about the adoption, use, benefits of, and practices for SOA. An initial sample of more than 200 companies worldwide with more than 1,000 employees was included. Three subsequent phases of the study involved surveying attendees at Gartner conferences related to SOA. A total of 119 respondents were involved in these subsequent surveys.

The survey found that adoption of SOA and plans for adoption vary widely by region. SOA adoption is nearly universal in Europe, moderate in North America, and lagging in Asia, Gartner said.