Survey: Composite Applications Used to Solve Integration Problems

Composite applications -- containing logic and data from multiple IT sources coupled with Web services standards -- bring higher end-user satisfaction without requiring full SOA implementation, a new research report reveals.

Recent Aberdeen Group research notes that application integration is a major IT headache, consuming up about 40 percent of the typical IT budget. With business processes spread across multiple IT applications, service-oriented architecture (SOA) can be an appealing solution to integrating applications.

The problem, according to Aberdeen, is that “most organizations have not dived deep enough into SOA to have one fully implemented.” While they experiment with the technology, they’re using composite applications as a way to keep up with rapidly-changing business needs. Such applications contain logic and data collected from multiple IT sources. They use Web services standards (such as XML and SOAP), and can be built and implemented even if the organization has not yet fully develop an SOA.

A substantial number of leading (what Aberdeen calls “best-in-class”) companies cite lower costs and quick business reaction to competitive pressures as chief benefits from these applications. Another important benefit: end users are more satisfied for most companies that build and deploy these applications.

“The business focus for any organization should be on optimizing the processes that make it unique, such as customer satisfaction, service delivery, low-cost supply, and fast delivery,” said Peter S. Kastner, vice president of Aberdeen’s Enterprise Technology research practice, in a statement. Kastner, the primary author of the report, also notes: “Our research found that companies are targeting Web-based applications first—specifically portals and browser-based applications—when they’re looking to build composite applications.”

The research firm notes that leading firms “realize the inadequacy of their present development tools and are actively investing in new composite development technology.” To do so will require investments in more targeted training or use of outside IT services. The researchers also suggest that “companies looking to build more composite applications should look first to the web. Browser-based and portal applications are the most common first deliverables.”

The survey results, part of the new Aberdeen report “The Composite Applications Benchmark Report: How SOA Standards Are Accelerating Business Change,” can be downloaded free at

About the Author

James E. Powell is the former editorial director of Enterprise Strategies (