It always kind of surprises me that IBM seems to slip under the radar of the tech world. Everybody knows IBM and everybody knows they are huge. They contribute an enormous amount to the tech world but its strange how no one ever talks about them. Maybe because they are so big and have been around for so long that everyone kind of takes them for granted. I know the IBM employees don't. IBM's recent announcement to freeze pensions has got them up in arms.
It's really just a sign of the times. Companies (not unique to tech companies) continue to struggle with costs. Whether its pensions, health care, or salaries, the cost pressure in today's business world is immense. Companies are trying everything from offshoring, pension cuts, benefit cuts and layoffs.
SOA, EAI and Open Source can all play a part in helping companies reduce costs. Of course they can also increase costs if done incorrectly. As IT folks, we can make a big difference to the bottom line. The way we purchase/license software, the way we construct applications, the way we manage infrastructure and change can have huge impacts. SOA and Open Source are not just the cool new things, they can how a profound impact. EAI is included in this, it's just not new.
I think for those of us who work in large IT departments struggle with the reality of making these concepts come to life. There are a lot of industry analyst and others who talk about these concepts but few who talk about the practical application of these technologies and architectural styles in the real world. I am hoping to bring more of my experiences in one large IT shop over the course of 2006. No "expert" opinions, just one architect's daily struggle with trying to make this stuff happen.