Business imitates baseball *

Business imitates baseball *

July 10, 2007 0 Comments

If you follow Major League Baseball, you know that below the surface of the run-of-the-mill baseball "news" is the story regarding Barry Bonds' pursuit of Henry Aaron's career home run record.  As I write this blog post, Bonds has five home runs between him and outright leadership in this important category.

The discussion around the validity of Bonds' achievement is rich and emotional.  Fans in ballparks where Bonds plays bring poster boards with large asterisks on them, indicating support for a broadly held view that under the influence of performance-enhancing drugs (steroids and the like), this and other achievements in various categories should be considered dubious.

Sometimes business imitates baseball.  In recent market share research, a funny thing happened.  Like athletes on performance-enhancing drugs, vendors who were nowhere in the pursuit of leadership and market share in the Enterprise Service Bus category are now share leaders.  From zero in 2004 to 20+ percent market share in 2006.  Further evidence of how performance has been enhanced: the share positions of IBM, Oracle, TIBCO and BEA in 2005 suddenly changed -- that's right, the results for 2005 also went from zero to 20+ percent share -- during 2006!!  Miraculous!!  *******

SOA What? Sure, analyst firms like Gartner group can change their definitions and as a result numbers can shift.  But just like baseball fans need to look closely at Bonds' achievement and assess its relevance when considering the conditions under which it was achieved, so should enterprise infrastructure buyers look closely at the claims the bulked-up software giants are making.  You know the SOA opportunity is great when it causes this kind of behavior on the part of very large industry players.  Like baseball purists, SOA infrastructure purists need to stick to their principles.

Tim Dempsey

View all posts from Tim Dempsey on the Progress blog. Connect with us about all things application development and deployment, data integration and digital business.

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