One word to describe this year's conference - busy. If the attendance continues to grow, the SOA Conference will soon have to move to a larger facility than the MS Executive Briefing Center.
The experience we are having this year is considerably different than our experience at the conference last year. Don't get me wrong, last year's conference was good for us. We were new to the SOA market and had a brand new component, FarPoint Spread for BizTalk. We were testing the waters to gauge the SOA community's response. At the conference in 2006 we established several great relationships with the folks from Neudesic, AKN Partners, and several others, and were able to discuss our products with SOA industry professionals who provided us with feedback that validated our product and our efforts. We left last year's conference with ideas for expanded functionality and new products. Since last year's conference we have worked toward several business arrangements with the contacts we made.
Enterprise adoption of a technology is an interesting and dynamic process. I am witnessing this play out at this conference. At last year's conference it was clear to us that the MS SOA initiative had not taken hold in much of the enterprise world. We were approached with questions as vague as, "What do you think about SOA?" and as concrete as "BizTalk Server 2006 is much better than BTS 2004, but we do not have plans to upgrade to BTS 2006 due to our investment." We left the conference pleased, but concerned with the direction and speed of adoption of the technologies.
At this year's conference we are receiving comments like, "We are currently evaluating BizTalk 2006 R2 and SharePoint 2007, and we're here seeing what is available in the market and from the ISV's." Of course, we couldn't be more pleased. The feedback has been encouraging and inquisitive. The excitement level is high, and it appears that enterprise adoption of SOA technologies is growing very well.