After three dismal weeks, SOA business activity finally picked up this week. Correspondence to KPI, along with other industry checks I conducted, show consultants are being contacted with higher frequency. Budgets are being set and staffing for 2009 projects are underway.  In addition, ompanies are making a point to keep their top talent, meaning the productivity:rate/salary ratios should become more aligned with reality.  Smart companies are taking away top talent from organizations making the Management 101 mistake of across the board pay freezes and cuts.