IDC Offers A Dose of Reality To Remedy Overly Optimistic Web Services

FRAMINGHAM, MA – OCTOBER 24, 2002 – Web services are proving their value today when deployed by early adopters to integrate heterogeneous systems in highly decentralized organizations with multiple locations. However, the next phase for Web services — delivering software as services — is at least a decade away, according to IDC.


"Few people dispute that Web services can, in its simple and early forms, contribute real benefits to solving the integration issues facing most large companies today," said Rikki Kirzner, research director for IDC's Application Design and Construction Tools service. "But most of the Web services vision is just pure speculation, with no real consideration of what is achievable and what it will cost to actually build out the vision for full use on the open Internet."

To fulfill the software as services vision, Web services will have to be built primarily from software components and elements that must be identified, located, accessed, and dynamically assembled into customizable, turnkey applications. Unfortunately, the reality is that this vision and model of Web services cannot be implemented in its entirety using current technologies and application development methodologies. Moreover, the sharing of components and data required by the Web services vision will raise a number of difficult business, legal, and contractual issues.

IDC believes Web services can succeed today but may never be able to achieve the full scale magnitude envisioned by its proponents. IDC raises the following issues concerning future Web services implementation:

Major technology hurdles have to be taken before software can be implemented as services based on components from third-party suppliers and outsourcers.

Businesses and users have to make fundamental changes in the way they view software assets and intellectual property rights before vendors can deliver on the promise of using components as a key element of Web services.

Semantics, standards, security, and privacy issues will present major stumbling blocks to later stages of Web services implementation.

Despite these challenges, the concept of Web services provides a compelling way for IT to become much more responsive and adaptable to changing business requirements. Presenting realistic expectations for Web services is one of the primary goals that must be achieved before widespread adoption and resultant profits can be achieved.

IDC's recently released Software as Services? What Your Mother Didn't Tell You About This Aspect of Web Services (IDC #27765) explores where the vision of software as services collides with the reality of what technology will actually be able to accomplish when implementing this next phase of Web services. It offers honest and sound advice for those about to implement a Web services strategy.

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About IDC

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