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Saturday, May 21, 2005

Web Services -- No Slam Dunk

Confronting the Reality of Web Services

From the May 16 edition of Working Knowledge, Web services have made huge strides, but two hurdles remain, one technical, the other organizational, says HBS professor Andrew P. McAfee. "It is in fact getting easier to integrate applications, but it's never going to be easy."
The technical problem is that any two applications are virtually guaranteed to contain dissimilar data and execute dissimilar business processes. There is no magic bullet in the Web services toolkit that does this automatically or quickly.

The organizational challenge comes as all stakeholders get together and hammer out common definitions.
What's the bottom line, professor?
All the parties I talked to felt that productivity had increased, but they talked about the work more as capability development than benefits realization. They were learning how to "speak Web services," and were confident that they would have many opportunities to use their new language skills.
Reading articles like this rattle my cage. I believe in a web services future, but it's tough to argue with the fact that probably half of all ERP implementations and three-quarters of CRM installs fail to deliver the goods. Enterprise software will never run like clockwork, but can it be the Rosetta Stone of network commerce?


At 7:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The other big problem with web services is scalability. In the interest of splitting products into smaller pieces that can be sold separately (read quest for separate, higher margin sales here) vendors sometimes web-service-skin function sets that should really be parts of integrated applications.

The disadvantage for buyers, aside from paying through the nose, is that the resulting solution set (or "suite" as many vendors like to market it) requires more hardware and software to run and is generally less efficient than an integrated application.

The final point is about standards. Major vendors talk up standards compliance while doing their absolute best to co-opt and control services APIs in order to lock out competitors.

So, where are web services? Well, all I can say is that the future looks bright but it's not a pretty sight right now . . .

Jay Shaw, CEO


At 9:55 PM, Anonymous Traffic school said...

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At 9:55 PM, Anonymous Samuel said...

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At 9:51 AM, Blogger Mr. MaGoogle said...

Well, here in Brazil we have the same problems (Of course!), one of the most cheating to our students is the Java incompatibilities between Internet Explorer and our learning platform... I think that we really need to wait for the next software and hardware generation to see what "they" call the real "e-learning revolution".

At 12:44 AM, Blogger tweedledeetweedledum said...

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