Organisations' plans to implement web services are different to those envisaged by industry experts, according to a recent online survey conducted by Infoconomy, the publishers of Information Age magazine, in conjunction with web services integration company Iona Technologies.
During the next year, over one-third of respondents see the primary role of web services – a new approach for locating, developing and delivering software modules as services over the Internet – as a mechanism primarily for developing customer-facing applications within their organisation. An additional 27% view web services as the foundation for new, e-enabled business processes such as submitting requests for quotations (RFQs) online.
This contradicts some analyst predictions that web services will be widely used for internal integration projects. Indeed, only 17% of those surveyed said they plan to use web services software for internal integration projects over the course of the next year.
Just over one quarter of organisations perceive "enhanced competitiveness" as the main business driver for web services adoption. And while vendors have heavily touted the cost savings of web services in their marketing collateral, only 14% of respondents agreed that this was the key reason for adoption.
Ahead of cost savings, organisations identified support of new business models (17%) and expansion into new markets (16%) as key business drivers.
Meanwhile, organisations continue to be frustrated in their integration efforts by technology boundaries. Half of those surveyed cited integrating legacy software with new back office systems and customer-facing applications, as restricting their flexibility to change. In addition, almost one quarter of respondents said integration between databases represented a key technology barrier.
Among organisations admitting problems with integration, 50% said a lack of flexibility in meeting the requirements of changing business environments had been their downfall.
This lack of flexibility contributed to just 18% of organisations describing their previous systems and applications integration projects as "very effective".