CIO Survival Guide: Web services

Web services are coming, and if businesses don't begin implementing policies and start planning, they may begin to lose efficiencies in their IT shops, according to one Gartner analyst. Businesses can share data among partners and across legacy applications using Web services technology. Web services is becoming a critical part of any IT organization. Check out our CIO Survival Guide on Web services for the latest news, resources and advice on investing in and implementing Web services technology.

Web services are coming, and if businesses don't begin implementing policies and start planning, they may begin to lose efficiencies in their IT shops, according to one Gartner analyst. Businesses can share data among partners and across legacy applications using Web services technology. Web services is becoming a critical part of any IT organization. Check out our CIO Survival Guide on Web services for the latest news, resources and advice on investing in and implementing Web services technology.

For free advice and resources on more IT and business topics, visit our main CIO Survival Guide section.


Table of contents


   Expert's Corner
   Basics
   Analyst and expert findings
   Managing Web services
   Security issues
   Standards
   More resources


Expert's Corner
[ Return to Table of Contents ]

Kerry Champion

The strategic use of Web services has become the 'hot' item as more companies adopt the technology to enable a whole host of initiatives. However, many CIOs still do not understand what a Web service is. Some still believe that a Web service is a Web application or Web site portal.

Web services is defined as a new set of standards and technologies to enable seamless application to application integration. As it is an implementation standard, it's understandable that it hasn't found its way onto the CIO agenda.

Web services, itself has often been described as a 'silver bullet' to IT's problems. Of course, the IT landscape is littered with examples of new technologies that are supposed to change the world. However, a closer examination of the applications by which Web Services enables reveals some very significant benefits that should be on the minds of every CIO.

If you, the CIO, want to make IT a strategic asset, an enabler of business rather than a hindrance, you should consider how Web services can give your company a competitive advantage. Your competition is certainly doing just that. Nearly every poll suggests that the vast majority of Fortune 500 companies are already well under way on Web services projects. Web services are fast, cheap and easy and get the job done. It's becoming a steamroller that is already affecting the way that companies do business.

So what are the uses of Web services that a CIO would care about? To begin, Web services can automate inefficient and tightly coupled connections. Provisioning meaningful connections to partners and customers can be done in a fraction of the time and cost and are highly flexible to withstand the daily change in the environment. Web services also provides significant benefit internally by dramatically lowering the cost of integration. Connecting different departments or newly merged companies can be performed faster, less expensively and more flexibly using Web services technologies.

Web services is also a critical enabler of Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) which enables IT organizations to respond much faster to business change -- whether it be modifying your applications or introducing new products and services. A Web service architecture has also meaningful benefits for the "other SOA" (Sarbanes Oxley Act) as well as other compliance requirements. In a distributed architecture environment, you have much better control, visibility and measurability of your entire environment.

Whether you know it or not, you probably already have Web services in your environment. Desktop applications like Microsoft Excel already support Web services and most major packaged application vendors have Web services interfaces. Not to mention the significant grassroots movement development using inexpensive, easy-to-use tools to create departmental, project-level Web services.

This survival guide should help you understand how Web services can help you solve your most critical needs. Better to take advantage of Web services now than to watch your competition pass you by later (or "watch you in their rear view mirror").

Kerry Champion is the Founder and CTO of Westbridge Technology, a leading provider of XML Firewall and service-oriented architecture (SOA) enablement solutions that enable enterprises to secure and manage XML Web Services networks.


Basics
[ Return to Table of Contents ]


Research and advice
[ Return to Table of Contents ]


Managing Web services
[ Return to Table of Contents ]


Security issues
[ Return to Table of Contents ]


Standards
[ Return to Table of Contents ]


More resources
[ Return to Table of Contents ]

This Survival Guide originally appeared on SearchCIO.com, a member of the TechTarget network of Web sites. Visit SearchCIO.com for the best news and advice for CIOs.

This was first published in August 2004

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