Web services have entered the mainstream at last, according to analyst firm Gartner Group, but users still don’t fully understand the concept.
A study by Gartner Dataquest found that web services are being used for in-house projects and some systems integration work with most companies intendeing to use some form of the technology within the next 12 months.
The survey data also shows that 86 percent of enterprises use Extensible Markup Language (XML), but indicates that there is a much lower use of other web services standards such as SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), WSDL (Web Service Definition Language) and UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration).
Intruigingly the use of Web services for in-house integration by systems integrators declined by 10 per cent between August 2002 and February 2003 while the use of Web services by system integrators for B2B solutions increased by 8 per cent. Gartner concludes that this means Web services usage has matured beyond the first stages of intraenterprise Web services pilot projects.
But from a user perspectice, business-process re-engineering remains the most significant challenge in implementing Web services, especially for larger companies. Internal integration with existing applications and processes is the most common activity or function for Web services projects, followed closely by security, personalisation and Web content management.