Web services will be a game for big players, says Butler Group

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Only big EAI players can expect to survive the web services revolution according to UK research firm Butler Group - but the other vendors have a stay of execution as web services are not fully formed as yet.

Butler found that integration remains the biggest pain point for most organisations, but existing vendor solutions are too expensive, complex and lack business process ownership. The enterprise application integration (EAI) markets are undergoing a massive change, but
currently web services are only credible solutions for simple integration tasks.

Integration is also still seen as an IT problem for IT people to solve. It remains difficult to justify return on investment which combined with the high level of investment is an inhibitor to EAI adoption. Butler argues that vendors must reduce their prices and deliver solutions that can be deployed in a modular, iterative fashion.

But the demand is clearly there among the user community as stock ERP applications will fail to deliver competitive advantage and buyers will seek integrated applications. Application vendors have a clear responsibility to make it easier to integrate their applications with other products, insists Butler, citing Siebel and SAP as two companies that appear to be making the right moves in this respect.

"Web services is the most profound change in the shape of the IT industry for thirty years,” said Martin Butler, President and Founder of Butler Group. “It will allow the IT industry to transform itself from a technology industry to a service industry. Now is the time to prepare for the changes. However, the full uptake of Web Services is going to take much longer than current hype would lead us to believe. It will take 10 years for Web services to become as convenient as using other services such as telephone, power etc."

Butler has ranked vendors for their ability to meet the demands of users, with Tibco and SeeBeyond coming out on top. But the research firm predicts an imminent rally by IBM and Microsoft to upset the balance. IBM is said to have all the necessary pieces in place, but appears fazed by the prospect of putting them all together into a single acceptable solution. Microsoft has BizTalk 2002 that has been accepted in the lower end of the market but will eventually move up to the enterprise level.

Butler Group can be contacted at www.butlergroup.com

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