Web Services Reality Check

The Web services explosion is just around the corner, according to a report by market researcher Patricia Seybold Group this week. But a pulse check at a recent CIO forum on the future of CRM, however, showed little Web services fanfare to date. According to Patricia Seybold Group, the adoption of Web services will outpace most previous application technologies. Why? Because Web services solve companies' biggest technology pain: managing disparate systems. Moreover, companies dragging their heels to Web services will get a swift kick by their suppliers and customers. All of this means even the most technology-cautious companies will be investing seriously within the next two years. Latecomers aside, Patricia Seybold Group claims Web services are in volume use today. "Many firms are piloting the use of Web Services for internal application integration," said CEO Patricia Seybold. "While this is not a bad idea, we think that if you adopt this approach as your Web services strategy, you're going to left breathing the exhaust of more forward-thinking competitors. Instead, visionary customer-centric companies are starting from the outside in." Coupling Web services with customer-facing technologies might be wishful thinking, at least for now, counters Bill Robbins, analyst at market researcher Stencil Group. Simply put, Web services is "not on CIOs' radars," he says, while attending a Silicon Valley roundtable in May, hosted by the Software Technology Forum; the panelists included executives from GAP, Intuit and Charles Schwab, and discussions centered on the use of CRM, with nary a mention of Web services. When asked about Web services in a one-to-one interview, Ken Harris, CIO and senior vice president of Gap, waved off the technology. "I'm not even thinking about the Web services platform seriously right now," he says. Even though CRM vendors are building support for Web services standards in their products, Harris argues that it's more to do with the media than reality at this point. Tom Kaneshige also writes for Line56.com
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