Phases of Adoption
In most surveys conducted by leading analyst firms (Gartner Group, Forrester, IDC, and others) with IT decision makers, many respondents have consistently ranked Web Services as a technology that will be adopted in their enterprises. However, the adoption will not happen in a single large wave. According to these same firms, the adoption will happen in the three distinct phases described in the next three sections (for other perspectives on the phases of adoption, see Appendix C, which includes in-depth interviews with executives at Web Services firms).
Phase I (20022003+)
In this phase, organizations will adopt Web Services as a more affordable way of performing application integration behind the firewall; they will launch pilot projects to gain some hands-on experience. A natural point of entry will be when a firm chooses to use Web Services instead of conventional middleware to integrate enterprise information portals (EIPs) from multiple disparate data sources. Because most firms already have a portal strategy and/or deployment, this would be a low-risk incremental strategy to save on integration costs. The lack of Web Services transactional standards will not be a huge deterrent here since many information portals are not transactional in nature.
Figure 29 illustrates how Web Services are used with an enterprise portal.
Figure 29 Portal integration via SOAP.
Phase II (20032005)
As the standards mature (especially regarding security, messaging, and transaction control), organizations will start integrating business processes and applications beyond the firewall. Workflow standards will also mature to the point where organizations can build sophisticated, collaborative systems with trading partners. For a more thorough discussion of workflow standards, see the Silver Stream interview in Appendix C.
Phase III (2006+)
By this time, the repositories should contain a critical mass of publicly available Web Services. This will allow business analysts to start building complex applications by statically assembling these available Web Services, which were once the exclusive province of developers. This may even include using software agentsprograms that can act on behalf of a userto dynamically change the behavior of the system by dynamically reconfiguring the workflow to react to changing business conditions.