The Web Service Dimension: All the World’s a Service Provider
The advent of web services poses an even greater challenge to organizations desperately trying to stay on top of their IT infrastructures. Web services are the new kid on the IT block. They provide a model for organizations to allow web-based access to important software services. The scary part about web services from the viewpoint of IT managers is that they provide access to computational resources inside the firewall. This is a very different proposition from simply serving up HTML pages to remote users.
With web services, you allow users to consume potentially multiserver computational resources. You could argue that specialist firms such as web-based share traders (Ameritrade, for example) have been providing web services for years, but these applications tend to be narrowly focused on a specific core area, with new software rolled out in a carefully phased fashion. This is not to say that such organizations don’t provide excellent software and value for money. The point is that they’re providing an online version of a well-established offline business.
Because telecom service providers are generally used to selling their wares in a highly regulated environment, web services deployment may not be so difficult for such organizations, with their service-based heritage. However, corporations are generally unused to providing this type of service. In a sense, any organization deploying web services becomes a "service provider," with all the associated headaches—none greater than manageability, one of the primary concerns of all service providers. Organizations that are not service providers may no longer be able to ad hoc manage their resources in a web services world.
A management solution is more essential than ever before.