Gartner Says Web Services Will Increase Efficiency 30 Percent

Gartner released a report this week that says, despite the tremendous hype surrounding Web services, many are still cutting the model’s potential short.

Calling Web services “an underestimated technology,” Gartner predicts, by 2005 Web services will drive a 30 percent increase in the efficiency of IT development projects. In making this bold prediction, Gartner is bucking a recent trend that has seen many industry insiders shy from the initial portrayal of Web services as a technology that will allow enterprises to conduct e-business with whomever they’d like, whenever they’d like.

Steve Benefield, CTO of Web services player SilverStream, says he doesn’t “buy into all the hype.” He says, while Web services will likely lead down a road where it’s being used for automated integration among suppliers and distributors and customers, enterprises must first learn how to use the technology for integrating systems internally.

Gartner also sees internal deployments as a logical first step for the enterprise. According to the Stamford Conn.-based research firm, more than 40 percent of enterprises will first experience Web services by building a Web-services architecture internally. But, at the same time, Gartner believes Web services will have an immediate impact on how businesses connect with their partners. Initially, says Gartner, established trading partners will use Web services to reduce the cost and effort required to initiate business transactions between each other.

Vijay Sarathy, senior product manager for J2EE integration at Sun, doesn’t believe Web services will enable interconnection of partners quite so quickly. “There’s a lot of hype about the potential and promise of Web services, and I believe those things are all coming,” says Sarathy. “But first you have to wrap around the data that exists.”

Sarathy suggests, before J2EE is used to build Web services that allow companies to communicate with their business partners, enterprises must first make Web services work for sharing information between the disparate departments within their organization. He says implementations of this sort will allow enterprises to test the Web services concept before leaping outside the firewall to interact with partners.

Gartner warns against hesitating on the Web services front, urging enterprises to work now to implement Web services to the best of their ability instead of trying to figure out the perfect implementation. Enterprises should, at the very least, be running pilot projects with Web services standards and deployment models no later than the second half of 2002, according to Gartner.

Though bullish on Web services, Gartner does see some setbacks, particularly in the form of vendor interoperability conflicts. However, it feels that aggressive pursuit of Web services models will help eliminate such barriers in short order. And once enterprises have overcome the early learning stages of their Web services strategies, Gartner predicts they will be able to use their Web services to attract new business.

Gartner sees the financial services industry as an early adopter of the Web services model because of its ready-made network for authentication. It expects the transportation, energy, and high-tech industries to follow suit shortly thereafter.

About the Author

Matt Migliore is regular contributor to He focuses particularly on Microsoft .NET and other Web services technologies. Matt was the editor of several technology-related Web publications and electronic newsletters, including Web Services Report, ASP insights and MIDRANGE Systems.