Hurwitz Study Reveals Integration a Growing Concern for Enterprises

A recent study by Hurwitz Group, an information technology analyst firm, found only 10 percent of enterprises have fully integrated their “most mission-critical business processes.” The void, according to Hurwitz’s Tyler McDaniel, may signal opportunity for Web services vendors.

McDaniel, director of applications strategy for Hurwitz, tells Web Services Report, while pure-play integration vendors are busy shifting their focus to Web services, emerging vendors in the space are in position to capitalize on what enterprises are finally recognizing as a necessary business function. Integration, says McDaniel, is becoming a critical concern for enterprises, and will command more budgetary dollars than ever in the coming year. Hence, he says, vendors capable of building enterprise platforms consistent with popular Web services standards and protocols like SOAP, UDDI and WSDL will soon begin to see a spike in their contracts with enterprise clients.

“For the emerging [Web services] vendors, one of the key hot spots [in 2002] will be approaching [enterprises] from an integration solutions angle,” says McDaniel.

Last week, Cape Clear Software made an announcement that seems to support the findings of Hurwitz’s study. The Web services player has licensed its CapeConnect Web services platform to telecom giant British Telecommunications PLC. Jon Calladine, an application integration consultant for BT, says the company will be using the platform as a model for linking distributed business processes built on both asynchronous and synchronous technologies, as well as custom Java architectures.

Hurwitz’s e-business process integration study, which surveyed over 600 enterprises, revealed not only that few enterprises have finished integrating key business processes, but also that more than 45 percent of large companies haven’t even begun to execute on such strategies. However, Hurwitz believes this is all about to change. McDaniel says the study indicates budgets allocated for integration technology, including Web services platforms, are on the rise, with enterprises gearing up to make significant progress in 2002.

"Several factors have inhibited the early adoption of mission-critical integration solutions," said McDaniel in a follow-up report on the Hurwitz study. "The primary roadblocks for enterprises have been business obstacles and resistance to cultural change. To be successful with business process integration, integration vendors must clearly map their respective products to business concerns, not simply to technology issues."

As such, McDaniel believes the Web services vendors that can frame their value proposition to enterprises in terms of integration will garner a lot of new business in 2002. For pure-play integration vendors, on the other hand, the emergence of Web services as a viable integration concept may be cause for concern.

McDaniel says, pure-plays may be in danger of losing valuable partnerships with big-name vendors like IBM and Oracle to smaller Web services-specific vendors. Given the buzz around Web services, McDaniel feels vendors with strong ties to the nascent concept may prove especially attractive partners for large ISVs. Furthermore, he says, partnerships with Web services vendors may also be seen as easier to maintain.

Other key findings of the Hurwitz study include:

  • Integrating supply chain information exchange processes is the top priority across all sizes of companies.
  • Companies utilize XML for less than 10 percent of their business-to-business data exchange.
  • Nearly 50 percent of companies rate return-on-investment metrics as the most important evaluation method for e-BPI solutions.
  • About the Author

    Matt Migliore is regular contributor to ENTmag.com. 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.