thrust as a way for it to maintain hardware and services revenue by position-
ing itself as the software and platform vendor of choice, much as Sun
Microsystems was perceived as the Internet platform of choice.
While there might be some truth in these ulterior motives by some
platform vendors, Web services are farther reaching than thatand the
benefits are far too compelling to ignore. The fact that all major software
vendors have embraced the standards of Web services, and are racing to
develop tools and solutions to facilitate the adoption of Web services,
shows how the move toward Web services is beyond the span of control of
any single software vendor.
BUSINESS VALUE FROM WEB SERVICES
Web services will drive new levels of collaboration between companies in
existing value chains as well as enable new relationships with trading partners
in emerging value chains. This situation will occur because of the friction-
reducing promise of Web services, making it easier to perform B2B integration
at the business process level. The last several years have witnessed the rise of
middleware solutions to solve the problems of tying business systems together,
to perform transactions and information exchange across organizational
boundaries. Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) tools emerged, messag-
ing-oriented middleware took hold, and a host of similar solutions addressed
the need to make application portfolios work together within the organization
and across organizational boundaries. Middleware solutions, and now Web
services, present the opportunity to solve a number of broad business and
technology issues, including the following:
Reintroduce the business flexibility that Enterprise Resources Planning
(ERP) and other large, enterprise applications removed through rigid
business process definition and proprietary application interfaces.
End the debate about IT alignment by allowing the idea of Just-In-
Time (JIT), or the implementation of new applications as the business
needs them without the implementation and integration lag that
accompanies large, enterprise software implementations.
Extend CRM, ERP, and other large, monolithic software applications
to add new business functions or capabilities in response to changing
Provide connections to other trading partners for collaborative pro-
cesses such as forecasting and supply chain planning, transaction
management, and others.
Help organizations manage change given their existing reliance on
large, legacy systems and change-resistant business processes.
A Day in the Life of a CIO
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