initially within organizations and eventually publicly via shared Universal
Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI) registries, the need for spe-
cialized integration software will decline.
Dunston leans back in his chair and folds his hands behind his head.
Okay, Bill, youve explained what Web services areat a high level, Im
assumingand youve said they can reduce the amount we spend integrat-
ing systems together within the organization. I understand that. But I cant
imagine thats where all the benefits of Web services will be realized. There
has to be more to it than that.
Sedgewick, almost anticipating this question, jumps back up to the
whiteboardagain with a marker in hand. Youre right, Bobthere is.
Weve talked about doing some acquisitions to fill the R&D pipeline,
Dunston nods, answering, Yes, thats right.
So think about the inventory update example I started with. You have
these small, distributed applications that we can assemble together, via
Web services standards and Internet protocols, to retrieve inventory infor-
mation from proprietary ERP systems running on distinct hardware and
operating systems. This entire process is running over our intranet.
Okay, so say we buy a company. Whats the first thing we have to do?
Integrate the financials, Dunston quickly replies. He had orches-
trated multiple acquisitions during his career and knew the playbook by
heart. Integrate financials first, then rationalize and consolidate product
families and customers into a single view of the business.
Right, replies Sedgewick. And one potential way to do that is to
use Web services to tap into the acquired organizations financial reporting
systems to aggregate their financials and report them back to us here at
Dunston nods vigorously. But wouldnt that mean using Web services
across the internet? Arent there security issues still?
Sedgewick responds with marker in hand, Well, from an IT perspec-
tive, one of the first things wed do is dismantle the acquired firms firewall
and bring them onto our private network as soon as the deal closes. So,
really this is similar to the internal integration example. Nonetheless, it
offers significant benefit in quickly integrating an acquired company into
the operations of a parent company, regardless of the IT infrastructure or
the application portfolio choices of the acquired firm.
The interesting and perhaps most elegant part of this approach is
repurposing of the Web services used for the M&A integration for other
acquisitions and internal integration needs. Thats a real benefit of Web
servicesthe ability to reuse services because they are open, standards-
based and flexible as opposed to being rigid, monolithic software applica-
tions with proprietary interfaces.
A Day in the Life of a CIO
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