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, you’ve explained what Web services are—at a high level, I’m assuming—and you’ve said they can reduce the amount we spend integrat- ing systems together within the organization. I understand that. But I can’t imagine that’s 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 whiteboard—again with a marker in hand. “You’re right, Bob—there is.” “We’ve talked about doing some acquisitions to fill the R&D pipeline, right?” Dunston nods, answering, “Yes, that’s 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. What’s 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 organization’s financial reporting systems  to  aggregate  their  financials  and  report  them  back  to  us  here  at corporate.” Dunston nods vigorously. “But wouldn’t that mean using Web services across the internet? Aren’t there security issues still?” Sedgewick responds with marker in hand, “Well, from an IT perspec- tive, one of the first things we’d do is dismantle the acquired firm’s 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.  That’s  a  real  benefit  of  Web services—the  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 7 74188_WY_Marks_01  2/5/2003  4:08 PM  Page 7