The Next Chapter: Web Services

Predictions: U.S. programmers will be limited to sensitive, niche applications, while the bulk of programming will be done offshore. And Web services will run amok.

Angst-Free Mergers

Within five years, Web services will become the de facto standard for dealing with systems consolidation following mergers and acquisitions. Web services have the potential to cut the time to consolidate business systems in half, thereby accelerating the expected return from the merger or acquisition. With Web services, changes to or integration of existing systems can be done in a more orderly fashion - without the user angst that usually occurs with postmerger consolidation.

—Norbert Kubilus, partner, Tatum CIO Partners LLP, San Diego

Mainframe Security

One unpublicized challenge for Web services is security for the mainframe, where 70% of all corporate data resides. With the advent of Web services on the host, the mainframe is much more vulnerable to corruption from outside forces. As companies realize this, or as instances of mainframe security breaches greatly increase, you'll see more companies roll out mainframe security measures before participating in Web services initiatives.

—Koen Bouwers, CEO, Consul Inc., Acton, Mass.

The Asteroid Hits
Software development in the U.S. will be extinct by mid-2006, with gradual job losses much like the U.S. textile industry experienced in the last quarter of the 20th century. Better development tools, cheaper labor and quality methodologies are making it more attractive to develop software overseas. The only software development that will be left in the U.S. will be for niche applications, new products and highly sensitive strategic applications.
—Jon C. Piot, chief operating officer, Impact Innovations Group LLC, Dallas

B2B Phoenix
Industry-specific "Web services networks" will rise from the ashes of the e-marketplaces of the dot-com era. They'll be similar to the late, sometimes lamented e-marketplaces, only better in just about every way.
—Ross Altman, director of consulting, Electronic Data Systems Corp.

Disruptive Technology
Within three years, Web services will have a highly disruptive impact on the software market. Vendors that are either unwilling or unable to componentize their applications in a flexible manner will see substantial losses of market share. Noncompliant applications will be gradually marginalized by early 2005.
—Bernhard Borges, Distinguished Engineer, IBM Business Consulting Services

One Man's Timeline
2003: Application development is simplified and becomes highly automated.
2004: Software writes more lines of code than humans do.
2005: Software maintenance costs drop and no longer impede business advances.
2006: IT productivity in developing applications triples from the previous year, due to automated code generation, reallocation of staff and consulting resources, and a laser focus by senior developers on the aspects of application development that are unique and mission-critical.
—Alan Fisher, chairman, Iron Speed Inc., Mountain View, Calif.

Data Overload
There are two dirty little secrets about Web services. One, they'll never be the Swiss Army Knife of the enterprise. Instead, they'll be just one tool in the integrator's toolbox. Two, Web services' power to make quick connections among myriad companies will open the data floodgates and dramatically increase the problem of information overload. As a result, data integration will top every CIO's to-do list by 2005.
—Bob Zurek, vice president of advanced technology, Ascential Software Corp., Westboro, Mass.

Division of Labor
Over the next three to five years, IT departments will specialize more on developing Web services for specific functions such as accounting and billing, while business departments will take on development of Web services for actual applications such as order entry, inventory management or claims processing.
Why? Because Web services tools will become as simple as Microsoft Office tools are today. The high-level editor tools will evolve toward the orchestration of services and will be usable by knowledge workers.
—Eric Newcomer, chief technology officer, Iona Technologies PLC, Waltham, Mass.

Out of Control?
By 2004, low-level concerns about security and interoperability of Web services will be replaced by high-level concerns about organizational control. Chief technology officers will be faced with a rising tide of Web services that are different in implementation and performance, have no central point of registry and begin to duplicate functionality.
—Roman Stanek, CEO, Systinet Corp., Cambridge, Mass.

Self-Aware Software
Agents - software components with a sense of self - will replace Web services as the next layer of abstraction in software development. By 2006, agent software will be the dominant design principle for software development.
—Charles Stack, CEO, Flashline Inc., Cleveland

One Brick Wall, Please
The future of application programming is the concept of goal-based methods. No longer will an application have simple requirements for objects or services, such as a "brick" or "bricklayer." Future applications will call out specific requirements such as a need for a "durable, quickly assembled wall." The application will then go out and query the network for available resources to accomplish such a task.
—Steve Spencer, chief technology officer, Twelve Horses North America LLC, Salt Lake City


Special Report

The Web Services Tsumani

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Copyright © 2003 IDG Communications, Inc.

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