Survey shows why firms undertake Web services projects

By Nicole S. Latimer, Colleen Graham, Joanne M. Correia and Norma Schroder

Gartner Inc.


On 3 July 2003, Gartner Dataquest released the results of a survey highlighting how North American enterprises use Web services standards in software development and integration projects. The survey focused on enterprises developing Web services in-house or by contracting with consultants, and sought to determine respondents’ wants and needs between now and 2005.

First Take

For this survey, Gartner defined Web services as “… a custom end-to-end application that interoperates with other commercial and custom software through a family of XML interfaces (like SOAP, UDDI and WSDL) to perform useful business functions.” Although the use of all of these interfaces is not required to meet our definition of Web services, at least one of the interfaces must be used. (The use of SOAP requires XML.)

Key survey findings include:

– More than 48 per cent of survey respondents indicated that the U.S. economic slowdown has caused them to reduce spending on Web services development but not so much as to discontinue the project.

– Nearly one-third of respondents indicated that the U.S. economic slowdown has not affected their organization’s budgeted investment in developing Web services applications.

– Seventy-five per cent of respondents cited integration, security, personalization (portals) and Web content management as the most common goals of their Web services projects. External integration with partners, order fulfilment, and payment and billing challenges were the next most common objectives cited.


By 2007, the software and professional service markets will have changed considerably and consolidated. Those left standing will likely recognize that Web services have ushered in a new design centre for development and integration – the business process. Successful companies will revamp their skills mix and replace commodity technology skill sets with business process and management experts and technology.

To take part in the Web services “wave,” software vendors and system integrators must communicate a clear, concise, cost-saving message to potential customers. Each vendor must tell a clear, distinct story about how Web services will benefit enterprises and how Web services will evolve to transform their businesses. Software vendors and system integrators should:

– Invest in intellectual property such as methods and frameworks and participation in standards bodies.

– Create development methods for the application’s full life cycle that accommodate systematic and iterative approaches and that promote the reuse of components.

– Build reusable solutions, particularly those focused on business processes in specific vertical industries.

– Help customers deal with IT governance challenges.

– Create strong alliances with other providers to extend your knowledge and reach.

Analytical Sources: Nicole Latimer, Colleen Graham, Joanne Correia and Norma Schroder, Gartner Research

Recommended Reading and Related Research

“2002-2003 Web Services Development, North America ” – Software and system integration vendors will offer service components and professional services to assist with the planning and deployment of Web services. By Nicole Latimer and others

“Systems Integration User Survey Shows Web Services’ Popularity and Misconceptions” – Gives recommendations to software vendors and system integrators for helping users employ Web services technologies. By Michele Cantara

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