ServersThe Web Services Value Chain Page 5

The Web Services Value Chain Page 5

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By Jean-Christophe Cimetiere of TechMetrix Research

Web services marketers and Web services developers can be the same or different companies. We have separated them simply to highlight their different jobs. We can also break them down further with the identification of two categories: end-user enterprises and Web services providers.

End-user enterprises are those that use IT to run their business but do not sell IT products or services. In every industry, every company has the possibility of becoming a Web services developer and marketer in order to improve its B2B processes and develop new channels.

Web services providers are enterprises that provide vertical or horizontal Web services.

End-user enterprises looking to go the Web services provider route should first determine the most appropriate services to enable. Then, once the technical tasks (primarily, SOAP-enabling services) are completed, adding new partners and developing new channels will be faster and require fewer custom-coding costs. It will also be easier to strengthen links and processes with existing partners.

It’s not too much of a stretch to see Web services providers as the next generation of application service providers (ASPs). Remember the ASP hype in late 1999? The reality check came in 2000, when enterprises realized that they couldn’t rent out traditional applications (e.g., SAP) that hadn’t been designed to be delivered that way.

So what’s next for ASP providers? Bankruptcy? Maybe for some, but others may well become Web services providers. Beyond the name change, it’s not a big change for current ASPs, as ultimately both host applications. The real value will come from creating genuine hubs of Web services, delivering standard access methods, and providing top-notch service-level agreements.

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